Strategic Roadmapping can be an invaluable, transformative experience when it’s done right, and done for the right reasons. Roadmapping is a way to align technology with business strategy and objectives through thoughtful planning that takes into account the short-term and long-term goals of the organization.
Alignment between IT and “the business” seems to be an aspirational goal in most organizations, and in many cases the concept of “alignment” is viewed either as something tangible that can be acquired, or worse, a box that can be checked off a list.
While the process of roadmapping does yield a tangible output in the form of a “roadmap” document, whatever form that ends up taking , and the output in itself is of no value unless it is implemented in a way that drives the organizations towards its goals and objectives.
The roadmap guides thinking, but it is not in itself an execution plan; it is a visualization of the state of the architecture over time abstracted to a level of common understanding across the entire organization. It demonstrates long-term thinking and planning, but should always be viewed as a living, breathing artifact subject to change along with changing business conditions and strategies.
The interesting, and often unintended, outcome of going through a roadmapping exercise is that it provides invaluable insight into how the organization works, which naturally leads to emerging pathways to alignment along the way.
It is the act of intentionally looking at the entire organization, its structures (visible and otherwise), its stakeholders, its capabilities and services, its markets and competitors, and its available resources, and aligning the various flows of the organization by leveraging technology as a force multiplier, opportunity generator, and risk mitigator.
Roadmapping should not be viewed as a one-off, stand-alone planning process, you can think of it as more of an envisioning and ideation concept, with high level backlog grooming and overall reshuffling of the product backlog happening as a natural, ongoing maintenance routine that integrates with retrospectives and other planning and delivery processes and ceremonies.
This is not a one-and-done or set-it-and-forget-it initiative, it needs to be supported by feedback loops and operational processes, as the roadmap becomes the underpinning for future prioritization and decision making.
Feel like discussing the concept of Strategic Roadmapping further? My calendar is up to date, if there’s a time that works for you let’s jump on a Zoom and see if it makes sense to engage.