Roadmapping

'Roadmapping' is an interesting and flexible class of method (management tool) for supporting strategy and innovation, with application beyond the high tech sectors where it originated, including business, corporate and national initiatives. Its use has been demonstrated to correlate with business performance in the context of product innovation:

"About twice as many best performers (38%) use product roadmaps than do worst performers (19%)" - Cooper & Edgett (2009)

As a structured visual framework, roadmapping supports communication and alignment, providing a scaleable platform for developing coherent strategic management toolkits. Roadmapping is a flexible approach in terms of purpose and format, underpinned by a simple generic conceptual framework defined by six fundamental strategic questions highlighted in red in the figures below.

Cambridge roadmapping research and practice has focused on understanding the generic roadmapping framework through empirical investigation, its function as an integrating hub for strategy, process and toolkits, and how to configure it for general application to strategy and innovation in a lean / agile manner.

See News & info for more on roadmapping research, resources and templates.

Workshop deployment of roadmapping and related strategic tools enables sharing and capture of expert knowledge, as a basis for discussion, analysis, prioritisation and synthesis:

Roadmapping supports structured visual narrative in workshops and beyond - here are two published examples of retrospective roadmaps, and a workshop template:

Download workshop templates here

Captured at the end of a large training workshop... the sound of 1,000 post-it notes being unstuck:

There are many software systems that can support roadmapping - an internet search will reveal multiple options. However, software is not the focus of this website, as the soundtrack above demonstrates - here the emphasis is on the human aspects of the roadmapping process. How to balance and blend human and digital in such processes is an interesting question. It's clear there is a spectrum of options, with successful deployments observed at both extremes, and in between, and that digital technologies and applications continue to develop rapidly. 

If you have any queries regarding research, training, collaboration or other support please contact me at rob.phaal@eng.cam.ac.uk.

Rob Phaal