Think of solution roadmapping like having a personal trainer. Many people go to the gym for months without any real results; however, they will likely see better, faster progress if they work with a personal trainer. The structure, the plan, and the accountability are key components that make all of the difference.
Similarly, you may know where you could start with software—just like knowing that you should go to the gym or workout—but that doesn’t guarantee results.
With solution roadmapping, software experts work to thoroughly understand why a business wants custom software, what approach and timeline will best suit their needs, and provide options for exactly how to maximize success. Read on as we explore what solution roadmapping is and the benefits it provides to businesses.
What is Solution Roadmapping?
At a high level, solution roadmapping is an analysis and planning process that helps businesses deeply understand what they want to achieve with custom software, ensuring that the solutions they choose truly support their goals, values, timeline, and budget.
Within this process, a senior Business Analyst (BA) and Architect partner to ask a series of targeted questions of our customers. These questions are drawn from decades of experience in business and custom software development. They take customers on a brief but crucial journey of discovery that ends in recommending options for moving forward to produce real value, quickly and efficiently.
Key areas that we cover include:
- Understanding the values and vision of the business beyond the scope of custom software development, because all the company’s technology exists to support the business’ values and vision.
- Defining what the customer is trying to achieve and what problems the customer is trying to solve with custom software.
- Discovering high-level opportunities to solve the problem or achieve the goal in various ways, in light of the company’s values and vision.
- Determining and prioritizing the features of custom software required to support these opportunities and outlining the minimum requirements for significant ROI.
- Depicting values, needs, and requirements in pictures called wireframes, which communicate much more effectively than just words.
- Presenting options to allow business leaders to make the best possible decisions.
- Recommending a solution based on Prominent’s experience and expertise, including a roadmap for the time and cost required to achieve that solution.
Overall, the goal of solution roadmapping is to empower clients to make a deeply educated decision that suits them best by understanding key objectives and providing a plan for what it takes to support them.
The Key Benefits of Roadmapping in Software Development
Building solution roadmaps carries with it more benefits than you would expect. The following sections highlight a few of these benefits.
Gain Clarity on ROI
Other software companies jump into work by simply looking at what you want to get done and working on the necessary tasks to reach completion. At Prominent, we do a thorough evaluation of your business’ workflow to find the nuances, holes, and roadblocks. As a result of this evaluation, we can provide options that help you make educated decisions about what is best for your business.
This way, with a very modest investment, you can see what the options are and what you can achieve before committing to a huge investment. The cost, ROI, and value are all clearly outlined so you can choose the best path for your business before you’re halfway through a project and have invested heavily in it.
As a business leader, you are buying clarity on why you would go down this path, what you should work on, how long it will take, and what it will cost. Ultimately, our goal is to inject clarity and predictability from the very beginning of the software development process.
Understanding Your Organization’s Workflow With Better Accuracy
To create an accurate solution roadmap, it is imperative to deeply understand how your business is currently organized and functioning. This initiative usually involves multiple leaders from your business collectively sharing their understandings from the parts of the business with which they have the most experience. From this, the current state of your organization becomes more clear.
This clarity aids in the process of solution roadmapping by being able to predict problems before they appear. This will then inspire even more valuable decisions in the future for your team.
Finding New Opportunities in Unknown Problems
Technology experts can help you solve problems, even before you realize they exist. By understanding your processes and business, solution roadmapping can help you discover flaws in what your business had originally planned. By identifying these problems early on, new opportunities can be uncovered.
This knowledge of how your organization is working today provides insight into future opportunities you couldn’t see before. When viewing the solution roadmap, natural questions arise, such as, “What happens if we remove this step?”, or “Why is this part of the process at all?”. New insights become clear such as, “If we remove the bottleneck here, production will be higher.”
You will feel confident that you are making the right decisions because the information you have is well researched, tested, and clearly stated.
Empower Leaders by Presenting Options
Solution roadmapping is for the leader who wants options. When solution options are presented with their respective cost, timeline, and other vital details, making big decisions about which solution to implement is that much easier.
Our analysis brings a variety of types of options to the surface. These options can include helping customers decide whether or not to have us develop a custom solution, what shape that solution will take, or even to take another route entirely. Ultimately, we want to empower our clients to do what is best for their business by giving them choices.
We believe that these options are important so that you understand the value of what you are getting in both the short and long-term future, based on your organization’s goals.
Implementing the Solution
The clarity that solution roadmapping provides is invaluable, but so is the actual implementation of the solution.
There are two keys to implementing the most effective solutions for your organization:
- hone in on a targeted goal
- find experienced partners
By identifying a clear goal you want to achieve, you will ensure your time and money were spent purposefully, allowing you to easily see (and measure) the benefits of the solution. Additionally, partnering with experts allows you to draw from their experience, empowering your project to reach its greatest potential.
Solution roadmapping, the process of discovering solutions and scheduling their implementation for your organization, is a highly valuable strategy. Most importantly, it gives you several different courses of action, with reason, purpose, and expertise behind them.
When done well, solution roadmapping provides greater insight into how your organization is running, exposes potential problems, and unlocks key opportunities, even ones you may not have known were there.
Before your organization makes its next large investment into any project, consider partnering with experts in solution roadmapping to ensure you capitalize on the success of your project and your business as a whole.