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Creating Effective Strategic Road Maps

No clear data road map - Another reason why data efforts fail, says consultancy McKinsey.

Roadmaps come in many shapes and sizes to visually communicate a pathway toward goal achievement. A strategic road map defines the credit union's current state and presents a path, usually in phases, to the credit union's road to achieving a future state.

Because it is a visual representation, it is a powerful communication tool as it can connect strategic initiatives with business plans and time boxes. The act of creating a road map, called road mapping, is a useful exercise for leadership teams to explore different pathways to achieving future states.

Key Elements in Roadmaps

Time horizons

When created the time horizons, the following three time boxes offer the highest degree of program success. The first time horizon is near term. Near term is defined as those actions/initiatives that can be confidently completed in six months. A medium-term time horizon is defined by those actions/initiatives that can be completed in six months to one year. A Longer-term time horizon is defined by those actions/initiatives that can be completed one to two years, going no longer than three years (36 months). Duration is significant because it helps the organization identify impact as well as end dates. This also helps with accountant ability and success measurement dashboards.

Work streams

Work streams are the actions/initiatives to achieve the goal.

For success, the roadmap should focus on a few work work streams and stay high level. Road maps with much detail are not roadmaps but are project plans and are highly effective when utilized by departments or teams collaborating.

Road map Success

A road map's primary function is a communication tool of a process to complete a large and complicated project. There can be many versions of a road map based on the audience, but a well-thought-out, high-level version can work for several audiences. Most road maps accompany a presentation deck that explains the surrounding details. The life of a road map is indeed fleeting.

Like life, things change, so make certain road maps are updated to current conditions and shared at intervals to communicate the progress of the project.


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With a stop at the

Data Education Center.

We believe that data transformation doesn't have to feel overwhelming or expensive to be impactful. After helping over 600 credit union leaders launch their data journeys, we have identified several consistent knowledge gaps. We have worked hard to fill these gaps with a variety of educational artifacts:


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