Software Management

Engineering Roadmap is not just Technical Debt

If your roadmap is all reactive, you will always be putting out fires

Photo by ben ali on Unsplash

What is an Engineering Roadmap?

Simply put, an Engineering Roadmap is a prioritized list of projects, initiatives, objectively identifiable deliverables to address organizational needs identified by the engineering team or department.

From Reactive to Proactive

Photo by Kaspars Eglitis on Unsplash
  • Update technologies (like programming languages or versions), frameworks and libraries, platform updates, etc. These things not only improve the performance of the system but also reduce security threats, improve development productivity, staff satisfaction (leading to less turnover), etc.
  • Infrastructure updates. I’m not talking about that old infrastructure that should have been replaced already. This is technical debt (which I’m listing down below). I’m talking about considering how your user base has been increasing and allocating more resources BEFORE you have a problem. I’m talking about that new service that you know you will need before going live with a feature planned 6 months from now, so you have the proper time to try different vendors, integrate to existing services, etc., without delays or increased costs.
  • Architectural changes lead to an increase in quality and productivity and improve the support for new features. These changes are often larger items that won’t fit within a product-driven initiative and will cost the business. This cost will be in terms of delayed time-to-market or a heavy increase in technical debt leading to productivity and quality losses, with the possible loss of customers driven by lower satisfaction rates.
  • Technical debt. I’m not talking about the technical debt payment that should be included in the product-driven initiatives (click on the link to know more). I’m talking about larger groups of technical debt under a current theme in a particular component or area, as well as larger technical debt that would have an unacceptable impact on these product-driven initiatives.
    If you are thinking about things like test automation gaps, processes optimization, addressing some outdated piece of technology, these are all technical debt. If you think otherwise or would like to expand your perception and capacity to identify technical debt, look no further:

If you know what lies ahead, you can plan to be proactive. It will improve your results, reduce costs, increase overall satisfaction, and mitigate or eliminate unnecessary risks.




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Peter P. Lupo

Many management blogs focus on soft skills. This blog is about hard skills! Measurement, indicators, approaches, etc., for Software Engineering Management.