2018: Roadmapping meets Portfolio Management

Just before the start of the year, Bicore has moved into a new office overlooking Eindhoven Airport. This triggered a lot of debate about the name of our Portfolio Management solution, FLIGHTMAP, again. This name was selected because it illustrates that a plan is needed to guide an organization to its goals (strategic objectives), but also flexibility is needed during the Flightmap. The analytics to support the right decisions require complex models (e.g. weather models), but easy-to-interpret cockpits.


Linking Roadmaps and Portfolio Management

It has been part of the FLIGHTMAP vision all along that strong linkages exist between portfolio management and roadmapping (mainly used as a technology and product long-term planning technique). The roadmap view has a strong forward looking focus, and highlights timelines and dependencies. In this sense, it is complementary to other analysis views, such as budget, funnel, benefits, and balance charts. In a recent German Roadmap meeting in  Stuttgart (link), Prof. Robert Phaal from Cambridge University confirmed the power of integrated roadmapping, linking in portfolio management tools. He confirmed this will be a major next step in maturirity of portfolio management, during 2018 and beyond.

Essentially, the roadmap visualization is a view that shows the relevant project and product activity (lifecycles) as parallel horizontal bars, against a suitable time horizon (typically 2-5 years, to prevent short-termism). Major dependencies as well as trigger events are shown as annotations at the appropriate location in this view. The typical presentation has several swim lanes, including one for technology developments and one for product developments (see e.g. this view from Wikipedia). The process of building roadmaps jointly is seen as highly valuable for communication. However, the typical tool support (from sticky labels to drawing tools) that allow free format roadmapping also get in the way of turning them actionable and keeping them up-to-date.

New FLIGHTMAP functionality

In joint development with three of our leading customers, we have been working on the next generation of roadmapping in our FLIGHTMAP platform, so we will be ready to support integrated roadmapping in 2018.

In line with all inputs,  the three main use cases for roadmapping in the portfolio management process are:

  1. align research, development and technology planning (in terms of maturity and capability status and expected progress) with product and business case planning;
  2. analyse the impact of delays, speed ups, and risks in technology developments on the overall portfolio, and discuss robustness improvement;
  3. timing feasibility of addressing gaps in the portfolio, such as timeliness for new market entry, or for next generation products to replace end-of-life business.

Together with the proper color coding based on status and conflicts, the roadmap view of the underlying portfolio data will trigger the proper discussions. As always, the value of these techniques comes from supporting the right discussion and leading to better decisions.

The power of having a single source of truth for the roadmap data and the other portfolio management use cases has been nicely framed by one of our three lead user organizations: “the full line of sight from technology to business has enriched our portfolio management process more than any individual indicator or project detail, especially now wthat we can trust the underlying data to be consistent with project plans, budgets, and market intelligence”.

Let me know if you see these use cases as well, or if you have additional uses for roadmapping as a visualization technique.




2 thoughts on “2018: Roadmapping meets Portfolio Management

  1. I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on the application of this for industries who want to manage their digital transformation roadmaps vs the traditional product management application. I am a digital transformation program manager in the mining industry, and currently roadmaps are largely kept in power point, which in my mind is not ideal. Different views are also required e.g. seeing technology mapped out over the value chain (current and future tech).

    1. Hi Corne, although I am not an expert in the mining industry, I’d expect the roadmapping requirements to be similar to other industry’s digital transformation roadmaps. The need to visualize timing and dependencies in a flexible way with good analytical tool support might be similar. The special need we see for digital transformation is usually in the link to business value creation (via existing and new business models) is a unique strength of our FLIGHTMAP solution. If you like to have a look, let me know?

Please share your thoughts on this blog

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s