Every ICO has its roadmap – however, they differ in their quality. And the roadmap is one of the most important information for investors. After having seen more than 1,000 ICOs in my career as an ICO analyst, I want to share how what differentiates good from bad roadmaps.
What should a roadmap convey?
The roadmap should break down the vision of a project into small, time-related and accountable steps. Every project should have a big vision; however, the roadmap should break it down to very fractional aspects on how this vision can be realized.
As in investor, you want to see that the team has a realistic expectation towards the implementation. You want to see that they want to do what it takes.
If you are designing a roadmap, do not try to show people you have a great vision. Put that information in the whitepaper or on the website – but the roadmap should consist of actionable, fractional steps. As the name reveals, the roadmap is your road to what you aim for.
The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.
– Bill Copeland
A Checklist for good ICO roadmaps
Actionable activities or milestones
Actionable means that the activity consists of specific work to do. For example, “launch of Alpha version” is an activity you can perform and that’s attached to a larger goal (launch of a platform). On the other hand, development activities for example is also an activity you can perform, but it is neither specific, nor accountable in any way.
Every step needs to be as precise as the investor can estimate what the result of this milestone is: Is it a running alpha version with feature X, Y, Z, the integration of partner B?
Good example: “Alpha version with centralized trading functionality open to all investors”
Bad example: “Alpha version release”
The good example is precise in the way that you know exactly what the alpha version consists of. In the bad example, the alpha version could mean anything – something, which is especially bad when it comes to the accountability. You do not literally have to state what e.g. the alpha version consists of on your website, but this information can be added in the whitepaper at the roadmap section.
Anyone who reads the roadmap must be able to check the successful completion of steps from the roadmap. Accountability in this sense means that you can simply decide between:
- Yes, the project completed the step
- No, the project did not complete the step
As you may guess, being precise is very important for the accountability. If no precise steps are stated, the project simply does not commit to the delivery of anything. Taking the example from above, the “release of an alpha version” could be classified as successful when only a minimal part of the features have been completed. In the other case, if you know single elements of the alpha version, you can account the project on precise results.
Whatever is related to quantitative measurable results, should be put in such a commitment. Instead of claiming a “platform growth”, state how many users, how many partners, how many usages you aim for.
The commitments made have to be attached to a timeframe to make them measurable and accountable. A promise without a deadline is not a real promise since there is no binding frame in which it has to be fulfilled.
KISS is always great. So, keep it stupid and simple: Break the steps down to a level which makes your steps visible and understandable, considering all the previously mentioned aspects: Which step are you tackling in this time period that brings you closer to realizing your vision?
Consider different dimensions of progress in your roadmap. Do not only focus on technical, as well not only on business aspects. Here are the most relevant dimensions you should cover:
- When will your MVP, Alpha, Beta and final version will be released?
- Which features can be tested publicly from which point of time on?
- How many users do you want to have at a certain time?
- Do you have specific marketing activities scheduled?
- In which region are you expanding and when?
- How many transactions, which turnover or how many revenues do you want to make at a certain point?
This step is one of the most-rarely implemented. Following step one to four makes your roadmap good, keeping the multidimensional roadmap of step 5 into consideration, makes it exceptional. Remember that you are providing the roadmap to a wide audience that has different perspectives on the project. Investors want to see that you know how to tackle technical issues, but they also want to see how you are getting your product to the market and grow your userbase.
Having seen hundreds of roadmaps in the past years, only a few of them considered all the aspects mentioned above. The easier your roadmap is, the more likely investors are willing to take a deeper look into your project.