Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Portfolio Management: Top 10 Things to Know About A Portfolio Roadmap (Part - 1)

A portfolio roadmap is visual in nature. Because it’s visual, you can understand quickly and it can be used as an effective communication tool with your portfolio stakeholders.

In this article, I’ll outline the top ten things to know about a portfolio roadmap. It’s one of the key deliverables in portfolio management, other being the portfolio strategic plan, portfolio charter, portfolio management plan and of course, the portfolio itself. There are also many other deliverables in portfolio management.

Key Point # 1: A portfolio roadmap graphically shows all the portfolio components. 

In my view, this is the most important one. Did you notice the emphasis on “all”? Yes, the portfolio roadmap shows the portfolio elements graphically (visually). The portfolio elements are the components of a portfolio such as projects, programs, operations, subportfolios or other work.

Key Point # 2: A portfolio roadmap shows the dependencies.

This is the only artifact in portfolio management, which shows the dependencies – both internal and external. 

By internal dependencies I mean the dependencies among the portfolio components. By external dependencies, I mean dependencies outside the portfolio. It’s usually between organizational areas.

Key Point # 3: A portfolio roadmap shows a high-level prioritization mapping. 

Like risk management, where you don’t consider all the risks, in portfolio management, too, we don’t consider all the components for execution. In fact, the portfolio components are prioritized, and the components which give the most value to the organization within the organization’s risk profile are taken up. 

A portfolio roadmap shows a high-level prioritization mapping. The prioritization model or approach comes from the portfolio strategic plan (PfSP). The model establishes the guidelines to prioritize the portfolio components, which in turn is displayed visually in the portfolio roadmap. 

Key Point # 4: It’s the only artifact which shows a chronological mapping.

Remember the first point of 'graphical' representation? 

The roadmap not only shows the elements graphically, but it’s also a chronological view. Chronological means that the components are arranged in order of time of occurrence, i.e., from the earliest to the latest.

A visual representation is shown below. The image is drawn with the MS Project software tool.  

As shown above, in the portfolio roadmap, there are many component projects, programs and operations. The timeline of the components with chronological mapping is shown for all the components. 

Each component is represented as a horizontal bar in the portfolio roadmap.

Key Point # 5: With a roadmap, you can show the progress of components. Again, visually! 

As one proceeds with the portfolio execution and moves across the portfolio life cycle, you can check the progress of the portfolio components. As a component is authorized and executed, there will be progress reported for the component. This can be shown in the portfolio roadmap.

As shown in the above figure:

  • Project A and Project B are 100% complete. Another thin line/bar is going inside the bigger bar is the representation of % completion.
  • Project C is around 50% complete, whereas Program A is around 25% complete.

Video: Top Ten Points – Portfolio Roadmap

For a quick and clear understanding, I've prepared a video [Duration - 6m: 44s] in support of these two-part article series for Portfolio Roadmap. You can watch the videos to learn a few more key points!

To know more on portfolio roadmap, you can refer to the recent article, published by

Building A Practical Portfolio Roadmap

[This series: Part – 2]


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