While you are doing projects whether for a company, startup or a hobby scope creep can lead to delaying projects or poor quality of a product. In the extreme cases the project or product could risk getting scrapped due to cost overruns or missing deadlines. One way that has helped Wyrm Engineering to reduce and prevent some scope creep is to develop a technology roadmap. Now a technology roadmap is more paperwork and yes it will add a delay to the development of a project, but this is important and there are several benefits carrying out a technology roadmap which are as follows:
- Stops or reduces unnecessary scope creep.
- Keeps you focused on the current task.
- Helps guide you in developing a new product.
Stops or reduces unnecessary scope creep.
During the development of a new product or project new ideas will always come into your head and you will want to add or investigate these new ideas. During the development of the 6P Claymore deployer there has been a multitude of ideas to improve the design where in some cases has delayed the development. This was stopped by writing down the improvements, new features and new products that would like to be added or developed as they can be reviewed after the minimum viable product is ready.
Keeps you focused on the current task.
Getting all the ideas out of your head and onto writing will help clear your head for the task at hand. You can review your ideas at a later date and scrap them if you realise they aren’t viable for your goals. The new ideas such as new features can be added in future iterations which is something that will happen to the Claymore deployer.
Helps guide you in developing a new product or minimum viable product MVP.
You have a few ideas for new products or projects you want to carry out well a roadmap could help you plan out these out in a way where your end goals aren’t such a massive step that could lead to you failing your goals. The roadmap can be used to create manageable steps with the projects broken into smaller ones. For example, you want to develop a satellite for Earth observation (EO) with little prior experience. Instead of jumping straight into an EO mission you could develop a satellite with the basic functions and launch that mission to prove the subsystems meet your needs. Then in the next iteration you can then take the lessons learned and improve the platform’s capabilities that would meet your EO mission. By breaking down the main goal into manageable steps the project will be less daunting, lessons can be learned quicker and you can have a higher chance of success. The roadmap can indicate gaps in your skills and knowledge that you will need to overcome before you begin with which can help reduce delays and expensive mistakes to be made later in the design process. You can create new projects that can equip you into achieving the main. You also lack funds to achieve your final task therefore you could aim for the minimum viable product which could be more achievable and help you generate income that can go towards the final project.
How to create a technology roadmap?
Goals and objectives
To start a technology roadmap, you must identify clear goals that you want to achieve in the next couple of years. Are these goals can be technological, organisational or a market you want to enter? Where are you currently against your end goals? Is it for next year? 5 years or in 10 years? What projects do you want to carry out, markets you want to enter or products you want to develop? These are things you need to consider when developing your goals.
Next you determine your needs to be able to meet these goals as this will form part of your strategy. Do you lack any capabilities (skills, technology, knowledge, funds)? What do you need to acquire? Do you have enough resources in terms of staff or know how to enter your market? How much funds do you need to raise to achieve any of these goals?
Next you should create a schedule for each steps or projects. One thing to consider is to make the scheduling realistic as trying to do too much too soon could lead to burn out but also meet your budgetary needs. You also want to try and avoid clashes that could create bottle necks. However you could use different projects to compliment each other where one of the deliverables of a prior project can help with delivering another. For example, you are developing a test rig for qualifying an ADCS system for a separate mission where the lessons learned can help you improve your knowledge in testing but can now be used to test out your EO mission.
Once you have completed your roadmap you should review it before you proceed with your projects but you should always remember to review it semi regularly to ensure you are on track to achieve your goals. Sometimes you will need to tweak, add or remove things because of things out of your control.