Shortly after I read You and your research, I decided to keep a roadmap. My current roadmap is a simple graph using less than 30 words — I use Graphviz. I list 4 recent papers, 3 ongoing projects and 7 upcoming projects. Each node of the graph is a project I can complete in a few months.
I update the upcoming projects on each Monday.
So far, it has some benefits:
- It helps me stay focused. Unless a new project fits in my plan, I discard it.
- It is easier to be ambitious with a roadmap over several years.
- (To be verified) On the long run, this routine should make grant applications easier and more fruitful.
Some Ph.D. students have to submit such research plan, but do they keep them up-to-date? What about more mature researchers?
My guess is that few researchers (outside Big Science) have up-to-date roadmaps. Let us face it: planning is hard, boring, and often useless.
If you are a researcher, do you have a plan?