I'm looking for a word for something that is like a 'roadmap' (like you might have for a product or for a project you are delivering), but without the implied order.

We are currently organising how we think about a set of products, and we would like each product to have a 'roadmap'. However I have found that the word 'roadmap' is a bit of a loaded term, because it implies to the reader that there is a defined order to what is on the 'roadmap'. We might get to having an order to our outcomes eventually. But what do you call it when you simply have a list of outcomes you might like to achieve, but without any commitment to delivering them in a particular order, or even an indicative importance of these outcomes to inform an order?

So I'm looking for a word that is either 'roadmap' without the implied order, or just a word for a list of potential 'outcomes', which again doesn't imply any order.

Usage: "Please refer to our <blank> and suggest any outcomes you might like us to work towards over the next quarter."

Just "objectives" or "outcomes" doesn't really fit, because, the implication is that you've already decided to achieve these. You could qualify it with 'potential objectives' or 'potential outcomes', but a single word would be ideal. Same goes for 'goals'.

A 'backlog' is typically a collection of smaller tasks, that one would work on day-to-day. I'm looking for something that describes a list of larger outcomes, without the low-level detail, that is explicitly oriented to outcomes (the 'what' we want to achieve) rather than 'how' to achieve those outcomes.

  • Is it like a mind map? What kind of structure has your information taken? Apr 19, 2022 at 8:02
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    You cannot have been following British political news, the government seems to many to be issuing 'road maps' for all sorts of projects which in the end it turns out it has no intention to follow or expect anyone else to follow.
    – Tuffy
    Apr 19, 2022 at 8:17
  • ........Goalfield, Apr 19, 2022 at 8:24
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    What you're describing sounds like things that are "in the hopper"—no implied order, but a set of things that will all be eventually processed by the machine.
    – Robusto
    Apr 25, 2022 at 20:40

3 Answers 3


In the software world, it often called the Backlog or Product Backlog.

As described in the Scrum Guide, the Product Backlog is an emergent, ordered list of what is needed to improve the product. It is the single source of work undertaken by the Scrum Team.

Product Backlog items that can be Done by the Scrum Team within one Sprint are deemed ready for selection in a Sprint Planning event. They usually acquire this degree of transparency after refining activities. Product Backlog refinement is the act of breaking down and further defining Product Backlog items into smaller more precise items. This is an ongoing activity to add details, such as a description, order, and size. Attributes often vary with the domain of work.

  • The OP says they don't want an "implied order" to things, which a backlog has (although arguably, any list of things will have an implied order so I'm not sure how feasible this is).
    – Stuart F
    Apr 19, 2022 at 10:16
  • I think the backlog can have a order where work items have been allocated to a sprint. However it can be unordered if they are not allocated to sprints.
    – k1eran
    Apr 19, 2022 at 12:03
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    Perhaps it is simply a backlog. However I think a backlog implies small units of work, that can be e.g. scheduled into a sprint and worked on. What I'm looking for is perhaps a 'backlog for outcomes', where the outcome is a) more general and goal oriented (rather than task oriented) than tasks you'd find in a normal backlog and b) larger in scope i.e. the sort of thing you might work towards over a quarter or multiple quarters. What do you call a list that's just the higher order groupings of backlog tasks, but it doesn't actually contain the smaller tasks?
    – Nik
    Apr 25, 2022 at 4:57
  • @Nik take a look at atlassian.com/agile/project-management/epics-stories-themes for useful terms for items that are too big for a sprint. I am deliberately using a comment and not giving this an answer as it’s getting into realm of software engineering not English!
    – k1eran
    Apr 25, 2022 at 17:08

The desired outcomes are your objectives. Lexico has


A thing aimed at or sought; a goal.
I regularly have meetings with them to discuss objectives and goals.


I'd call that a checklist.

I'm sorry the word is so banal, but this is what I would use if I have a set of outcomes to achieve or things to do but the order is not important.

"Please refer to our checklist and suggest any outcomes you might like us to work towards over the next quarter."

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