For context – I’m often asked about roadmaps and I’ve had this sitting as a draft for months and thought I’d just post it and get it out of my backlog of things.
As transformation leaders, our business partners have a vision of where they want to be and an expectation of the capabilities needed to get there. As CTOs. Enterprise Architects and consultants, our role is to align those expectations with what we can do; pushing our businesses to see that the can achieve more than they realised, or get there faster.
One of the ways we do this is through the use of roadmaps
I’m sure many people reading this have heard “just create a roadmap”! The challenge with roadmaps is that there is no one correct way of creating and articulating them. It all depends on what you’re trying to communicate and to whom.
Let’s look at roadmaps.
- what is a roadmap
- what are some of the different types of roadmaps
- When could or should you use the different types
1. What is a roadmap
A roadmap enables a group of people to explore a topic based on where they are today and where they want to get to, informing then on how to get there.
In any organisation there are lots of people trying to work out where they are going, be it for the overall Vision and Strategy of the organisation, their Department or team direction or even personal career management. Having a visual representation, in a common language is hugely important when making sure that those involved understand how to get from point A to point B, and WHY.
To look at it another way, and it may sound a little controversial; with every organisation there are services being delivered, internally and externally, and these services are essentially products being consumed. For each of these services (or bundling of services) there should be some sort of road map, managing the demand, and showing how these capabilities are being developed, or retired.
2. What are some of the different types of roadmaps?
There are many different types of roadmaps and each can be depicted in various ways. I thought I’d highlight a few common ones that I see.
- Goal based roadmaps
- Persona or Customer Journey based roadmaps
- Vision and Outcome based roadmaps
3. When could or should I use them?
Goal Based Roadmaps
These are the most common roadmaps and typically what people think they are asking for when demanding the creation of one. There are a lot of different goal based roadmaps. These roadmaps are about “what do I get” as I progress along the path, that paths can be reflected as time, steps or stages. Goal based roadmaps focus on:
- goals – what are the milestones I’m looking to;
- features – what are the capabilities or features that I get; or
- benefits – what are the resulting capabilities from following this path..
Some examples of goal based roadmap uses are:
- Sales – licensing and licensing bundle related. These can be tied to technical roadmaps for logical up/down steps in licensing;
- Technical – Product feature roadmaps and technical capability roadmaps (including Application and Enterprise Architecture roadmaps). These can also be linked to projected changes in the organisation’s needs be it scaling up or down, or adding a new part to the business; and
- Project – what capabilities are delivered when
Some other references are Measures – quantitive or qualitative and
Persona and Customer Journey Based
Persona or Customer Journey based roadmaps map out the path or paths someone takes to achieve an outcome. Sometimes if might be the entire lifecycle of a customer from acquisition through to their departure, other times it might be restricted to a single path.
These are useful when trying to communicate to large teams of people, where they all cannot interact or have direct access to a customer and you need them to understand what the experience is like.
Most of the time these are know as Customer Journey Maps, however, can be part of a Service Blueprint or as simple as an Empathy Map. Depicting or documenting a current state and an end state for journeys, services and how you want personas to feel are roadmaps, too.
The importance is understanding the current experience, what needs to change and what the new experience will look like.
Some other references are – how to create the perfect customer journey roadmap
Vision and Outcome Based
I’ve specifically split outmode out from goal-based as it tends to make a lot more sense when looking at the relationship to vision based roadmaps.
Outcome mapping – what are the step changes you need in order to hit your target(s)? These are useful when identifying what are the next big steps are needed to achieve your strategic goals.
This was a quick brain dump and was originally inspired by a video I saw on YouTube by one of Atlasssian’s product managers some time ago. It’s a long watch but I found helpful when I was in a rutt and not able to communicate the future vision.