With technological advancements and the need to make spontaneous changes, business organizations have now adopted the agile methodology. Undoubtedly, the onset of the global pandemic has led to a decline in business productivity and sales. However, 93% of companies that adopted the agile framework survived better than those that didn’t.
As per the KPMG Global Agile Survey of 2019, more than 68% of business organizations claim that one of the fundamental factors that led to the adoption of the agile framework is fast product delivery. However, to enhance productivity, startups are now switching to the usage of agile roadmaps.
What Is Agile Roadmapping?
In essence, a roadmap is actually an actionable plan that defines a product’s evolution over time. In the case of agile roadmaps, the most prominent features include adjustments that can lead to changing estimates (if needed) and short timelines. Moreover, it also allows constant software testing and enables the team to have a vision that extends beyond the existing project.
While the agile roadmaps are primarily designed to have an idea of the product strategy, they are also equipped to handle changes. For instance, change in value propositions or development in the competitive space is solvable with agile roadmapping. Moreover, with an agile roadmap, startups can now make well-informed decisions while prioritizing the phases of the project accordingly.
Steps To Building An Agile Roadmap
The agile framework appeals to business organizations due to its iterative and flexible approach. Here, one can deliver quick results while allowing space for changes constantly. With valuable client feedback and integration, companies can now develop better products. However, building an effective agile roadmap is of paramount importance.
There are various steps that one must follow to develop an agile roadmap starting from:
Step 1: Opt For An Efficient Strategy
The foremost step to creating an effective agile roadmap is to opt for a reliable strategy. Keep in mind that this strategy must align with the objective and vision of the product. Here, strategic roadmapping defines exactly what you want the product to be within the next quarter in a given set of metrics. When it comes to vision, it must be clear that you are solving a particular problem using optimum strategies.
Step 2: Recognize Strategic Themes
The strategic themes, also known as initiatives, help in attaining the goals of the project. These are further divided into user stories and features. When you define the strategic initiative, a detailed explanation of the work is essential to getting the pre-set goals. Moreover, it is also a great way to communicate the strategy roadmap to the stakeholders. With this, you can simply say the broader aspects and not delve into the smallest detail.
Step 3: Maintain Cross-functionality
The next step is to ensure that the agile roadmap is perfect for cross-functionality. In most cases, smooth communication between companies and customers is a must to develop the desired product. Moreover, a reliable collaboration of the development and business sections is also vital.
Building an agile roadmap definitely requires input from other departments, even with those that work traditionally without the agile framework. In order to create the best agile roadmap, data from all departments are crucial.
Step 4: Match the roadmap with the product vision.
The crucial aspects of an agile roadmap – objectives, visions, and initiatives offer individuals in charge valuable information on what to prioritize the most. They can now break down the large themes into features. After that, the development team can further divide it into estimated scope, technical needs, etc. This leads to a backlog that consists of user stories and features that tie with the product strategy with ease. Making sure that the product visions remain aligned with the roadmap is crucial for creating desired products.
Step 5: Develop A Timeline
In this step, you need to set up the timeless roadmap. Here, it is advisable not to use specific dates. Instead, you can use millstones or sprints. Mapping out sprints and the goal of the team for each one of them is of paramount importance.
Moreover, you must include the estimates to maintain the organization factor. It is also vital to remember that when roadmaps change, you must update the metrics too.
Step 6: Deliver Customer Experiences
Delivering agile releases to the customer can offer a new experience. Moreover, you must ensure to optimize the experience as much as possible. Keep in mind that the release is a reflection of various milestones.
Furthermore, it also shares visibility with different agile teams. In an agile roadmap, release communicates what can be expected and when to the customers.
Step 7: Obtain Customer Feedback.
After the release, the next step is to collect customer feedback. For efficient product delivery, customer happiness is vital. It is possible to gauge their satisfaction with the aid of various tools.
For instance, you can collect experience interviews of users, testing data, and more. After the collection of the ideas, one has to assess and prioritize them into the next phase.
Step 8: Review Roadmap
The best way to measure the progress on the agile roadmap is to review it. This can be done monthly or quarterly, depending on the needs of the business organization. In most cases, the roadmaps may change, taking into account the input of the stakeholders and customers. Thus, there is a need to change the short-term strategies in order to meet the long-term objective.
Though there are various challenges associated with agile roadmapping, the advantages are undeniable. That is the main reason why startups are quickly switching to agile strategic roadmapping.
However, in order to avoid the inherent risks, it is vital to ensure focuses on the roadmap are even. There must be a clear distinction between short-term strategies and long-term objectives. One of the best ways to stay on top of it is to have a quarterly review of the roadmap. If different agile teams share one roadmap, there is a need to assess, adapt, and ensure smooth communication for making necessary changes.
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