||Roadmaps and Roadmapping
|Ten Reasons to Roadmap
Successful product development and management requires that a product team manage
the complexities of producing a series of products at the right costs, with the right
features, and using the most appropriate technologies. Product-Technology
Roadmapping leads a team to create a plan that integrates market and customer
needs, product evolution, and introduction of new technologies at the beginning of their
development journey. The roadmap makes sure that gaps in the plan are identified and
can be closed as needed in the future. It also serves as a guide for the team during their
journey, allowing them to recognize and act on events that require a change of direction.
And roadmaps communicate the teamís plan to portfolio decision makers, to customers
and to partners and suppliers.
Roadmapping is just good planning, for all the areas that contribute to a
successful product line. The roadmapping process leads a cross-functional
planning team to fully examine potential competitive strategies and ways to
implement those strategies. Technology decisions are made as an integral part of
the plan, not just an afterthought.
Roadmaps incorporate an explicit element of time. Roadmapping helps the team
make sure that they will have the technologies and capabilities at the time they will
be needed to carry out their strategy.
Roadmaps link business strategy and market data with product and technology
decisions. Roadmapping prompts a team to be specific with respect to planned
features or performance in terms of value for customers.
Roadmaps reveal gaps in product and technology plans. Areas where plans are
needed to achieve objectives become immediately apparent, and can be filled
before they become problems.
Roadmaps prioritize investments based on drivers. At every stage of the
roadmapping process, the focus is on the few most important things: customer
needs, product drivers or technology investments. The team is prompted to
identify, implement, develop, or acquire the most important things first, spending
time and resources in the best way. Also, with a set of roadmaps in a common
format, portfolio decision makers are better equipped to make the tradeoffs and
choices that meet the corporationís objectives.
Roadmapping helps set more competitive and realistic targets. Product
performance targets are set in terms of the industry competitive landscape. For
example, experience curves are an especially useful tool for establishing industry
based targets. Recognizing that a winning product strategy usually cannot be all
things to all people, the team sets objectives to lead, maintain parity, or lag
competitors in specific areas.
Roadmaps provide a guide to the team, allowing the team to recognize and act on
events that require a change in direction. Part of the process of developing a
roadmap is to create a risk roadmap, identifying those events or changes in
conditions that signal a need to reevaluate and revisit the plan during the
Sharing roadmaps allows strategic use of technology across product lines. Cross-roadmap
reviews look across the plans of several product lines to find common
needs, capabilities that can be leveraged, or development costs that can be
shared. Roadmaps can also support a common corporate database of available or
Roadmapping communicates business, technology and product plans to team
members, management, customers, and suppliers. With a roadmap, a team can
clearly explain to customers and suppliers where they are going. A roadmap gives
customers information they can use in their own planning, and can be used to
solicit their reaction and guidance. With suppliers, a roadmap is a framework for
partnership and directions setting. The roadmap also tells the larger development
team, corporate management, and other development teams where the product
line is headed.
Finally, roadmapping builds the development team. The roadmapping process
builds a common understanding and shared ownership of the plan, incorporating
ideas and insights from team members representing the many functions involved in
a successful development process.