The soufflé isn’t the soufflé, the soufflé is the recipe

The roadmap isn’t the roadmap. The roadmap is the thinking behind the roadmap.

The artifact that we call ‘the roadmap’ has limited value. It can serve as a confidence-building and communication tool within organisations that recognise the usefulness of a roadmap, but in those that don’t it isn’t worth the PowerPoint it’s pasted into.

The thinking that creates the roadmap, however, that’s very valuable.

Lots of roadmaps don’t contain much thinking. They contain a diagram with boxes that aim to show a relationship between items, but not much rationale for those relationships. These roadmaps are best avoided.

The best roadmaps are those that encapsulate lots of thinking from lots of people.

The thinking is cross-functional, robustly rational, systemised and repeatable, asks and answers specific, relevant questions and format independent.

So, if you want to create good roadmaps, focus on the thinking. Get the system of thinking right, and a good roadmap will follow.