What’s the point of doing a roadmap? It doesn’t help get rid of uncertainty (although some people behave like it does). There’s no way to be certain about any future outcome.

The act of describing desired future states in a roadmap identifies where we want to play and have impact. It provides a frame of focus that helps us figure out what we need to pay attention to and how we can get better. Within that frame we can identify options; we can continuously make small bets about the future and respond rapidly based on measurement of the outcomes and impact. We’re saying “this is what we think will happen.” Then we watch what actually happens. We observe any deviations from our expectations, we take appropriate action and, as early as possible, we update the roadmap and new bets based on the new information.

Without a roadmap and unambiguous, quantified measurements we have no way of knowing if what we’re doing is truly adding value, we won’t know what to watch for or how to make sense of the things that happen – we’ll be much slower to respond.

A meaningful roadmap with unambiguous, quantified measurements should raise the signal-to-noise ratio of any feedback from customers and business stakeholders. It can improve our odds of success.

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