What are business roadmaps?

Roadmapping is the process of determining the actions, steps and resources needed to take an initiative from conception to reality. Roadmaps have several main uses. The process of building a roadmap can help teams reach consensus about needs and the process and technologies required to satisfy those needs. Roadmapping also provides a mechanism to help forecast resource requirements and provides a plan to coordinate the acquisition of the needed resources. Along with systems theory, roadmaps may can be used to support analysis and forecasting of emergent items from the planned effort.

Historically, there were five types of roadmaps:

  • Project,
  • Product,
  • Integration,
  • Process, and
  • Measurement.

Today, roadmaps can take many forms. However, for each roadmap, there are certain aspects included every time. First, the roadmap must support or extend the business strategy, mission and vision. Additionally, most roadmaps address the market in which the business competes to include messages, personas and some form of a strengths, weakness, opportunities and threat (SWOT) analysis. Depending on the fidelity needed, roadmaps also include a listing of the  effort expected. The effort can be high level, such as mapping to initiatives, projects and programs, or detailed with more granular work assignments. Lastly, the roadmap with list the features or capabilities expected, along with requirements and related concepts.

The key to a successful roadmap is to derive consensus not only with stakeholders, but also with the teams that will carry out the effort. In addition, the best roadmaps are part of an overall idea pipeline environment. The most successful organizations solicit and capture ideas in a structured manner. These organizations create a pipeline that feeds the creation of roadmaps, which in concert with architectures and frameworks, lead to more structured and successful initiatives.

This is a high level view of a network graph roadmap for a digital transformation initiative. It is fully interactive.

As good systems thinkers, Take2 provides our roadmaps as networks, illustrating the relationships between the work and the processes, technologies and data/information affected by the initiative. From there, you can use your work management processes to schedule and conduct the effort.