Once you have your vision and strategy, you need to figure out how and when you are going to accomplish the goals to fulfill them. This is where a roadmap is a vital tool in the overall strategic planning process.
When you drive to an unfamiliar location, you probably fire up Google Maps or Waze on your phone, and it provides you with both a picture of your route and more specific directions that include turns and time. A strategic roadmap is very similar. It shows you the various high-level activities that will help you achieve your goals, and provides approximate times of completion. Albright Strategy has a good document, “Ten Reasons to Roadmap“, that clearly outlines why roadmapping is important.
The development of a roadmap must incorporate input from leadership throughout the company. There are financial impacts, technology impacts, resource impacts, and legal and regulatory requirements, all of which must be carefully considered. With 100% certainty, a decision around timing will have ramifications across the company. For example, development of a new software product can impact other development projects or require additional funding and employees. Entering a new market will impact your marketing and communications teams, require a reprioritization of funding, and could even change the corporate culture. The roadmap is what helps you plan and get the company moving along the same path.
This Performegy Sample Software Dev Roadmap that I created gives an idea of a roadmap that cuts across multiple functions within the company. It shows three functional areas and the timing (by quarters) of various activities. In a very small amount of real estate, a good bit of information is conveyed. Taking this a step further, you might have 3-4 different products you sell or manage, and their release schedules or replacements can be visually captured in similar fashion, giving you an integrated view of the most important activities within your company.
If you are interested in a PowerPoint version of this slide, please complete the Contact Us form and I am happy to send you a copy. More importantly, tell me how I can help you develop or review the roadmap that makes your company successful.