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What is a Product Roadmap? The Ultimate Guide and Resources

By jm k

As with many data collections and information libraries, the moment a technology road map is created, it is already outdated, because the conditions and trends that informed it are constantly shifting. With this in mind, companies must set up a disci-plined process for regularly updating their road maps. The further into the future a technology road map looks, the more a company’s innovation objectives become a moving target. Longer-term innovation plans entail time frames of different lengths, depending on the typical innovation life cycle of the product or service in question. For example, the life cycle for consumer electronics would typically be two to three years.

A portfolio roadmap shows planned releases across multiple groups or offerings. The blue and green bars below represent the two different products . The dots signify dates for different release milestones at the corporate level across both products. Large or complex projects require collaboration between multiple groups within an organization. A roadmap can help you track dependencies and identify bottlenecks to ensure that you deliver on time.

BMC works with 86% of the Forbes Global 50 and customers and partners around the world to create their future. As you can see, there are several different types of roadmaps that can be used depending on your situation. I have listed just a few examples here, but there are many more to choose from.

This type is more directed to the implementation of strategy and related to project planning. Figure 5 shows the relationships between technology development phases, programme phases and milestones. How to create a roadmap and what to include in it really depends on the type of roadmap you’re creating. But generally speaking, there’s a set of essential elements and qualities that apply to all roadmaps. Feedback – presenting a roadmap creates the perfect opportunity for a product/project manager to get valuable insight from both internal and external audiences.

The definition of an IT roadmap

Simply put, a strategy roadmap communicates your organization’s vision. Usually championed by senior-level stakeholders, strategy roadmaps focus on mission-critical business objectives, and usually emphasize long-term timelines and deadlines. Unlike product roadmaps, which often show which features and initiatives will be executed in the short-term, strategic roadmaps illustrate the long game.

What are some roadmap examples?

Project managers can use roadmaps both to communicate a project’s strategic objectives to stakeholders and as an ongoing reference guide to keep them on track with their project’s progress. Just as a product roadmap communicates the “why” behind a product, a project roadmap should articulate the strategic reasoning for pursuing the project. An agile roadmap shows major themes of work in a general timeline. Those themes could be product goals or epics, which are groups of related features. The date range will depend on how an agile development team works, but it is not common to see an agile roadmap expand beyond a quarter at a time.

This gives your audience the right expectation for what they will see along the way. So here are a series of guidelines on how to effectively update, share and present impactful roadmaps that convey relevant information in a quick and clear manner. Organize work into phases – group your ranked list of features or major efforts into major releases or stages and define their duration.

The definition of an IT roadmap

It also serves as a communication tool, a high-level document that helps articulate strategic thinking—the why—behind both the goal and the plan for getting there. A software roadmap can be an invaluable tool when it comes to juggling your software solutions, not least because each one demands a surprising amount of time and attention. With a solid software roadmap in place, you can eliminate the element of surprise. Compared to our professional services fee, the price of our products is a fraction of what we charge for custom work. Hence, our business model does not support pre-sales support. Assuming you are creating a 5-year or a 3-year IT strategy, then a yearly refresh or a rolling 3-year plan will be a great way to course correct.

Analyze Scenarios and Strategic Options

Release plans highlight the requirements to enhance the systems to support new capabilities provided by the new technology. They are generally predictable and may be scheduled months in advance. Release plans should be shared throughout the business or organization.

You may also find roadmaps that are categorized different than what I have presented. Regardless of what type of roadmap you choose, remember that communication is what the listener does. Know who your audience is for your roadmap and make sure you choose a roadmap that aligns with their interests. Consider using Saint Louis’s roadmap next time you are presenting your strategic plan to an executive committee or board of directors. As a business matures, its requirements to continue delivering a competitive product or service will grow and evolve as well. From personnel to workflow management to capital investment to emerging technologies and beyond, successful, sustainable businesses must adapt as their industry changes and the needs of their customers and clients change.

The definition of an IT roadmap

You should have some data supporting your plans and goals somewhere in the roadmap. Now that you’ve decided on your primary strategic goals, it’s time to turn those goals into a plan. The success or failure of an enterprise architecture roadmap depends largely on the accuracy of the information that went into developing it. When you are using a cost versus benefit approach to score and prioritize each action on your list, for example, you will need to know the true costs of each action. That means speaking with the relevant team leaders or department heads to learn this information before you complete that prioritization step.

Include key performance indicators

If you’ve ever had an employee ask when the next product update is due, or you’ve heard someone complaining that an internal system is slow or unreliable, a technology roadmap can definitely deliver value. Taking stock of the state of affairs in the technology realm is a critical step in the IT Strategic planning process. Whether it is an in-depth assessment or a cursory review will depend on the maturity of the IT department.

It is when you plan to deliver new enhancements to stakeholders. You might organize your releases around sprints or the days or weeks when you deploy meaningful changes to production. You also receive lots of requests for enhancements from other departments. Consider incorporating an idea management process so you can gather everything in a central place without disrupting daily work. Then use a scoring mechanism to evaluate and map ideas to in-progress initiatives or add tasks to your backlog of future work.

  • Once projects in the portfolio have been launched, managers identify and address challenges that arise—such as cost overruns, delays, or quality problems—and adjust the road map as needed to reflect emerging realities.
  • An IT Roadmap can be layered i.e. multiple roadmaps at different degrees of generalization can be created.
  • Don’t forget that, while our templates are pretty cool, there’s no limit to what you can achieve when you really dig into the airfocus feature set.
  • The success or failure of an enterprise architecture roadmap depends largely on the accuracy of the information that went into developing it.
  • The dots signify dates for different release milestones at the corporate level across both products.
  • A comprehensive evaluation may be necessary if the enterprise is embarking on a significant transformation.

Whether it’s managing your customers and prospects with a CRM system, or deploying a new cloud-based email system to all employees — every one of these activities can be listed and prioritized on a your technology roadmap. 4.8 trillion dollars by the year 2021, technology really needs to be at the heart of all modern businesses. And a technology roadmap essentially sets the stage for any of a company’s digital operations.

Here’s a page filled with technology roadmap templates your team can start using right now. Non-product teams have started to catch on to how they can use roadmaps to improve strategic communication and win executive buy-in for those plans. More and more marketing, IT and project-based teams are visualizing their strategies with roadmaps. If you use popular project tools like MS Project or Wrike, you’ll want to choose a roadmap creator that integrates smoothly with your usual project management software so you can build roadmaps straight from your data. A Refresh function that helps you update your roadmap every time there are changes in your documentation may be very useful, too. An effective Technology Road mapping process maximizes participants’ engagement in creating the plan, thereby building consensus and increasing the likelihood that those involved will implement the roadmap priorities.

With LogRocket, you can understand the scope of the issues affecting your product and prioritize the changes that need to be made. LogRocket simplifies workflows by allowing Engineering and Design teams to work from the same data as you, eliminating any confusion about what needs to be done. Having a strong project management process in place, along with a skilled team and effective communication with stakeholders, can help ensure success.

For this to happen, you need to develop a project plan, manage the deliverable, and monitor the progress. A project roadmap, by contrast, presents only a high-level, strategic view and does not delve into the day-to-day tasks or a detailed view of what everyone is working on. The roadmap is designed to help the team present an at-a-glance view of the project’s status to other teams, such as the executive staff, investors, the marketing and sales departments, etc. All high-quality IT roadmaps provide regular operational updates and guarantee clarity of procedures and constant access to information for all project teams. It ensures greater accuracy of investments, rational prioritization and management decisions, competent risk assessment, and economic profitability. Such results can only be achieved if the team is ready to utilize the strategic tool fully.

These are the elements you’ll define on your roadmap—the work you’re intending to commit to that you’ll present to your stakeholders. Jira roadmap integration Connect your high-level strategy with daily planning by syncing your data between Roadmunk and Jira. Azure DevOps integration Easily synchronize work items and field data into a strategic roadmap. Roadmunk API Sync your roadmapping data with the tools your team uses to get work done. Security Roadmunk takes security seriously so you can rest assured your data is safe.

Who uses a product roadmap?

For instance, are you thinking about upgrading to new servers? You’ll need to know how moving your data will affect your employees’ work. You’ll also need to figure out how to make the switch without leaving any holes in your cybersecurity process. The time factor can be adapted suitable for the particular situation. The time horizons for e-commerce and software related sectors are usually short.

The definition of an IT roadmap

The gap analysis needs to be on multiple dimensions – people, process, technology, data, and governance – to address the shortcomings holistically. All these external trends information is valuable in influencing and shaping the enterprise technology strategy. Today information technology workforce is younger, mobile, and global. Depending on the types of technologies, and level of expertise, enterprises need to come up location strategies that go beyond a large campus in the headquarters location.

A typical implementation or strategy realization roadmap comprises of initiative names, high-level cost numbers, tentative timelines, and a sequence to balance the cost, capacity, immediacy, and business value. In fact, some companies even share their product roadmaps with the public. The audience for an IT roadmap, by contrast, is almost always comprised only of a company’s internal teams, such as the IT department itself, or the operations department, or the company’s executive staff. First, a project roadmap serves as an ongoing reminder of the project’s strategic objectives. This is important because as teams make progress on any complex project, the day-to-day realities under which they’re working will often change. Based on a change in the market, an initiative once deemed low priority suddenly becomes urgent.

It’s not a project management tracker.

The infrastructure hardware roadmap is best used for areas where you have a large amount of equipment. They have developed a concept called a Michigan Enterprise Strategic Assessment . This is one of the few examples I have seen that breaks the traditional graphical “Gantt style” representation of a roadmap. They instead plot services on a curve that provides a lot of information at a quick glance. Understanding these challenges will help you overcome them when creating your own IT roadmap – rather than backtracking when the process becomes unmanageable.

Creating a technology roadmap requires certain knowledge and skills. Some of the participants must know the purpose of technology roadmapping. Next to this group-process and interpersonal skills are required since the process includes a lot of discussions and finding out what the common need is.

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