The Technology Roadmap Supports The Product Roadmap

The product roadmap (can also be called a services or offerings roadmap) is an essential strategic planning tool, which maps out a company's products over time (usually up to 5-years) and the technology roadmap provides the tools in order to complete the strategic plan.  Similar to a forecast, but at a very high level, the product roadmap incorporates types of products to be developed, as well as the business units that would be responsible for them.

As an analogy, if you were to drive across the United States, you would map it out by first looking at the 30,000-foot view from starting point to the destination.  What are the major highways you would need to take? Which states you would have to pass through and how long would the drive take? Also, how are you going to travel? Automobile, train, airplane? You need a means to makes this happen. Technology provides the means to go from START to FINISH.  Yep...the "roadmap:" It's your initial step towards meeting your strategic objectives, in this case, arriving at your journey's end. Technology supports the objective.

The following image is a great example of graphically mapping out a product roadmap, especially when it needs to be published to the entire company. It's easy to comprehend and can be viewed on one page, slide, board, etc. No scrolling or pagination needed.

(click to enlarge)

All employees should be aware of the types of products/services they're going to help build/offer.  This not only provides transparency from the top leadership but aides in employee motivation (I have found that when teams are given an early enough "heads-up" of work that needs to be completed, they have a higher level of motivation because they can start making preparations.  It's only when work is tossed over the fence onto their laps, do frustrations arise.).  Additionally, it provides as a starting point for conceptualizing budgets and identifying resources, such as product owners, designers, program managers, etc.

Technology provides the means to go from START to FINISH.

It's an uneasy feeling for employees to know that their leadership doesn't have a strategy on what offerings they should provide.  After all, a company's products/services are its lifeblood and having a strategy for growth and sustainment (at the least) is absolutely necessary for a company's success.