Leveraging Roadmaps to Link Business and Technology

Enterprise Architects have used roadmaps as a standard model to describe the transition from the current state architecture to the future state architecture.   Many of my fellow enterprise architects have described the many different ways to create a roadmap and to show how they link to an organization’s strategic goals.  Nick Malik (@nickmalik) wrote several articles on roadmaps if you want to get an overview:

Gene Leganza (@gleganza) asked this question on Twitter recently:

Do you find #entarch roadmaps uniquely valuable or are they just another tool in the toolbox? Discussion at http://ow.ly/fHPDg

Several people (@chrisdpotts, @davidwlocke, and me @leodesousa) all replied with some comments.   My response was:

@gleganza #entarch roadmaps provide us with a tangible place to discuss investment decision and to articulate change that supports our univ.

Gene followed up with a blog post to better illustrate his question, Roadmaps are more powerful when linked to business outcomes:

@chrisdpotts @leodesousa @DavidWLocke OK I wrote up a quick blog post to show a graphic for the kind of map I mean– http://ow.ly/fINd9

Looking at the roadmap diagram Gene posted, we can see a standard arrangement of Strategy and Business at the top and IT and technology on the bottom.  I do like that Gene included People-Process-Organizational Structures.   This architecture area appears at the bottom of the roadmap diagram.   In some ways, this is a great location as everything our organizations rely on people.  The last key component of the roadmap is that it reflects changes over time – a 3 year period.

Enterprise Architects can use this model to provide key stakeholders and executives with a picture of the planned work, how it links to business outcomes and what would need to change if new initiatives were introduced.  I would like to see how we can drive these kind of diagrams from data.  I am particularly interested in analyzing the risks in the project portfolios in the roadmap.  I would also like to be able to link budgets to the roadmap.   I know there are many high end EA modeling tools that can do some of this but with our limited higher education budgets, they are out of reach.  I would be happy to hear any suggestions … open source tools perhaps?

In a subsequent post, I will describe a type of roadmap we use for a specfic project/initiative.