Asset Managers in Wonderland: Key Elements of Program Roadmaps


“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
'I don't much care where -' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
'- so long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice added as an explanation.
'Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if you only walk long enough.”

― Lewis CarrollAlice in Wonderland

Like Alice, many of our clients know they want to get “somewhere” with their operations and technology environments“digital,” “transformed,” “optimized,” “insert buzzword here,”but aren’t quite sure how to define the destination or how to get there.

We often partner with clients who are looking for their “somewhere” but don’t know where to begin the goal-setting process. Every firm is unique in its environment and needs but we typically use a strategic assessment methodology to guide our analysis. That said, strategic assessment projects can’t be solved with a helps, but what asset managers really need is an experienced project team that can adapt to the needs of the firm with a variety of requirements.  Designing operating and application models are not for the faint of heart and if you don’t have skilled resources that can influence change, it doesn’t matter what methodology you have.

With the right resources in place, we can determine where we’re going and the next step is to decide how we get there.  Generally, the journey from current state to the envisioned target state requires a program of change initiatives, clearly outlined in a program roadmap.

What is a program roadmap?

A program roadmap is a high-level, easy-to-understand overview of the important components of a program. It’s a resource that you can share with anyone directly or indirectly involved with the effort to provide a quick snapshot of the program’s objectives, important milestones and key deliverables.

The program manager develops the program roadmap and uses it as a key communication tool during project kickoff to set appropriate expectations, share high-level plans, and highlight important components of the work to come.  

This roadmap acts as a guide for the program manager and helps promote a shared understanding among stakeholders and all members of the program team.

What are the key elements?

Program scope: What’s included? What’s not included?

Program goals and objective: What do we as an organization need from this program? Why are we doing the program?

Workstreams: How will the work logically be broken down?

High-level timeline: When do we start? How long will it take?

Key deliverables: What are we getting for our efforts?

Milestones: When will we receive these benefits?

Risks / dependencies: What should we be looking out for? How should we sequence activities?

Resource commitments: Who needs to participate? What level of effort is required?

How do we create a roadmap that works?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question, but be sure to include the elements above, and keep in mind the following characteristics of an effective roadmap: 

Visual: A picture is worth a thousand words

High-level: Save the minutia for the project plan

Simple and focused: Stick to the facts (who, what, when, where, why)

Easy for anyone to understand: Limit the buzzwords, acronyms and jargon

There is no easy answer to developing a program roadmap that will deliver, but remember to clearly define your target state, and keep the roadmap simple, focused and to the point. Without a destination in mind, you might just find yourself walking the long road to “somewhere.”