Technology roadmapping is a useful practice for all kinds of business. It keeps the IT department focused on its goals instead of the immediate day-to-day tasks, and considering how quickly technology changes, having an organized long-term strategy is crucial to remaining competitive in your industry. A technology roadmap charts the trajectory of the IT department for a set period of time, usually 18 months. It details the new applications, new infrastructure, or process improvements the department plans to undertake in the time frame.
Generally, it’s a simple concept to follow. Have a plan and follow it, but the details are what matters. If your roadmap is too detailed, it will be inflexible. If the roadmap is not detailed enough, it is no plan at all. It is a wish list. Somewhere between these extremes is the right balance for your business, but at the baseline, your IT roadmap should include the information below.
Technology Roadmapping Essentials
- Mission Statement: Include a comprehensive summary of the goals and strategies of the roadmap. Though it may seem obvious, having a well-defined objective will help with the rest of the roadmapping process. Be sure to include your strategic priorities and keep this statement non-technical. Executives and non-IT personnel should be able to read this statement and understand where the IT department is headed.
- Prioritized List of Improvements: This list should remain a joint effort between the business and IT sides of the company. It should note the challenges that need addressing, and from this list, the IT department should structure their project timeline.
- Project Timeline: Every project the department intends to undertake should be placed on a timeline with an estimated start and end date. This is the core of the roadmap and essential to staying organized and on track throughout the year.
- Project Justifications: At a high level, explain why each project is necessary to achieve the overall mission. Furthermore, you should include in your statement why this particular approach is the best way to reach your goal. Like your List of Improvements, these justifications should be as non-technical as possible. They will be useful as reference tools should other departments or executives have questions about your strategy.
- Estimated Cost: Everything costs money, and a good plan will take the budget into account. Note what you anticipate each project will cost to ensure the IT department stays within their means.
- Assigned Personnel: Each project should note which team or professional is assigned to the initiative. This can change along the way, but this will help the entire team budget their time and coordinate their schedules.
Only the Start of the Roadmap
This is only the start of your technology roadmap, and there is much left to discuss. From here, your business’s unique challenges and assets will come into play as you build out your roadmap. There are pitfalls and opportunities still to come, but these essentials will give you a good launching point.
Learn more about the roadmapping process, and how your organization can better plan for the future in our new guide, The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Technology Roadmap.