We often get asked by customers: “What is the difference between a technology roadmap and a product roadmap?”
I have decided to finally shed some light on this topic.
Technology Roadmap: Definition and Application
According to Wikipedia, a technology roadmap is “a plan, that applies to a new product or process that matches short-term and long-term goals with specific technology solutions to help meet those goals.” Technology enable organizations to plan out and determine which technology solutions they will need to accomplish a specific set or organizational goals.
Translation: Technology roadmaps are used to track the development of technology products.
Some questions that may arise during the planning of your technology roadmap:
– We have several alternatives, which one do we move forward with?
– How do I coordinate the development of multiple technologies?
– What is the timeline for completion? For building out each stage?
Technology roadmaps will serve as a structure for answering these, and other process related questions. Technology roadmaps provide critical information that enable organizations to make better and more accurate technological investments. Technology roadmaps can also provide several other business benefits: Acting as strategic guide for product managers and engineers as well as helping in the retention of key customers, business and channel partners. Technology roadmaps provide critical information that enable organizations to make better and more accurate technological investments.
Today the use of technology roadmaps has become ubiquitous. As stated by Ross Brindle of the Nexight Group, “…technology roadmapping is applied to internal corporate R&D initiatives; discipline-specific R&D activities cutting across several organizations; and industry-wide R&D collaboration at the regional, national, and global levels.”
Product Roadmaps: Definition and Application
A product roadmap is a tool that provides a strategic guidance to team members, business partners and customers. Just as a map of a city helps you reach your destination, product roadmaps provide organizations with a plan to shape and define their product’s vision (a technology roadmap is therefore technically also a product roadmap.)
There are many benefits associated with proper product roadmap planning. A product roadmap helps organizations make the right strategic product decisions regarding direction and determining requisite changes to the plan. This includes making decisions regarding when plans should change and determining the impact potential changes might have on a particular product or service. It also serves as a collaborative tool for communicating corporate strategies and goals with all stakeholders, inside and outside the organization. It helps ensure everyone works together to achieve desired results.
Ok, now it’s your turn. What do you believe to be the main differences between technology roadmaps and product roadmaps?