A digital roadmap is a powerful way to capture and plan all the steps involved in developing a technology project from concept to finished product. It is a process that can involve a lot of exploration, trial and error, so there are a lot of ways development costs and timelines can blow out.
Only a tool like a fully accounted technology roadmap process lets you manage these risks. After all, no captain starts a new voyage without a destination marked on a navigational chart that plots each day’s necessary progress. Embarking on a technology development project is a similar kind of voyage, except you’re building the boat as you go!
Why a technology roadmap matters
It almost goes without saying: you need a map when you’re going somewhere new and you have a schedule to keep. There are three main reasons why:
It is easy to get lost when you know what your destination looks like, but you don’t know how to get there.
It is easy to be late if you don’t know how far you need to go each day to stay on schedule.
It is easy to run out of resources if you don’t know how to navigate the terrain effectively.
A roadmap provides the how for all three. As a model of success to track your project’s status, a technology roadmap’s forecasted breakdown of technical and procedural steps gives you a compass to ensure you are heading in the correct direction at every moment of the development phase.
However, because there are no guarantees when doing something for the first time, your roadmap is also a living document that manages the process in a way that’s flexible and responsive, no matter what comes.
What the technology roadmap means for you
Essentially, your technology roadmap will disassemble your strategy to count, weigh and measure all its conceptual nuts and bolts. Every efficiently delivered software project depends on this sort of teardown in order to translate the project requirements into the build specifications the design and development team will use.
The technology roadmap process is a comprehensive and methodical way to put everyone on the same page about:
what will happen
what should happen
what has happened.
Roadmaps are especially useful for developing products that can be delivered incrementally or for which improvements beyond a minimum viable product (MVP) can be delivered as a series of evolutions.
Roadmaps are also powerful tools to promote and explain your project to others - useful when seeking investors or other funding.
We must stress though that a roadmap is not a business plan, nor is it a business development tool. It is rather the way a single, clear objective is going to be reached.
How your technology roadmap will work
The roadmap process begins once the project strategy fully defines the overall objective. The roadmap then goes unpacks the assumptions, technical detail, scheduling, incremental tasks and the responsive techniques that will achieve that objective. In essence, a complete scenario of success.
This task breakdown begins with identifying the broad actions within the strategic goal. These actions are called ‘epics’. Each epic is then broken into tasks, which are themselves broken into their various component activities (subtasks).
How this done and how the results and implications are presented, varies from agency to agency. At Hunted Hive, the main components of our technology roadmaps are:
User Persona - who will use your new system? What do they want? What challenges do they face?
Use Cases - the actions or steps a user persona will undertake to achieve their goals via your new system.
System description, features and components - a complete functional description of the system being developed.
System Architecture - a conceptual model that defines the structure, behaviour, and views of a system.
Technology stack, languages, frameworks and libraries - the recommended IT resources for your project.
Detailed task breakdown and scope - a collaborative spreadsheet identifying all front-end and back-end project components and actions.
Project modelling - resourcing and schedule estimates for bringing your product to market.
Schedule - timelines that include phase details, major milestones and sprint dates.
Ongoing costs and maintenance - a proposal for ongoing maintenance and support for your completed projected.
Project success with a digital roadmap
By now, you should see that before you embark on any large development project, you should ask your developer to collaborate with you on an in-depth digital roadmap.
If they cannot predict and account for each increment of their progress in this crucial planning stage, you must be careful about going forward with them. Your budget, schedule and reputation are at stake.
Talk to Hunted Hive today if you are serious about bringing your concept into reality. See how it is going to happen each step of the way with a Digital Technology Roadmap - a chart navigating you to your destination with the minimum of surprises.