As a leader, you may wonder how to match your long-term business goals to a specific technology – while keeping costs and risks low. Our answer is to create a technology roadmap for software development.
Simply put, the technology roadmap gives you the bird’s eye view of everything that goes on with your company.
Unfortunately, creating the technology roadmap doesn’t have to be rocket science, especially for a small business.
With that in mind, we will give you an in-depth look at the technology roadmap definition, why it is so important, and a six-step plan on building a technology roadmap.
That’s not all. At the end of this article, you’ll find out five tips for effective technology road-mapping.
Let’s get started!
Table of contents
Why technology roadmap is important
Let’s face it! Most software development teams focus on projects rather than customer experience. You spent lots of time fixing bugs, planned strategies or responding to project management requests.
However, when technologies are changing dramatically, they are also forcing developers to adopt a product mindset.
That’s why you need to know these essential benefits of building a technology roadmap.
1. Create a useful strategic framework
Suppose you are on a couple of IT infrastructure projects. With a technology roadmap, you can both understand current needs and predict future needs.
The technology roadmap also gives you a birds-eye view of everything that goes on within your team as far as technology is concerned. Therefore, it helps to highlight your team goals and technology solutions into workflows.
For example, you are thinking about creating a new plan for the next quarter, you’ll need to figure out issues, establish strategic goals, and develop a staffing plan.
The technology roadmap goal here is to help you and your team think through how your plans will impact other areas of the business.
2. Keep your team on track
You know, there are many unexpected challenges like your company might force to pause on this project while it’s halfway complete. With this in mind, the strategic roadmap provides transparency into what you are working on.
In fact, all projects face obstacles. It requires an ongoing, collaborative dialogue between teams and stakeholders. By road-mapping, your team can narrow down the focus of the problems that can be solved.
3. Prioritize the objectives and requirements
Use your roadmap to identify which work is the most urgent and impactful. Then you can stay connected to your business strategy and maintain a sense of key priorities, even when you’re presented with new information.
How to create a technology roadmap?
Now, it’s the most part you are waiting for. Here are the 5 steps to create a technology roadmap.
Step 1: Identify your goals for a specific period of time.
It doesn’t make sense if you planning for a long timeline. Ideally, it should be created for the next few months and quarters. Break the long-term goals into shorter tasks, assign them to responsible people, and there you go!
So how do you determine what the product goals for quarter should be?
- Clearly define the why behind your proposed change. That means your first step is to find out how these changes will benefit your business.
- Align with a unique positioning. It aims to create for current and potential users.
- Prioritize initiatives create the most impact. What’s the most urgent thing that needs to be tackled? What’s your scope of resources? Then, you can use that to make those prioritization decisions.
Step 2: Define your functional needs
Once you know what your goals are, it’s time to clearly define all the needs and priorities.
- Review your business process. Identify your technology gaps and highlight the areas where your existing systems fall short. With this in mind, you are able to itemize a checklist of what steps need to be taken.
- Research for alternatives. The market is continuously evolving. Therefore, you should test the current market and study alternatives. That’s the reason why quarterly revisions are useful to keep its goals aligned to the business strategy.
In fact, many software development teams express a desire for better reports, performance metrics, and predictive analytics. But, more importantly, you should determine what underlying data is needed and how it will be collected.
Step 3: Build out realistic timelines.
Your technology roadmap should include a realistic timeline based upon your priorities, the duration of each project, and available resources.
- First, verify how you think about an effort vs. how the team thinks about the same effort. For example, there are some items that you think will be completed quickly. Meanwhile, your teams think it takes a lot of time to hand over.
- Second, don’t forget to account for constraints that may limit your ability to execute, such as long holidays.
- Plus, hiring an outsource software development team can be an effective way to relieve the workload on your in-house staff. As an added benefit, they can contribute valuable knowledge to help you avoid pitfalls from others.
Step 4: Measure the budget.
You probably have a good idea of what you work on, and possibly how long it takes to implement. Now, it’s time to work through the details and get into an estimated budget for what is needed.
- Research on required pricing including a realistic cost estimate for each project in your technology roadmap.
- Take into account additional costs such as annual maintenance or support fees.
Step 5: Visualize your technology roadmap.
There are countless ways you can design a technology roadmap, from post it on a whiteboard, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint slides.
If you work in an agile software development environment, your team may not want to show every detail of every feature for your implementation.
Use the technology roadmap template will give you a real-time view of how your road map is coming along. As each team member delivers their projects. Thus, you can see how that impacts the rest of your team’s schedule.
After all, to simplify minute task tracking and easy to access all history of analytics, here are some technology roadmap tools for you to explore:
Step 6: Assign objectives for those responsible.
Once you have your technology roadmap design in place, you will need to assign those plans into actionable tasks.
Bringing your team together will help you determine which projectswork on in which order, estimate how long each project will take, and decide which team members will be responsible for each action item.
4 tips to create an effective technology roadmap
1. Be concise
Your technology roadmap should be visually compelling. What if your teams can’t understand it clearly after you put it at the meeting?
That’s why it should be concise. For each sprint, explain in just a few words what you plan to do, what achievements you anticipate for the company, and why that’s a good thing.
Note: If your technology roadmap doesn’t show the interrelationships or the timelines in the period of time, it’s just a list.
2. People matter
The effective technology roadmap should be aligned with your organization’s overall strategy. Engaging them in the roadmap development process will help them feel a real sense of ownership and contribution.
3. Add more relevant stats
You can add some data supporting your plans somewhere in the roadmap. For example, adding relevant stats, charts, or links to data beneath each item. If someone asks you, this evidence will keep your technology roadmap clean and free of clutter.
4. A picture is worth 1,000 words
And lastly, if you can create an infographic or a visual that communicates the overall strategic direction, it is much more effective.
Your strategy may change. As a result, preparing your technology roadmap is not a one-time event. Rather, it is a living document that should be regularly updated, reconsidered and revised.
And if you find it’s hard to create a technology roadmap, contact us now. At AgileTech, we have solid experience in planning and following all kinds of roadmaps.
Just get it started and keep working on it so that you move closer to achieve your goals.