61% of executives say their company fails to execute strategic plans. It may be due to the lack of creating a strategic roadmap to achieve the goals. But, you may be wondering, how does strategic roadmapping help companies execute plans?
What is strategic roadmapping, and how does it enhance your business? The concept is simple to understand, but many moving parts are involved in creating an effective roadmap. With roadmapping, your organization plans and readies for the future and growth.
What Is Roadmapping?
A roadmap is a plan for the future that outlines how you want your business to grow and what you need to do to achieve it. The company’s leadership team usually creates it, including marketing, sales, operations, and finance.
A roadmap is a tool for employees to stay on track with their work. It also helps companies develop a sense of urgency to get their work done on time.
A roadmap is a visual representation of the company’s strategic direction and plans for achieving it. An effective roadmap outlines each detail, so the entire organization is on the same page and understands the bigger picture.
Why Is Roadmapping Important?
Roadmapping is the process of establishing an overall plan for the future. It includes looking at the past, present, and future to identify key events and milestones that will help in achieving the desired goals. It helps take control of the situation, especially when things aren’t going according to plan.
Roadmapping is essential for businesses because it helps them stay ahead of their competitors. It’s by setting clear goals and objectives that they achieve through various strategies and initiatives. It also helps them realize what they’re doing well and what they need to improve.
Some of the reasons why businesses need roadmaps are:
- To guide decision-making and planning for future projects
- To determine current and future company position
- Get help with setting goals, objectives, and deadlines
- Improve budgeting
- Plan your finances and assess the financial health of your business
- Plan your expenses
3 Ingredients of a Roadmapping Process
A strategic roadmap is a document that helps plan a company’s future. Having all the ingredients in place is vital before creating your road map. The three ingredients are as follows:
Research is essential for businesses to develop a strategic plan. It helps them understand their market and the competition and identify potential threats or opportunities.
It helps identify the current situation and formulate a plan to improve it. It also helps set goals and ensure you follow through with them.
The importance of organizational alignment is crucial to create a roadmap. It helps in understanding the company’s vision and goals. It’s a concept used to ensure everyone is on the same page.
11 Steps to Creating a Product Roadmap
To create a strategic product roadmap, there are 11 steps you need to take. They are as follows:
Step 1: Determine Your Strategic Position
The strategic position is the place where your business is in the entire market. It helps you determine how to best approach your business and what kind of content you should be creating.
It’s important to identify the strategic position before writing a roadmap. Understanding where your company is in the market will help you focus on what matters most to your audience and what type of products they’re looking for.
There are many benefits of understanding your business’s strategic position before creating a roadmap, such as:
- It helps you create content that will be relevant to your audience.
- It offers customers an understanding of who they should buy from. Which gives them more peace of mind when making their purchase decision.
- It helps you develop a brand story that will grow with your business.
- It’s an invaluable tool for customer service and marketing.
Communicate With Stakeholders
Strategic positioning is a process that involves finding your business’s unique selling proposition. It’s a process that requires communication with stakeholders. You do this to get their feedback on what they want to see in the product or service you’re offering.
It’s the only way to understand their needs and how the company can best meet them.
Review Your Company’s Mission and Vision Statements
Before finding your business’s strategic position, you must understand the mission and vision statements. It’s because they’re the foundation of your company’s strategy. You should then take into consideration what your company’s strategic position is.
The mission statement describes what you do in the world, while the vision statement describes how you do it. It’s necessary to understand that these two statements aren’t mutually exclusive. Companies combine the statements to create a cohesive message that will resonate with their customers.
Conduct a SWOT or PEST Analysis
The importance of conducting SWOT or PEST analysis before finding your business’s strategic position can’t be overemphasized. It helps determine the right direction for your company and gives you an idea about what you should focus on.
A SWOT analysis is a type of business tool that provides a snapshot of the company’s:
A PEST analysis is another type of business tool that helps in identifying the:
- Market Position
- Environmental factors
- Social trends
- Technological developments
Complete a Competitor Analysis
A business must know what its competitors are up to. It helps them understand the market better and create a strategy that will be successful in the long run. It helps you identify your competitors, their strengths and weaknesses, and the way they compete with you.
The competitive landscape is constantly changing. It’s necessary to conduct a competitor analysis before finding your business’s strategic position. Understanding your competitors keeps you ahead of them.
Step 2: Understand What Change You Need
To create a roadmap, you must understand what needs to change in your business and how these changes will impact your product or service.
To determine what organizational change you need for your product roadmap, it’s essential to understand your organization’s goal. You also need to identify obstacles preventing your company from meeting these goals.
You should identify the top priorities for your business and implement them with the help of your team. It’s crucial to identify the problems that need solving and their severity.
Once you do this, the next step should be figuring out how much time and effort you need for each problem.
Step 3: Create a Vision
A vision allows to create a roadmap that aligns with the company’s goals. It also helps make decisions on what features to prioritize and focus on.
Without a clear vision, it can be difficult for organizations to know what they want and how they’ll get there. A good business has one or more people responsible for creating the vision of its product roadmap. This way, more than one set of eyes is on it to ensure it stays in line with the company’s goals.
What Is the Purpose?
You must define the purpose of a roadmap vision. You need to decide what the company wants to achieve in the future and what it wants its customers and partners to experience. For example, if you’re going to make a product, you should first define what the product will do.
Understand Who Is Impacted
Companies must understand who the roadmap impacts when they’re creating a vision. It’ll help you define how your vision will affect different people and which steps should be taken by the company to achieve this goal.
Many companies have mistakenly created their roadmap vision without understanding who it impacts. It leads to miscommunication and frustration among stakeholders. Not understanding the impact makes others feel they are not being listened to or that their opinion doesn’t matter.
Step 4: Establish Short-Term Goals and Objectives
It’s important to set short-term goals and objectives when roadmapping to stay on track and reach your goal.
Some of the reasons why it’s important to have short-term goals are:
- It helps you stay more focused by having a specific goal in mind for each milestone
- You can also focus on what you’re good at instead of trying to do everything yourself
- Your team members know what they need to accomplish before the next milestone so they can start working on it
Goals and objectives will also help prioritize features and make the right decisions.
Define Success Metrics
If you want your short-term goals to be successful, you should define what success looks like. You should also determine how you’ll measure the success of your short-term goals and what metrics to use to measure the progress.
The metrics should be set up with a time frame appropriate for the goal.
Step 5: Evaluate Available Resources
The success of any project depends on the resources available, and evaluating them is imperative before making a decision.
Some companies use this to identify gaps in their current strategy and decide on new directions they want to take. Others use it as an opportunity to find out what resources they have at their disposal so they know what they can do with them. It helps them make more informed decisions about their future product development plans.
Step 6: Determine How to Acquire Additional Resources
Business owners and entrepreneurs must understand how to get more resources when creating a product roadmap—knowing what additional resources they need will help them determine how they can get them.
You can create partnerships with companies or individuals with the resources you need. It would be better if you also looked for new opportunities and ways of increasing your revenue.
Step 7: Develop Initiatives
When a company is developing a product roadmap, it must consider the different initiatives they want to implement. For example, if they’re launching a new product, they’ll have to think about what features and functions it should have. They’ll also need to consider how the new product impacts the current products.
An initiative is one or more short-term goals intended to address specific problems or opportunities in the short term.
Plan for Unexpected Situations
Planning for the unexpected is a crucial part of creating a strategic roadmap. It’s essential to have a plan in place for the different scenarios that could happen. For example, say you’re developing an app or website and get unexpected feedback from potential users.
It allows companies to be flexible and reactive to stay ahead of their competitors.
Step 8: Set a Timeline
Many companies are unaware of the importance of creating a timeline in their product roadmap. They often waste time and resources on tasks that aren’t important for the long-term success of their product.
A timeline can help in different ways. You use it to plan the time needed for each task, prioritize, and identify bottlenecks in the process. When creating a timeline, it’s essential to keep it simple yet informative, so everyone can understand it easily.
Step 9: Determine the Format You Will Use
There are three main formats used for strategic plans. These are:
The goal-oriented strategic plan format is a great way to prioritize and organize your ideas. It helps you focus on what’s most important and know what you need to get done. The format helps us stay focused on our goals, avoid getting distracted by shiny objects, and maintain a sense of urgency about our work.
A theme-based strategic plan sets up long-term goals and identifies trends and opportunities. It also establishes the company’s position in the market. This format offers a framework for you to use when developing your strategy.
A feature-based strategic plan is a type of business plan that focuses on features rather than products. These are the set of features and services that a particular product provides. It’s crucial to identify the features of your product early in the process because it’ll help you decide what your target market is.
Step 10: Design an Action Plan
Every company needs a strategic roadmap to manage its growth. However, the journey can be stressful and overwhelming if you don’t have an action plan.
An action plan is vital because it helps you stay focused on the goal. Knowing each step helps you not get distracted by the small tasks that are easy to do but don’t really help you reach your goal. Action plans also ensure that your team members are on board with your goals and committed to achieving them together.
An action plan should include:
- A clear definition of what success you want to achieve
- A list of all tasks needed to reach success
- A timeline for completion of each task
- An estimation of how long each task will take
- How much time you need for the project
- A budget for the project
- A list of all materials necessary for the project
Outline Which Tools Will Be Used
During creating an action plan, it’s essential to identify which tools you need to use, including the technology adoption plan (technology roadmapping), to achieve your goals. It’s where outlining the tools comes in.
The outline should include the following:
- The different types of tools that are available
- The strengths and weaknesses of each tool
- How each tool can be used in conjunction with other tools
- The different duties and responsibilities
- A list of possible reasons for equipment malfunctions
- Any additional information that is needed for the job
A technology roadmap illustrates the technology adoption plan for a given organization. Business leaders use technology roadmaps to plan and strategize which technology they want to use, when they want to use them, and why they want to use them.
They’re valuable tools for identifying new technologies that may benefit the organization or for planning future investments.
According to Deloitte, a high-level roadmap for digital transformation based on the business architecture concept consists of four phases:
- Assess the external and internal situation
- Develop strategy and assess business impacts
- Architect business solution
- Establish initiatives and deploy the solution
Step 11: Create the Strategy Roadmap
Now that you have each step completed, it’s time to put it together into a strategic roadmap. It can be for a product or an organizational change. When completing the roadmap, you must remember:
Convey the “What” and the “Why”
It’s necessary to convey the what and why of your strategy because it gives clarity to your audience. It may be tempting to keep the roadmap short, but this can lead to confusion among your staff members. They won’t understand what you are planning on doing in the near future.
Continuously Revise as Needed
Revising a strategic roadmap is crucial for adapting to changing conditions and staying on track with the company’s growth plans. You should update the roadmap when you need to address new opportunities or threats. Revising a strategic roadmap can help companies ensure they’re on track and not losing out on opportunities.
Need assistance with roadmapping? Check out our services.
Roadmapping Process Examples
Businesses may decide to create a roadmap for creating a new product or implementing a new change. For startups, it’s common to develop a roadmap to gain investor buy-in and fund the company. For example:
Developing New Products
The strategic roadmap is an example of a high-level plan for designing a new product. It outlines the stages, key milestones, and tasks to complete. The main goal of the strategic roadmap is to ensure that all stakeholders are on board with the project and know what needs to happen next.
They’re also an excellent tool to help you plan, prioritize and manage your project. It’s what a strategic roadmap looks like:
- What’s the problem that needs to be solved?
- What’s the vision of the final product?
- Who are the stakeholders?
- How will this affect them?
- What do they need from us?
Some of the best examples of strategic roadmaps include Google’s Android platform and Apple’s iOS operating system. These platforms were created to solve problems within their respective industries.
The main goal of the strategic roadmap is to provide an overview of the change process. It also conveys the implications for different stakeholders. A strategic roadmap is a communication tool between stakeholders who may not be aware of each other’s roles in the process.
Organizations typically use it to help them make significant, long-term changes and impact their business. Microsoft is a perfect example of how a strategic roadmap can be used in an organization.
Gain Investor Buy-In
A strategic roadmap is a document that allows investors to see what the company’s goals and objectives are. It also outlines how it plans to achieve them and how much time it will take. The roadmap also includes a timeline for achieving these goals.
An example of a strategic roadmap would be a document that outlines the five-year plan for an e-commerce business. It can include what the company wants to accomplish in the next three years. It would also include any milestones or significant events they plan on accomplishing during this time.
The ultimate goal of this document is to show investors what the company has planned for the future and how it’ll help them reach their goals.
Consult a Professional To Help With Your Strategic Roadmap
This article covered how to create a product or strategic roadmap. We hope you have a clearer understanding of the roadmapping process. And that you can take this information to develop roadmaps for your organization.
Are you still a little uncertain about the process? Or do you just not have time to complete the 11 steps? We know people who can help!
At Iterators, we have expertise in scalable infrastructure and all stages of development. We work with professionals around the world to bring best experience to software users.
The Combination Rule is a NYC-based product strategy studio — who will guide you in the strategic roadmapping process so your company has a clear outline and goal.
Contact us today to book a call, so we can discuss how our services can assist you with your roadmapping activities.