A roadmap is a regulating document that determines how technology will sustain the business strategy and drive an organization’s priorities over the next 3 to 5 years. Roadmaps typically include the following information:
- A focused list of improvement opportunities. This is created collectively by the organization and IT, and should be updated regularly.
- A timeline of the initiatives as well as projects that will take place over the following number of years with approximate start/end dates as well as an estimated duration for each project.
- A strategy statement with a checklist of the strategic priorities for the business (not IT-specific).
- The approximate cost and duration of each project. This should be specific and fairly accurate for projects taking place over the next 12 months and can be less detailed for projects that are further down the line.
- High-level justifications for every project. These should be robust for projects over the next year and can be less complex statements for projects past the 12-month time frame.
- A lead for each project. This is the sponsoring executive managing the project.
To support the roadmap IT departments should keep updated versions of:
- A systems inventory that is periodically updated and contains at least end-of-life dates, basic statement on usage, number of users, and system owner.
- Systems architecture diagrams of the whole organization including interfaces, manual data movements, and platforms (this is not an infrastructure diagram – this is just systems specific).
- A running list of emerging issues/concerns the IT support team is experiencing. An effective help desk software should be able to track these issues.
How will your organization utilize the IT roadmap?
The roadmap has three key functions:
- The IT leader will utilize it to promote investment discussions with the rest of management. The IT leader will use the roadmap as a baseline when reviewing new projects or priorities with executives. It will assist the leadership team to understand how to balance investment and project priorities and offer a way to visualize tradeoffs.
- The IT department will use it to enhance planning for projects and resources. The roadmap will help them foresee resourcing requirements, strategize assignments, software and vendor selection, and costs in advance.
- Leaders will use it to recognize what is required of and will be delivered to their departments. It helps them clearly understand how they should balance existing roadmap efforts with new requests. The roadmap will keep leaders aligned on strategic technology priorities across the organization. Active management of the roadmap will result in much better executive alignment and stakeholder buy-in before projects even commence.
The Benefits of a Roadmap in the organization
The roadmap is designed to structure the communication between the technology department and executives in a way that enables the IT department to:
- Make securing buy-in from business leadership a more structured processes which, consequently, makes it easier to earn the support of business users.
- Act strategically when making investment decisions and managing projects.
- Negotiate more efficiently with leaders or staff who request new projects or initiatives that require substantial, non-operating effort.
The roadmap offers transparent resourcing requirements for when business staff will need to be assigned to IT projects, clear trackability to costs, and the detail for why those resources and dollars are needed.
The roadmap also permits executives to be strategic when they request new or improved technology. They can utilize their functional strategies to begin working with IT leadership to establish which kinds of technology projects will be required to achieve their goals.
Most notedly, it provides a strategic, structured approach of governing changes to business needs as they emerge. It makes certain there is technology representation at the table when decisions are made that require IT support, and it promotes balancing priorities across the business, reducing the possibility of conflict before it arises.
Staff and Project Teams
The roadmap plainly spells out why the projects a team is working on are essential as things on the roadmap move or are re-prioritized, it compels the leaders to explain why and also how those top priorities are changing. The roadmap encourages a clear and also open line of communication between management and team.
Developing a roadmap assists organizations with identifying the projects that enable the business to achieve their strategic goals and provides a mechanism for IT to forecast the technology needs that map to the business goals and objectives. To find out how Litcom can help your organization develop an IT Roadmap for future success, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.