Career Roadmap: Start With Your Vision

Before we review how to build your career roadmap, it’s best to review the basics of roadmap development. As product managers, we use roadmaps to set direction in order to achieve a specific vision. In other words, they serve as the foundation for any new project to ensure that we achieve our goals.

To make your vision a reality, roadmaps must outline clear milestones to track progress and stay on target. In addition, your roadmaps should not be static or set in stone – you need to be flexible in adjusting your plan. This becomes even more important in the world of technology where change is always a given. As a result, it’s critical to hold periodic check-ins to course-correct as needed. In other words, reality checks are always helpful to stay on target.

When thinking about building a career roadmap, the framework is very familiar to a roadmap that we would use for product development. I will take you through five steps to create your own roadmap that sets your career path for success:

  1. Define Your Vision

  2. Assess Current State

  3. Brainstorm and Research

  4. Compile and Prioritize

  5. Share with Stakeholders

Defining your vision is very difficult. But, it’s the foundation of not only building great products but also a great career. Here are a few tips that will help in defining your vision:

  • Be bold, but don’t be a criminal. There’s nothing wrong with thinking big and aiming high. However, you don’t want to go too far off the rails. For example, you don’t want to be Nicolas Cage in National Treasure.
  • Your vision is not the next step, don’t think short-term. Your vision must be set for the long-term. In other words, you’re going on a journey that goes beyond today or tomorrow.
  • Learn the ways of The Force, become a Jedi. Luke Skywalker had it right! Your vision should include skill-building or continuous learning to develop your capabilities. In addition, you should aim for a lofty career goal. For example, becoming a C-suite executive or starting your own business.

Most importantly, your vision should define what you want and what you don’t want. In other words, take your time and be clear about what you want to accomplish. By going through this exercise, you’ll find common themes in setting your career roadmap to achieve your desired goals.

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About the speaker
Andrea Chesleigh Boxed, VP of Product and Engineering Member

Andrea is the VP of Product and Engineering at One Kings Lane, a digital-first resource for making your home an expression of your personal style. She has spent over fifteen years in Product and Tech, and has led teams at startups and Fortune 500 companies, including Rent the Runway, Zappos, Time Warner, and Verizon. Andrea is passionate about solving hard (seemingly impossible) challenges, developing simple yet delightful products, building teams of entrepreneurial critical thinkers, and creating strategic outcomes with impact. She is a hands-on leader with a player/coach style, diving into the details with her team to partner, advise, and guide them to success.