I know this is counter-intuitive, but NOW is the time think strategically – NOW is the time to build a set of capability roadmaps for your organization! This month’s global financial meltdown makes you want to shrink your planning horizon down to days and weeks, but that’s precisely when a long-term strategic roadmap has the greatest payback. You need to be able to distinguish between investments that create high-payoff, multiple-use capabilities and those that are single-use or dead-ends. Belt-tightening is on the way, so get ahead of the cuts by identifying the capabilities that are central to your future.
Roadmaps are an excellent tool for prioritization of a project portfolio. If you want to reduce the politics inherent in project triage, explicitly model every project in terms of its contributions to your organization’s capability, solution and market roadmaps. Projects with a rich fan-out of links to downstream solutions, missions and markets should make the cut; the rest are expendable.
As I’ve discussed in many other posts, roadmaps are really just a visualization of decisions “put to time”. I use the following decision pattern as the framework for defining a set of capability roadmaps.
Each capability is defined by a hierarchy of capability design decisions. The decisions are the fundamental questions/issues that demand an answer/solution. Each capability may evolve through a series of states (aka alternatives). It’s always important to “time-align” the alternatives for these capability design decisions, but especially important when you’re forced to cut back on your investments. Without a roadmap that fully illustrates the dependencies among all these decisions (the moving parts), it’s easy to overlook the real impact of a specific delay or cutback on the overall capability.
Roadmaps are useful for intra-capability dependencies, but even more for modeling the inter-capability dependencies that make up a larger system of systems.
The Decision Driven® Solutions Framework (DDSF) web service supports a proven set of decision patterns (a Decision Breakdown Structure) integrated with a roadmapping toolset. Armed with this head-start, you can quickly build a set of strategic roadmaps that can help you navigate these difficult times. Or I’d be glad to help with a strategic roadmapping jump-start service. It typically only takes a few days to capture your strategic decision and roadmap baseline and begin to use it for prioritizing your project investments.