Tom Arnold on Roadmaps as Strategic Tools

Two posts from Tom Arnold …

The first suggests that roadmaps are better than plans, especially for agile ways of working.

  • Something for everyone – it is an artefact that traditionalists recognise enough as a ‘plan’ and agilists recognise as ‘not a gantt chart’.
  • Focuses on outcomes not deliverables –it promotes the right sort of strategic conversations within teams and with stakeholders.
  • Provides stability but evolves – it sets a clear, stable sense of direction but I find teams and stakeholders feel more comfortable discussing change resulting from iterative delivery and learning.
  • Promotes buy-in –good people will feel out of control and disengaged when deliverables are dictated up-front and/or from above. Self organising, multi-disciplinary teams love to own and be empowered to meet outcomes in creative ways.
  • More coherent – it allows you to knit all aspects of your programme together (e.g. software, infrastructure, ops, policy, security, estates, human resources, procurement) without freaking out any horses or doing up front requirements specs or giving false certainty.
  • Better performance metrics –outcome based planning allows programmes to more easily measure the evolution of a service through early stage delivery into full blown operation and iteration. Some metrics will be a constant throughout, others will only have relevance in later stages. This approach keeps you iterative and chasing incremental improvement. It also makes for joyful dashboards.
  • Better governance –roadmaps work well with time-boxed or target-based governance gates — you choose.

His second post goes on the suggest 7 questions to ask in building a roadmap:

  1. What are we trying to learn or prove?

  2. Who are the users?

  3. What are we operating?

  4. What are we saying?

  5. What are our assumptions?

  6. What are our dependencies?

  7. What capabilities do we need?

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