A roadmap is a strategic alignment of your business goals and your Salesforce Projects. More simply put, a roadmap is a guide that helps make sure you are doing the right things, at the right time, to help your organization be wildly successful. Now that may sound like I am overselling a roadmap, but I promise you having a well thought out plan will help you build consensus, create transparency across your organization, budget well, and build today with an understanding of what the future will bring.
So how do you build a roadmap? I think there are 5 steps to building a great one.
Step 1: Understand your organization’s Strategic Vision
First, get your dream team together. This should be a cross functional group of decision makers and those who have insight into your Salesforce org. Your first goal with this team is to achieve shared understanding of your goals, challenges, growth plans, and relative priorities. You want to discuss how these will impact each of your teams.
Step 2: Analyze Current State
Every map needs a starting point. Take some time and reflect on what you have accomplished in the last year, discuss current challenges and any current Work In Progress. It’s rare that you will start roadmap planning with everything complete and a clean slate. This is a great time to talk about challenges expressed by users. They can take many forms, such as bug tickets or water cooler conversations, but it’s important to know what your end users think is important. And finally, what are your current assets? What tools do you currently have? Are there things you have that you could be using better? Are there things you have that you don’t need anymore?
Step 3: Find the Gaps
So now you know where you are and you know where you want to go. It wouldn’t be a roadmap if there wasn’t distance to travel. It’s time to discuss the gaps. Here are some questions that will help you Mind The Gap. What are the barriers to achieving your goals? (Some common answers are Data Quality, User Adoption, and Lack of Tools). Where do you need greater efficiency? Where are the areas of innovation? Are there new concepts to implement, such as a new Salesforce feature?
Step 4: Explore Solutions
Now that you know where the gaps are it’s time to explore possible solutions. Now a very important warning: Roadmap planning is not the time to commit to a specific solution. It is very important to simply explore what’s possible so you can have an idea of effort before you prioritize. Platforms like Salesforce offer many, many ways to solve problems, such as Training, Apps from the AppExchange, Customizations, and Integrations to name a few.
Step 5: Prioritize and Create your Roadmap
Alright, now your walls are probably covered in sticky notes and you have a thousand ideas in your head. It’s time to put pen to paper and prioritize and document your roadmap. In the end, your roadmap should clearly lay out what’s most important, your timeframe for your roadmap, and the problems that need to be solved. As you are prioritizing, I encourage you to rank the first two to three items on your roadmap and leave the rest unranked. Things always change and it can do more harm than good to promise things far out into the future. Your documented roadmap can take many formats. A couple of my favorites are the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where, and why) and a 2 by 2 Matrix of impact vs investment.
While you are going through this process, what out for the gotchas:
Committing to specific timelines
Finding “solutions” before you understand the problem
The Influence Outside Factors
Incomplete Work In Progress
All that being said, there is a secret sixth step. Execute your roadmap! Having a roadmap is great, but using your roadmap regularly to line up your next project is even better. When you are ready to get started or want to review your roadmap with an expert, give us a call! We’d love to know what’s on the road in front of you.
Eliza Hammer, Engagement Success Manager