Dedicated Teams

Technology Roadmaps: What They Are and How to Create One

It’s that simple: if you want your project to take flight and hit the mark, you need to steer it every step of the way. And when it comes to software development, so much technology is involved that keeping track of it and planning your tasks can be a challenge, to say the least. 

Technology roadmaps keep your team focused on your goal and outline the tech tools and approaches they need to achieve it. In just a few minutes, I will tell you what roadmaps are, how they work, and when to use them. In addition, I’ll provide you with a few technology roadmap templates to choose from. 

But first, back to basics.

What’s a technology roadmap?

The term technology roadmap describes both the main deliverable and the process of long-term planning of a project’s objectives in conjunction with your technology stack. It’s a high-level visual representation of the technology choices mapped onto your development strategy.

There are a few ways how a technology roadmap could be done. Below is a typical timeline view, where all plans are laid out on a schedule, so you and your team can focus on the when.

Technology roadmap


And here is a board view of a roadmap, for those times you’re more interested in what crucial tasks the team is performing — now, soon, and in the long run.

board view of a technology roadmap


For those projects where you need to dive into the details, an item view is the option of choice. Set priorities and monitor progress of every individual assignment.


item view of a technology roadmap

Go with a chart view if you want your priorities clearly visible. The colored circles differ in size depending on how urgent or important a task is.

Chart view of a technology roadmap


A roadmap can cover anything from a few months up to several years. During this time, projects grow and business goals change, and so do tech needs and requirements. By looking at the technology roadmap at any given moment, stakeholders should be able to see:

One of the great things about roadmaps is that you can apply them to almost any objective. Having a tech roadmap can make life much easier for your team on a whole host of IT projects, such as: 

In general, whenever you decide to make significant technological changes in your organization, you should make building a roadmap your priority. In the process, you’ll gain insights into current operations and get a better grasp of how things can be improved. Skip this step, and the risk of complications down the line increases dramatically.

Still on the fence about using a tech roadmap? Let’s help you decide by listing the benefits for your teams and their leaders.

Who can directly benefit from technology roadmaps?

To save you the suspense, everyone can — for their own reasons:

If you’re a tech leader, negotiating with other key stakeholders to develop a technology roadmap is in your best interest. If you’re not, it’s still a good idea to give the management a little nudge in the right direction. 

Why? Because introducing roadmaps can add the necessary structure, logic, and precision to your planning process. A well-thought-out tech roadmap will instill confidence and attract investors to your project.

Sounds good? Then let’s get started by choosing the right type of roadmap, depending on what you intend to achieve.

Types of technology roadmaps

There are so many kinds of roadmaps out there, and it’s easy to get lost. At Altigee, we like to talk about things we know first-hand. So here we’ll tell you about the three types of technology roadmaps most relevant to our work as a software company.

IT roadmap

IT roadmaps are great if you’re a business incorporating tech solutions into your workflow. Let’s say you’re a retail company creating a customer web portal. An IT roadmap will describe the software development and testing process, along with the plan for migrating existing data and onboarding employees.

This IT roadmap example from Roadmunk shows a detailed timeline with high-level descriptions of the changes to be implemented, grouped into strategic categories.


This kind of roadmap gives your company’s CTOs, CIOs, and other tech managers insights into things like

Dev roadmap

Compared to an IT roadmap, a development roadmap is more specific and relates to the complex work your devs will be doing. It’s a safe space for developers to sync on their goals and methods. Your engineering teams should be able to focus on the progress and react to requirement changes in an agile way.

Here’s what a software development roadmap might look like:

Software development roadmap


While this kind of roadmap has the most benefit for developers, other departments can have access to it as well. This way, all teams on the project get a better understanding of the timeline for different milestones, whether it’s urgent new features or other IT-related updates they are expecting.  

App roadmap

Modern organizations can use anywhere from a few to several hundred applications in their workflows. Keeping up with the existing tools may already be a hurdle, but then there’s also the need to update them for better productivity. Application roadmaps can provide a clear, structured view of the different software used by each department, organized by the purpose they serve. Using these roadmaps helps companies efficiently manage their application portfolios, make better software choices, and control the implementation of new apps.

Here’s an app update roadmapping example that outlines different app categories and the steps for transition.

App roadmap


With a roadmap like this, your IT administrators and managerial staff can monitor which apps are in use and follow the process of maintaining or updating them.

Now that you’ve seen some technology roadmap examples and understood the main types, it’s time to talk about the actual perks of using them.

Key use cases and benefits of implementing a roadmap

Whether you use a ready-made technology roadmap template or create your own from scratch, the list of advantages you get is impressive. Here we’ll look at some typical situations where a roadmap can really save the day.

Use cases

Start pitching the idea of a technology roadmap if you need to do any of these things:

Benefits

The advantages of using a tech roadmap don’t end there. It’s also a win-win situation for you as a tech manager. In essence, you will:

Now as you know about all the benefits of technology roadmaps, the next stage is to talk about what makes a great roadmap.

The core components of a tech roadmap

Here’s a typical checklist of what you should include in your roadmap:

And now that we’ve covered most of the theory, let’s see how you can create your own tech roadmap.

How to design and plan your technology roadmap

For starters, there are a few simple rules to follow. I’ll run you through them, then share our proven steps for building a good roadmap. 

Basic requirements

These recommendations might sound obvious, but they’re worth keeping in mind. Your roadmap should be

The steps

Here are the five basic steps to creating a quality technical roadmap. 

  1. Determine your goals. When your mind is set on presenting a detailed strategy, it’s easy to lose sight of the initial reasoning. Knowing what every IT initiative achieves and what the business can gain from it always comes first. 
  2. Choose your TA. You need to have a clear understanding of the audience you’ll be presenting your pitch to. Revise your roadmap to make sure you’re speaking their language. Find a middle ground between sounding too technical and delivering your key messages to decision-makers.
  3. Turn objectives into plans. Break your goals down into action items. Then, place them on the timeline, so stakeholders can see what happens when.  
  4. Share with stakeholders. It’s time to pitch your brainchild to the executives. Be ready to answer questions and act on feedback.
  5. Brief your team. It’s your responsibility to make sure everyone understands their place in the plan. 

Tools

You’re almost fully equipped to tackle the task of planning and building your first roadmap. However, there are still a few things missing from your toolkit — like a service for creating roadmaps to get you started.

You can create your roadmaps from scratch and integrate them with other project management software, or save yourself some time and use ready-made technology roadmap templates. 

Tech roadmap templates to use (with examples)

There are quite a few roadmap templates out there. Here is what successful teams use to plan their work and track progress.

Airtable

Airtable is an online platform that offers a range of data collaboration solutions as well as free roadmap templates. Click here to access a fully customizable demo version of Airtable’s technology roadmap template.

Airtable technology roadmap


MIRO

Another great technology roadmapping example comes from Miro’s extensive library. It’s a highly editable kit that combines great flexibility with a neat design. Depending on the size of your team, you can start with a free option and upgrade to one of the monthly plans.

Miro technology roadmap

Atlassian

The giant behind tools like Jira and Trello and the famous Agile knowledge base, Atlassian has a broad selection of roadmap templates to choose from. They’re easily configured and free for teams of up to 10 people.


Confluence technology roadmap

ProductPlan

ProductPlan’s IT strategy roadmap is free for the duration of the trial period and is definitely worth a look. As part of a larger collaboration suite, the templates available on the website can be connected to other project management tools.


ProductPlan roadmap


The takeaway

A technology roadmap is an indispensable tool for visualizing and managing the progress of an IT-related project. It helps teams see their objectives, plan time and resources, and dramatically increase productivity. All stakeholders gain a better understanding of the project and its stages, which ultimately leads to higher engagement and less friction between the parties involved. Business owners and top management get a chance to assess the entire infrastructure, compile a holistic strategy, cut costs, and future-proof the organization. By following the guidelines above, you’ll be well on your way to creating a great roadmap that keeps you on track. 


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Altigee is a software development company fueled by ridiculously competent software development pros who are crazy about their job and hungry for challenges.

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