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From Vision to Roadmap - 5 essential steps to start new projects well

change management new projects project management

How do you start?

So, you’ve been tasked with a new project, a new programme, a new initiative, a new directive.

Perhaps you’ve not been tasked at all, and just SEEN what needs to happen. Well done.

How do you start?

How do you start a new endeavour when you have little experience of the new strand?

Well luckily there are an absolute bunch of online resources and, dare I say it, Generative AI tools to help - but navigating what is right, and appropriate, and what works, is something of a minefield.

Here’s a practical approach to any new-to-you or new-to-the-world steps.

I’ll may unpack the detail of HOW you do these in subsequent posts, this is the ‘WHAT’, what needs to happen is here. These are the key steps that have always served me well, from writing a new digital strategy for a London Borough, to designing a 3-year roadmap for a global law firm.

These steps are with larger more complex businesses in mind but can work as a frame for projects of any size.


Start with a Vision

What do you want to achieve?

What does great look like?

What does great look like from several viewpoints: Your key stakeholders? Your customers? Your Team.

Oh, and it can’t be just your vision, you’ll need to get input from your stakeholders, customers, internal teams too, but we’ll look at ‘The How’, later, right?

The vision needs to be set in the present tense, but from the articulation of when you have achieved all you want to. If you set the vision in the present tense, it will be clearer and more specific as well as help you identify what the gaps are to enable you to focus on the right actions to get there.

Don’t get caught up in the Company Vision, unless of course that’s your task, this is the new project, department, programme vision.


Ways of working

The cultural underpinning of your business should be much more than just a work stream about how you work.

Call out top level behaviours of how you will now work, collaboratively designed of course. Run a workshop with people in and out of your business depending on time and budget, but do not, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES dream these up yourself without input.

Nobody like to be told the new behaviour of how they should work. Nobody. It also mildly suggests people were not working well before hand, and whatever your business need for change, you will have pockets of brilliance in the organisation.

Examples of New Ways of Working can include statements such as:

CHANGE & TECHNOLOGY Making the organisational changes needed to fully use what modern technology can offer and use technology to allow the organisation to be truly agile.

USER-DRIVEN Being user-centred and creating a culture where people, processes and platforms are all focused on inclusive user need.



Out of your vision will emerge several key high-level themes: 4 is good, 6 is manageable, 10 is super busy. High-level themes are likely to include a focus on Culture, Infrastructure, Customer Service, Data and what you are aiming for in these areas.

For example, a theme could be: ‘End to end customer experience’ and the theme tag line, to help explain it: ‘Making it easier to engage with us, provide excellent services to everyone’. It’s a high-level theme under which you can then work through very specific outcomes to help you get there.



So, you have the vision and it’s been collaboratively produced. This has produced several key themes.

Under each of the themes, you will need to depict outcomes. There may be 4-8 outcomes under any key theme. The outcomes are specific. They are the outcome for the vision when it has been achieved under a particular theme, not a step along the way.

Under the theme of ‘end to end customer experience’ some examples of outcomes can include an outcome on digital standards, such as:

‘Our digital standards are in place, well communicated and our partners and suppliers adhere to them’.

Or an outcome on integrating services such as:

‘Our systems and data are integrated, enabling us to automate repetitive business processes so that our people can concentrate on work that adds value’.

Simple statements of outcome and specific intent in the present tense, but the furthest reach and the extrapolation of what you want to achieve.

Once you have listed all your outcomes, you’re well on your way to developing your roadmap.



So now you need to develop the roadmap of how to get there. The roadmap, plan or implementation plan is critical to lay out what activity needs to happen to achieve your outcomes.

There are two approaches that work well and the ‘How’ may come in subsequent posts, but let’s look at the ‘What’. What is a roadmap? You may be asked to deliver one and you or your client may never have seen one. You’ll need to unpack what they mean.

If you start to research ‘what is a roadmap?’ you’ll get everything from: it must be one page, it must be visual, it must be high-level, it must be strategic – mainly from organisations selling road mapping tools.

What it should do is lay out the outcomes, and the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) or milestones under those outcomes.

I always go a little further and pull together the key activities that need to happen in the next 12 months to deliver towards the outcome, and the resources you need to deliver those.

Two approaches to roadmaps and implementation plans that have always served me well are:

Roadmap - Outcomes with activities and resources

Implementation Plan - Objectives, Audience, Activity, Resources, Timing and Responsibilities


I hope that give clarity on starting a new project, these simple practical steps have helped me deliver projects that have never been approached before or helped layout the change plan for businesses in a practical, manageable, and succinct way.

Good luck with your approaches.