Gain the clarity and insight you need to create momentum for your product, process, and people.
Create a plan that’s built for a changing environment.
Fine tune your priorities and determine the next steps.
Turn your strategic vision into a tactical blueprint.
Turning a strategic vision into a tactical plan can be difficult. Determining the scope and sequence of work to fulfill a visionary’s initiative takes thoughtful planning and the ability to identify opportunities and risks.
An effective roadmap becomes a centralized tool for communicating work – an information radiator. It allows the organization to have visibility and give leadership the ability to rapidly make decisions based on changes that may occur. This process isn’t intended to replace management or operational frameworks you already have in place, instead it enhances transparency and allows for optimal alignment so value creation can be maximized.
Roadmap creation may focus on a single product or initiative, multiple product lines, and even enterprise planning. An organization may utilize several roadmaps to bring clarity to teams and maintain a focus on priorities. Creation and maintenance of these roadmaps can be done through in-person or virtual sessions.
Start by defining the high level objectives – Is this a new product launch? Are multiple teams needing to synchronize? Does the organization need to align for specific goals or outcomes?
Define the boundaries. The roadmap needs to exist within the boundaries of organizational policy, human capacity, and regulatory compliance. Looking to the future, there may be some dates or events that are fluid, such as a new product launch date, and others that are non-negotiable, such as a regulatory filing or the end of a fiscal year.
Get the right stakeholders. A problem with a lot of planning is that it happens in a vacuum. A plan can be made but once it’s shared and expected to be put into action, it deteriorates quickly. Getting the right people in the room means having the individuals that can accurately speak to the abilities and challenges of respective areas in the organization. For example, if a marketing department makes a product release calendar without any input from the individuals responsible for developing the product, there will not be alignment.
Determine priorities. The kickoff to any roadmapping session is the affirmation of priorities. In order to maximize the tactical plan, the relative importance of objectives have to be defined. If there’s a revenue target that has to be met no matter what, then the planning needs to reflect that priority. If there’s a side project that a single team will work on if they have time, that lack of priority needs to be in the planning.
Create the map. This is when the group will start decomposing the high level objectives and priorities into actionable items. These pieces of work will need to be sequenced based on importance and on other limiting factors such as capacity. Keep in mind, this process isn’t about trying to figure out definitive dates for work being done, it’s about syncing priorities and sequences of work.
Share the outcome. No roadmap will be effective if it isn’t shared with people that it impacts. The concept of building an information radiator means that this should become a source of insight for the organization. This also allows others to review the current plan and identify potential issues or opportunities early.
Collaborate and maintain. The roadmap is built with change in mind. Priorities will change, deadlines won’t always be met, unknown challenges will occur. This is why it’s important to maintain your roadmaps. When a calibration occurs with some frequency, the roadmap becomes fluid, as it is intended to be. It will continue to evolve and reflect the changing environment. It will also allow the organization to quickly adapt to these changes and maintain momentum.