Technology Roadmaps Mean Different Things to Different People
However, the best technology roadmaps share common features. FDS has created a list of ten tips for building and using a successful technology roadmap within your organization. Here are those tips for visualizing your roadmapping process:
1. Roadmaps are not lists – An effective technology roadmap defines technology pathways that show how incremental innovations, often happening in parallel, can add up to new technologies and products in the future. They also highlight opportunities for breakthrough innovations to radically accelerate the R&D process. If your roadmap does not show these relationships, do you have a roadmap or a list?
2. It’s all about the priorities – Again, say it with me: Roadmaps are not lists! I can’t tell you how many roadmaps I’ve opened only to see a wish list of activities without any sense of relative priority. If roadmaps are to be used to guide R&D investment decisions, it is essential to indicate the relative priority of roadmap activities, particularly in today’s environment of increasingly scarce resources in both public and private sectors.
3. You need senior-level buy-in now – A roadmap takes you where you want to go. In most organizations, senior managers must provide “strategic intent” at the onset of the roadmapping process. Then the roadmap can be tailored to produced and utilized as a useful planning tool that aligns decisions with strategic intent.
4. People matter – Senior leaders are not the people who implement a roadmap. A roadmap ultimately must influence people to make decisions that support the overall strategy. Engage stakeholders during the roadmap development process to get buy-in with people involved in the priorities, both figuratively with their support and literally with their R&D budgets.
5. A picture is worth a thousand words – Create a simple picture, diagram, or dashboard to quickly summarize and convey key roadmap priorities and status at a glance. This will give you a much stronger opportunity to engage people with the roadmap and make decisions that align individual actions with larger corporate or industry goals.
6. Focus on the outcomes – Implementation does not begin when the roadmap is finished. Implementation models should contain the information required to execute the plan according to the technology roadmap objectives.
7. Build it in rings – Start with small groups and pull in more people to contribute to validate and act upon your roadmap as needed.
8. Use the OODA loop – New information is constantly becoming available, and your team should learn to use the OODA Loop. A process to Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. In other words, monitor and update key players regularly to reflect new data, technology advances, and changing business conditions as you implement your technology roadmap and implementation plan.
9. Seek unity of effort – The chief value of roadmaps is the ability to align the efforts of many individuals toward shared goals to align and unify the organization. Doing so while you build your roadmap is essential for creating the relationships needed to implement coordinated actions to achieve your technology roadmap goals.
10. One size does not fit all – If you work with external consultants to define your technology roadmap, make sure your staff is fully engaged with creating it so the plan fits your unique business model and culture. No one knows your business better then you do.
With over 27 years experience in the software business, Financial Database Service can help you with many technology related projects like creating design documents, “software blueprints”, data engineering, vendor selection, project management and more.
Using these tips can help you build an effective roadmap and implementation strategy.
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