In this article you will learn all the benefits of implementing roadmaps for software project planning
What is a roadmap?Many companies around the world are pushing themselves to launch their products faster and become leaders in the market. To achieve this, they use roadmaps. Roadmaps are used to monitor a project's evolution. They are used for software development to gain better control over the work progress, making it easier to plan future deadlines. Without them, we'd have no set direction and we wouldn't know if we're on the right track. If you are a project manager or a business leader, you need to know what roadmaps are, how to design them and use them to achieve successful results. Broadly speaking, a roadmap is exactly that. It's a timeline showing a project’s development from start to finish, to the very last desired objective. It's a full map that includes every action required in the medium and long term to reach your goal in ideal conditions. It acts as a strategic plan describing a product's probable stages of development within specific a time frame and it displays the main necessary steps to reach the desired outcome. It can also work as a communication tool to structure the strategic thinking behind the goals and plans to reach said goals. It is more flexible and dynamic than a traditional marketing plan.
Why design a strategic roadmap?Having an available roadmap allows companies to: - organize people after a common goal. - have clear guidelines to follow. - efficiently coordinate and distribute workloads. - solve problems and reduce risks. - make decisions regarding both everyday matters and unexpected issues. - keep work teams inspired and confident. - improve communication. - ease workflow. - improve productivity and process organization.
How to design a roadmapNow, we have some general knowledge about what a roadmap is and why it is important for any company or organization. But how can we design one? First and foremost, we need to draft a timeline and put it up for consideration so that other people in the team can offer their suggestions. The client's end goals or what they expect out of the product in development must be kept always in sight. Moving forward, we can follow these steps: - Discovery (initial diagnosis): we must analyze both the general scene and the company's inner state of affairs. Market research is extremely important. We must gather all the necessary information and then focus on the details of what's important to our client. - Setting goals: we must decide which are the most important medium and long term goals. - Learning about users' experiences: we must know our client's expectations. We have to think as a user would think, to be able to gather all suggestions and visualize the desired product. - Establishing priorities and characteristics: after tracing a general outline, we must establish priorities and define what characteristics the product will incorporate in each stage and what purpose each time period will serve. - List of projects and initiatives: a list of activities must be detailed under each objective, describing the necessary steps to reach it and complete the desired projects and initiatives. - Setting an action plan: here, we must describe how the organization is planning to get the job done, including the actions to be taken, the appointment of leaders and teams and the establishment of time frames, budgets and processes. - Specifying follow-up indicators: we must decide how we will assess progress. Indicators must be established and follow-ups scheduled. - Roadmap modifications: a roadmap is a flexible tool. Thus, it's important to keep updating it to follow both market needs and our client's desires.
What is a Strategic Roadmap and what elements constitute one?There are different types of roadmaps. At OpenDev Pro, we work with Strategic Roadmaps. They are guides to help us reach our established goals. Normally, they are composed of 5 main elements:
- Goals, which set our direction.
- Threats and Opportunities, which justify our established goals.
- Our Path to reach the goals, which includes timing.
- Risks that we may encounter in our path and Plans to face them.
- Estimation of the necessary Resources.
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