What is a Technology Roadmap? (Explanation + Examples)

By Matt Mazur · Last updated March 3, 2022

Technology roadmaps allow organizations to visually plan out the evolution of their technological assets in addition to how those assets will grow their company.

Why Use a Technology Roadmap?

Most organizations use technology roadmaps as a tool to plan out the use and distribution of the company's technology, while other organizations use them to brainstorm how their technology will aid the company's own research and development.

Developing a technology roadmap is an essential exercise for stakeholders and project managers that are dependent upon technology for the success of their company.

However, these roadmaps are not just for product managers. Many teams – from development to tech administrators – can benefit from implementing technology roadmaps into their business practices.

A technology roadmap should be a flexible document that can be adjusted to fit different business scenarios.

Types of Technology Roadmaps

Below we dive into the three main types of technology roadmaps and how they can be applied to your business:

IT Roadmap

IT roadmaps are the most prevalent form of technology roadmaps. IT roadmaps are similar to internal IT system roadmaps, as both types explain how an organization plans on assembling and maintaining internal technology solutions.

Some examples of what IT roadmaps are used to accomplish include:

  • Moving different software systems
  • Releasing new software updates

Technology roadmaps can also exist in a more general scope that focuses on the creation of an entirely new technology.

With this form of a roadmap, you are combining business strategies with IT strategies and communicating how these two elements align with your organization.

Your IT roadmap should aim to answer the following questions:

  • What are the time frames for your IT initiative releases?
  • How will these IT initiatives help achieve business goals?
  • How will the organization grow as a whole through these IT initiatives

Your organization's technology leaders will be the ones to apply an IT roadmap to company practices.

These leaders include:

  • Chief Technology Officers
  • Chief Information Officers
  • IT Managers

An IT roadmap will help align company members on technology initiatives and company goals. Additional benefits of using IT roadmaps within an organization include:

  • Lower IT budgets through planning ahead
  • Less likelihood of IT incited incidents within the company due to planning

IT Roadmap Example

Many members of your organization will be viewing this document. A common question that IT roadmaps present during their progress revolve around the status of specific initiatives.

"Where is this project currently?" and "when will this project be completed?" are typical examples.

If members of your organization are wondering when a project will be finished, show them your roadmap – it will give them a bird’s eye view of deadlines and expectations.

This type of roadmap will show them how the company’s expectations will be met over the next weeks, months, and years.

IT roadmaps are about communicating how IT initiatives fulfill business goals instead of listing who owns what IT projects.

Significant milestones should be shown on your IT roadmap to help reflect progress and get stakeholders working toward the same timeline.

Application Roadmap

Applications play an essential role in the modern-day business workflow. Application roadmaps serve to visualize the plethora of apps that an organization uses so a company can make smarter decisions on what apps to prioritize in their application portfolio.

If you're looking to grow your business, choosing the right web applications to help achieve maximum workflow will do just that.

Application roadmaps allow companies to:

  • Highlight which apps are being used
  • Assign individuals to these applications
  • Determine how their applications are helping different areas of the business

App roadmaps are typically created by tech administrators, as they have pre-existing knowledge of their company's application portfolio.

Development Roadmap

Development roadmaps communicate the essential goals of a company's dev team.

This variety of roadmap can communicate these goals by highlighting technology initiatives, epics, and features that exist in the company's engineering pipeline.

While this form of a roadmap is more detail-oriented than the previous two examples, it still serves to provide an overview. The roadmap will allow development team members to share what precisely they're working toward.

Engineering leaders who are managing development teams and reporting on the status of the company's development pipeline will use this roadmap.

These leaders have the knowledge to speak on potential trade-offs to be considered if the roadmap is adjusted.

Development Roadmap Example

Development roadmaps revolve around workflow. Since many tech companies use agile planning to mitigate workflow, you can work your roadmap into "sprints."

Sort your features and projects into which sprint they'll be under — sorting features and projects in this manner will pave the way for more transparent communication on what development goals will be achieved, and when.

You can also structure a swimlane development roadmap to show when certain features and projects are ready for development.

A timeline view of a development roadmap allows you to showcase the "when" element as time will become more of a factor when an organization expands. Remember that your timeline is simply a statement of intent that will most likely change over time.