Key Features of an Effective Strategy Roadmap Method
By Jibility co-founder Chuen Seet
There are lots of methods and books on how to create a strategy and how to create a plan, but very few of these describe how to create the bridge between them, i.e. a strategy roadmap. Building this particular roadmap is tough.
One proven technique for formulating and substantiating an effective strategy roadmap is capability-based planning, which is supported by highly-regarded organizations such as Open Group TOGAF® and the Business Architecture Guild BIZBOK® Guide. But the technique isn’t everything. Your approach as a whole needs to be carefully thought-out.
We’ve found that the best method tends to have four key features, so if your approach to building a strategy roadmap has all of these, then you’re well on your way to setting yourself up for success.
Keep it simple
The easier the method is for both the practitioner and those whose input is required, the better. A complex method is (usually) too hard to follow and unnecessarily complicates the strategy roadmap development process. A simple method should enable you to focus less time on the process and more time on the content of your strategy roadmap.
If you have to read a 300-page document or obtain a certification in order to be proficient in the method, then it’s not simple.
Start with ‘why’
You must clearly articulate the problem or opportunity that the strategy roadmap is solving. Simon Sinek wrote a great book called Start with Why, which discusses this principle in detail. When creating a strategy roadmap, we must be able to answer ‘why?’ accurately and succinctly before proceeding to develop the roadmap.
For example: ‘Why is the organization heading in that direction?’; or ‘Why are these changes required?’
Substantiate the ‘what’
A sound method justifies or validates what changes need to be implemented. Creating a to-do list is relatively easy, but a logical strategy roadmap must clearly identify what needs to change and why in order to substantiate it. It’s the substantiated changes that should be the basis for formulating the to-do list.
For example, a customer support capability could be what needs to change; the reason why could be that customer retention has been dropping due to poor customer experience.
Link the ‘why’ and the ‘what’
A clear strategy roadmap demonstrates linkages between the what and the why. For example, an action (i.e. the what) such as ‘replace three disparate CRMs with a single centralised CRM’ may link to a why such as ‘reduce support and maintenance cost due to disparate platforms’ and ‘need for a single source of truth for customer information’.
Full traceability from why to what means that it’s easy to update the strategy roadmap when things change – because they inevitably do. A strategy roadmap could be outdated the moment it is published, so it should be easy to apply changes; and if everything is linked, then it’s easier to see the impact of the change and to make the necessary adjustments.
Putting the Method into Practice
The six-step method that shapes our strategy roadmap tool Jibility has of course been developed with the above features in mind.
As the app guides you through the steps, it helps you ensure that your decisions and priorities remain aligned with your strategic goals.
Most importantly, it’s simple to use.