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The Ultimate Guide on How to Create a Roadmap for Your Business

In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business landscape, having a clear roadmap is essential for success. A roadmap not only helps you define your goals and objectives, but it also provides a step-by-step plan to achieve them. In this ultimate guide, we will walk you through the process of creating an effective roadmap for your business. From setting goals to mapping out strategies, we’ve got you covered.

Setting Clear Goals

Setting clear and achievable goals is the first step in creating a roadmap for your business. Without clearly defined goals, it becomes difficult to determine the direction in which your business should move. When setting goals, it’s important to make them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). This ensures that your goals are realistic and can be tracked over time.

To set effective goals for your business roadmap, start by identifying what you want to achieve in the short-term and long-term. For example, if you want to increase sales by 20% within the next year, make that goal specific by stating the exact percentage increase you want to achieve. Once you have identified your goals, break them down into smaller milestones or objectives that can be easily measured and tracked.

Assessing Resources

After setting clear goals for your business roadmap, it’s crucial to assess the resources available to you. Resources can include financial capital, human resources (employees), technology infrastructure, and any other assets that are essential for achieving your goals. By assessing your resources upfront, you can identify any gaps or limitations that may hinder the execution of your roadmap.

Start by conducting an inventory of your current resources and evaluate their capacity to support your goals. If necessary, consider outsourcing certain tasks or investing in new technologies to bridge any resource gaps. Additionally, assess the skills and capabilities of your team members and determine if any additional training or hiring is required to successfully implement your roadmap.

Mapping out Strategies

With clear goals and a thorough understanding of your available resources, it’s time to map out the strategies that will help you achieve your objectives. A strategy is a high-level plan that outlines the approach you will take to reach your goals. It involves identifying the key actions, initiatives, and tactics that will drive your business forward.

When mapping out strategies for your business roadmap, consider both short-term and long-term approaches. Short-term strategies focus on immediate actions that can generate quick wins and boost momentum. Long-term strategies, on the other hand, are more comprehensive and involve sustained efforts over an extended period of time.

Monitoring and Adjusting

Creating a roadmap for your business is not a one-time task; it requires continuous monitoring and adjustment. As you execute your strategies, it’s important to regularly review your progress against the defined goals and milestones. This allows you to identify any gaps or obstacles early on and make necessary adjustments to stay on track.

Monitoring can involve tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), conducting regular team meetings, or using project management tools to stay organized. By monitoring your progress, you can identify what’s working well and what needs improvement. This feedback loop enables you to adapt your roadmap as needed and make informed decisions along the way.

Creating a roadmap for your business is a vital step in achieving success. By setting clear goals, assessing resources, mapping out strategies, and continuously monitoring progress, you can ensure that your business stays on track towards its desired destination. Remember to regularly review and update your roadmap as circumstances change or new opportunities arise. With a well-crafted roadmap in place, you’ll have a clear path forward towards achieving your business objectives.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


define rolling plan in business


Rolling Planning

The term "rolling planning" describes a form of planning in which the planning already done is reviewed and, if necessary, updated after certain time intervals throughout the year. In other words, corporate management is adjusted to current conditions during the year. 

Definition: What does  "rolling planning" mean?

Rolling planning or rolling sales planning is a sub-type of sales planning. It describes a periodic form of planning that updates and revises the company's current planning  based on  new data and forecasting methods at defined regular intervals. The idea behind it is not to base the business on the previous year, but to adjust plans and resources according to current economic developments and the industry. Typically, the forecast period extends 12 to 24 months into the future.  

The concept of rolling planning

Rolling planning usually complements annual planning, as the latter is usually too inflexible and too far ahead. In contrast, rolling planning provides forecasts more frequently and at an earlier stage, allowing deviations to be identified in good time. This, in turn, lays the foundation for quick reactions to achieve the set goals faster. Planning and forecasting therefore tend to become more accurate as a result of rolling planning and its shorter timeframes. Resources in the company can thus be deployed and utilized in a targeted manner. Activities  in the near future  are planned more precisely and intensively than later periods.  

How is the rolling planning carried out?

Rolling planning is based on a constant number of periods. For example, if the forecast period is 12 months, another month is added at the end of each month. In this way, forecasts can always be made 12 months into the future. Rolling forecasts typically include at least 12 forecast periods, but may include 18, 24, 36, or more.    

In smaller companies, rolling planning can be done using an Excel tool. But once planning becomes more complex, companies are better served with software that enables rolling planning. Automatic forecasting makes sales planning work much easier.  

These steps will help you implement rolling planning:  

  • Define goals 
  • Define forecast horizon 
  • Determine level of detail and data source 
  • Determine who is responsible for the process 
  • Create possible scenarios 
  • Select tools/technologies 
  • Evaluate/measure actual and estimated forecasts 

What are the benefits of a rolling planning process?  

Rolling planning is particularly helpful in companies that are in a dynamic market environment because the forecast values are always  up-to-date , allowing strategic planning and operational planning to be carried out  on the basis of  detailed and meaningful figures. Planning is regularly adjusted to changing conditions, which is why forecast deviations can be quickly identified. This results in the following advantages:  

  • Greater planning reliability 
  • Reduced time and personnel requirements 
  • High accuracy of forecasts 
  • Agility: Adjustments can be made quickly and flexibly to adapt to trends and changes 
  • Refine the company's financial plan and overall strategy  
  • Track financial and operational performance 
  • Reduction of risks 
  • Help in strategic decision making 
  • Monitoring cash flow 

What are the disadvantages of rolling planning?  

This type of planning can also have some disadvantages:  

  • Time and resource intensive process 
  • Difficult and costly implementation 
  • High complexity in implementation 

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Rolling Plans and Forecasts

What are they.

CIMA Official Terminology defines these as plans or budgets that are continuously updated by adding a further accounting period when the earliest accounting period has expired. A rolling forecast is continually updated, whereby each time actual results are reported, a further forecast period is added and intermediate period forecasts are updated.

Budgeting and forecasting can be viewed as part of the planning process, which looks into the future beyond the immediate timeframe. Planning is an attempt to shape the organisation’s future, while forecasting and budgeting aim to predict the value created and resources used in a specific period. Adopting a rolling approach helps to inform a more realistic and timely planning process.

What benefits does a rolling approach provide?

This approach reduces uncertainty in planning and forecasting. It allows flexibility where long-term costs and/or activities cannot be forecast accurately.

The rolling approach encourages a regular reassessment of plans at all levels within the organisation. It also allows the business to respond quickly to current events.

Questions to consider when implementing a rolling approach

Do we have the time and resources to prepare plans on a more frequent basis?

How can we get buy-in from the rest of the organisation?

Actions required

Actions to take / dos.

Involve budget holders in changes to the planning process

Base your forecasting on the key drivers of the business. Should there be a major change with any of these drivers, management can be quickly informed of the impact and react accordingly

Actions to Avoid / Don'ts

Don’t take a top-top approach – understand and work with the business at all levels

Avoid wasting time preparing detailed plans for the full year – focus mainly on the earliest period and make outline plans for subsequent periods

In practice: Rolling Plans and Forecasts

Driving success at Southwest Airlines (Beyond Budgeting Roundtable, 2013) Southwest has been consistently profitable for over 30 years, and is the most cost efficient airline with the highest shareholder returns of its peer group. The focus is upon continuously improving performance and meeting customers’ needs, with service seen as a “way of life” rather than a technique.

Planning takes place at the front line. It is a continuous process based on 12-month rolling forecasts and quarterly plans within a clear strategic framework. Resources are made available monthly and quarterly based on these forecasts, meaning that action plans can be approved at any time through the year and implemented immediately.

Targets are set by each team within broad-based parameters and expectations. This enables innovative thinking and builds ownership and commitment at the local level.

Related and similar practices

Beyond budgeting

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  Rolling Planning  

You execute rolling planning in order to replace plan values with the actual values of the previous period within a fixed time context after every completed period. You can protect these actual values against changes and if necessary fix the plan data again for the remaining periods in the predefined time frame.

A typical example of such a scenario is the planning of sales figures on a monthly basis for the current fiscal year.

In order to model such a scenario, you require a planning layout for manual planning in which the consecutive listed periods are divided into two areas:

·         Completed periods which contain actual data and are protected against changes

·         Open periods which contain plan data and can be changed

In addition, the requirement exists that the boundary between both of these areas should be able to be changed with the least possible administrative effort.

The following graphic presents the procedure aimed for:

  The whole planning period is moved.

The general approach to fulfill this requirement is based on the use of variables in connection with dynamic data columns. You create the variables VPERACTUAL and VPERPLAN for the characteristic period and set the selection of variables so that the characteristic values cover the area from 1 to 2 over both variables and that the initial value of VPERPLAN is the same as the end value VPERACTUAL plus 1.

You use the variable VPERPLAN for the selection of the characteristic period in the planning level. In addition, you must restrict the characteristic fiscal year variant compounded to the period to a single value, since period is otherwise not available as a dynamic characteristic.

For the planning layout, choose the type Key figures in data columns and enter that the characteristic period should be presented in dynamic data columns. In addition, you include the characteristic version in the data column in order to distinguish between plan and actual data.

You take the further procedure from the following section.

       1.       In the second step of the layout definition, choose the tab page Data columns .

       2.       In the table Configuration of data columns , define the data column for the presentation of the actual from completed periods.   For this you make the following settings:

§          ...

                            a.       Choose the key figure for which you want to display or enter transaction data.

                            b.       Set the indicator in the column Comparison column to protect the actual data displayed here from changes.

                            c.       Set the indicator in the column Dyn. to indicate the data column as dynamic.

                            e.       Choose the option Variable and enter the Name VPERACTUAL.

                              f.       Enter in the column for the characteristic version the characteristic value for actual data.

       3.       In the table Configuration of data columns , define the data column for the presentation of the plan data for the periods that are still open. Make the same settings for this as for the actual data, however, with the following differences:

                            a.       Make sure that the indicator Comparison column is not set.

                            b.       Because the indicator Dyn . is set, the system has entered the technical name of the characteristic in the column for the characteristic period . Do not change this setting.

This setting ensures that those values are used for the periods which are set in the selection of the planning level. In the scenario presented here, these values result from the definition of the variable VPERPLAN which is used in the planning level as a selection.

                            c.       Enter the characteristic value for plan data in the column for the characteristic version .

       4.       Save the planning layout and execute it.

The executed planning layout contains as many data columns as there are characteristic values in the selections of both variables VPERACTUAL and VPERPLAN, therefore, in the example presented 12. After a change of month, you as the administrator only have to extend or reduce the selections of both variables by one period in order to adjust the division of the period range in a display area for actual data and an entry area for plan data.

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Five Ways to Improve Business Planning Using Rolling Forecasts

Companies often spend weeks or months developing an annual plan or budget, but by the time they’re finished, the market has changed and the budget has become obsolete. There’s a better way: rolling forecasts.

define rolling plan in business

Companies often spend weeks or months developing an annual plan or budget, but by the time they’re finished, the market has changed, and the budget has become obsolete. There’s a better way: rolling forecasts.

What is a Rolling Forecast?

Instead of being once-a-year exercises, rolling forecasts happen on a regular cadence. Unlike budgets that may have hundreds or thousands of line items, they focus on key business drivers. And rather than focusing on the past, rolling forecasts act as early warning systems when you’ve drifted off course.

In a recent webinar, we identified five best practices and steps to launch rolling forecasts successfully at your organization:

Step 1. Use a dedicated application—don’t try to perform them with spreadsheets.

The multiple versions required by good rolling forecasts to create different scenarios are extremely difficult to perform and manage with  manual processes  (spreadsheets).

Step 2. Model your course on drivers, not details.

Your annual budget lists thousands of line items, but to follow rolling forecast best practices, you should be creating forecasts at a higher level. Focus on significant business drivers such as risk, profit, and working capital.

Step 3. Use rolling forecasts to sound out multiple what-if scenarios.

Look for a tool that lets you change a few key assumptions and drivers and instantly see their effect on the overall plan, such as the impact a price change has on headcounts and cash.

Step 4. Scrub your forecasting process of bias—don’t link it to targets, measures or rewards.

Rolling forecasts are a strategic management tool, not an evaluation tool. Let managers forecast based on real business demands and the real business environment.

Step 5. Choose the right forecasting horizon for your industry.

A best practice is to forecast at least four to eight quarters past the current quarter’s actuals. But there’s no hard-and-fast guideline for the time interval included in a rolling forecast. It depends on your industry, your business needs, and how long it takes to make decisions.

But let’s say you aren’t convinced about the need for  rolling forecasts  in the first place. There are several compelling reasons for giving them a try:

  • They enable agile responses to changing market conditions.
  • They optimize decision-making for better planning.
  • They identify future performance gaps.
  • They help senior executives manage performance expectations.
  • They shorten long planning cycles with a more efficient model—and direct the extra time toward more strategic activities.

That’s not to say that implementing this approach will be smooth sailing. Some people fear that they will take the focus away from company goals. But in fact, rolling forecasts ensure that these goals are realistic because you’re continually updating your plan and tracking performance against them.

For example, say your annual budget was $100 million. If rolling forecasts indicate that you’re going to fall short of that figure due to external headwinds, you can work to get management’s buy-in for a more realistic outcome and make decisions to change your investment levels or key priorities.

This article first appeared on the  blog  of  Adaptive Insights , a Workday company. For more information on this topic, watch the webcast, “Rolling Forecasts: Your Guide to Success.”

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Definition of 'rolling plan'

Rolling plan in british english.

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What is a Rolling Forecast?

define rolling plan in business

Rolling forecasts are becoming a popular add-on or an alternative to the traditional approach of annual budgeting in organizations.

Definition of a Rolling Forecast

A rolling forecast is a report that uses historical data to predict future numbers and allow organizations to project future results for budgets, expenses, and other financial data based on their past results.

The idea is that instead of managing the business based on a static budget that was created in the prior year, creating a rolling forecast is used to revisit and update budgeting assumptions throughout the year.  This enables organizations to adapt plans and resource allocations based on changes in the economy, the industry, or the business.

In their purest form, rolling forecasts allow organizations to project future results based on a combination of actual YTD financial results and the original budget, or updated revenue and expense forecasts for future periods.  The future forecast period can extend to the end of the fiscal year, but in most cases, the rolling forecast period typically extends out 4 to 6 quarters into the future.  

The technique relies on an add/drop approach to financial forecasting that creates new forecast periods on a rolling basis. Businesses establish a set period, such as quarters or months, to update their forecast. At the end of every period, a new period is added to the forecast, so businesses can regularly adapt their financial planning to reflect recent trends.

What are the benefits of a Rolling Forecast?

This approach provides organizations with the agility to re-allocate resources based on changing business decisions and conditions.  It also provides the organization with a head-start on budgeting for the next fiscal year since the work is done in advance and considers the latest results and assumptions about the business going forward.  In some cases, organizations that have adopted and executed a rolling forecast process have eliminated the need for an annual budget.  This concept is promoted by the Beyond Budgeting Roundtable , which is led by industry guru Steve Player.

Planful’s rolling forecast software solution allows your organization to create continual forecasting for more accurate financial planning, increased agility, and optimized financial results.

Learn more about rolling forecast best practices by downloading Planful’s white paper. You will get access to the the 10 best practices for implementing rolling forecasts and how to get started for your own organization.

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