A technology roadmap is a plan that matches short-term and long-term goals with specific solutions to help meet those goals. The plan applies to a new process, product or to new technology. Developing a technology roadmap has three main benefits. It helps in the identification of goals and technologies needed to attain those goals, provides a structure or guideline to help plan and coordinate technological developments and it provides a mechanism to help forecast technological developments. Here are three main phases of technology roadmapping.
This is the first phase in technology roadmapping. This phase consists of three steps: definition of the scope of the roadmap, satisfying essential conditions and provision of leadership. In this phase, decision makers should accept that there is a problem and technology roadmap can be used to solve the problem. The decision makers should set conditions that should be met. They should also specify the action that will be taken if those conditions are not met.
One of the team members should provide leadership or sponsorship. Sound leadership is essential a lot of effort is needed for the team to achieve set goals. The team should also define the extent of the roadmap. They should have a clear vision of what the company aims to achieve. They should set boundaries that will guide them in attaining their goals.
This is the phase that creates the actual roadmap. The phase consists of seven steps. These include: identifying the product that the roadmap will focus on, identifying the system requirements, specifying major technology areas, specifying technology drivers, identifying technology alternatives, recommending alternatives that should be pursued and coming up with a detailed roadmap report. Participants should identify the main product needs and areas that needs to be addressed. A scenario-based planning can be used to identify these needs if the participants are uncertain about them.
They should also identify the technology areas that they need to achieve the product needs. Different technologies can be applied in each technology area to attain the intended results. Technology drivers should be identified in this phase. These are the main issues that guide the participants in selecting the technology alternative. The timelines for each technology alternative should be set. Each alternative will take timing to mature depending on the set targets. In selecting the alternatives, participants should consider cost and timeline of each alternative.
At the end of the roadmap, the participants should come up with a report. The report should consist of five parts; main issues in the roadmap, description of all technology areas, technical recommendations, implementation recommendations and unaddressed areas. These areas can also be subdivided into other categories to make the report more detailed.
Follow-up activity phase
This is the phase where the roadmap is critiqued, validated and accepted by the implementation team. The team will look at all the report and critique areas that they think were not well addressed. If they are satisfied with the plan, they will implement it. The plan should be reviewed from time to time. This is because technology keeps on changing and there is a need to incorporate new ideas in the plan.