Product launches are often delayed because it is difficult to synchronize product and technology roadmaps. Making winning decisions early in the product development process is challenging since the necessary data is scattered in different formats and across many systems. There are often multiple plans inside an organization, so understanding all the interdependencies can seem like an overwhelming task.
Bridging the Gap:
Strategy and Execution
Product roadmaps work as a communication tool to support the deployment and execution of product strategies from development through the entire supply chain. Inevitably, unforeseen practical obstacles will be encountered. This will cause many functions to scramble to overcome any adjustments to the plan. Too often, such execution-driven adjustments can lead to a new, separate plan, owned and managed solely by a team executing their narrow functional responsibility. A detached plan risks drifting from the original strategic intent, and it becomes disconnected from the continuous cross-functional process of learning and adapting to new market requirements.
So how can we bridge the gap? How can we build roadmaps that are flexible enough but still maintain their full integrity and relevance across all affected functions? How can you make roadmaps to believe in?
Product Architecture Planning
Traditional roadmaps are often built by a mix of features, functions, technical solutions, and products laid out in a calendar view. There is little understanding of how these information items relate to one another in a deep and meaningful way.
When managing a product architecture, we are managing a set of connected information objects. Product properties are connected to modules, modules are comprised of module variants, and product property goal values are connected to specific module variants, giving the entire information model meaning.
This means that the roadmap that lays out the future development of the product architecture must be structured similarly. Simple roadmaps presented in a calendar view cannot capture all necessary aspects of the product architecture. Explore how this is done in PALMA.
3 Tips for Successful Product Planning
1. Strategic roadmaps and development roadmaps should be connected. If plans diverge, this should be immediately visible.
2. Plans are only plans. There must be processes in place to make it easy and agile to adapt and re-plan without losing overall program integrity
3. The product architecture must be visible to all stakeholders. Only then can all plans be truly synchronized
Digitized Product Roadmaps
Digitalization means not just digital information but also connected information. In the digital company, the commercial roadmap, the module roadmap, and the product roadmap are all connected into one integral whole.
Roadmaps to Connect your Product Architecture
There are several roadmaps needed when managing a product architecture:
A technology roadmap can be critical for creating a competitive advantage and ensuring the business's long-term survival. It helps the company to reach a consensus around and plan for technology shifts and disruptive innovation.
It is useful to create a roadmap for the key commercial properties in the early stages of developing a product architecture or when incrementally developing an existing architecture. It outlines a plan for what the company will bring to the market, its value, in terms of and when it will be delivered.
When the module system starts to take form and module variants are specified, planning the roadmap for the modules and their variants begins. This brings clarity to when each module variant should be ready.
For Supply and R&D, this information is crucial to allocate detailed design resources, develop suppliers, and prepare production.
The product roadmap outlines the timing of when products should be released.
Products consist of specific module variants, so the product roadmap must be linked to the module roadmap to ensure that all required module variants will be released before the planned product release date.