A roadmap is always about visualizing larger chunks of a story map. The release roadmap and portfolio roadmap work great if you use releases to group user stories into tangible pieces, such as 'MVP', ' Feature X', 'Capability Y' etc.
If you have everything you want to visualize on a single story map, you can start with the 'Release roadmap' template. Don't worry - if things get serious and you need to split your backlog into multiple story maps, you can switch the template to 'Portfolio Roadmap' where multiple story maps can be linked.
How to pick the column structure
Before jumping into the roadmap you have to choose a column structure that helps you to organize roadmap items. You can't go wrong. Columns can be renamed and reorganized without losing any content, so you can fine-tune the structure to your needs. Here are some ideas:
time-based: one of the most popular use cases for a roadmap is dividing roadmap items into quarters. It gives a useful overview of what will happen in the next quarter, and what was moved into the next period (which can mean, those items are not carved into stone)
priority: this structure is one of the most straightforward solution to emphasize what's on the dev team's table, and what are the top priorities. You can extend the initial Now-Next-Later columns with additional groups such as 'Won't have', 'Low priority' etc.
process: if you don't want to focus on the time frames, but would give a detailed overview to your stakeholders about the development process, then this structure can work for you. Plus, arranging items in the priority order gives more information.
Quick add options
After selecting a structure, you can create the roadmap by creating a roadmap item for each release. This will add all cards into the first column - the only thing you need to do is arrange them in the right place. Choose this option if you have already organized user stories into releases as tangible pieces.
You can skip the quick add option if you want to select only a few releases from the story map, or didn't set up the release structure.
Note: quick add option always pops up when adding a new story map.
How to create a roadmap item manually
If you used the quick add options, you still have the ability to create new roadmap items. Move the cursor where you want to add a new card and hit the '+' icon.
After creating a card you can add a custom name or you can link a release from the story map. In this case, the linked release's name will overwrite the card's title.
p.s. You can add a shorter or catchier title.
Linking a release is not obligatory. It's normal when you have a new idea or epic that is not detailed yet.
What's on the roadmap card
After giving a title to the card you can add a description. Please note: if you link a release, its description will be highlighted on the card as well. Then why is it useful to have a custom description? Because a release description on the story map can contain technical information which is not intuitive for a stakeholder. That's why adding a description in a 'human language' can be useful.
You can add attachments and web links, plus you can discuss everything in the comment section.
After linking a release you can access the status report which works exactly the same as on the story map. You can visualize the development progression on a piechart by estimation unit or by cards.
release start/end date
quick link to the story map
quick link to the release view