In a previous article, we talked about getting system users excited about the potential of system features and functions they may not be using today. You can read more about that in the article here.

 

We now want to address what to do when you get all this enthusiasm behind your system journey.

 

If done correctly, your team has likely identified various features and functions that they'd like implemented so they can become more effective and efficient in their day-to-day work.

 

Great news! But now, the pressure is on you as the system administrator/owner to get these items in play.

 

How do you keep everyone happy and get the right features rolled out to the right people at the right time? Fret not; we've got some ideas.

 

Build a Roadmap

A roadmap is the framework of an organization and reference of the path forward while getting the features in place. But it's not as simple as just tossing items on the list at various intervals.

 

A practical roadmap is rooted in organizational strategy and focuses on implementing the features that support the company in achieving its objectives.

 

The following is a rough outline to consider when contemplating developing a roadmap.


Step One - Document It

Get all of the features and functions down on "paper." Perhaps it's a spreadsheet that identifies various aspects of information such as:

• The feature identified

• Where the idea came from

• The date it was added

• An estimate of the time it will take to deploy

• The people/department(s) it will impact

• The way it will impact the department

 

You can come up with whatever works best for your planning, but the goal is to get down all the points and details. It will help you with the next step.

 

Prioritize

Next, prioritize the list. Ask yourself questions such as:

• Which features are the most impactful to the organization?

• Which features will fix items that are currently not working?

• Is there an organizational objective or goal that a feature (or set of features) would vastly improve?

• Are there any prerequisites to other items?

• Do any items require phases of work to get rolled out?

• Do any items require the support of a partner or third party?

 

Taking time to understand all that's involved and each item's impact will help you prioritize the things that will benefit the company.

 

Map It

Next, take a hard look at the effort involved and your schedule. Realistically plan the work so that you can hit deadlines and milestones. 

 

Resist the urge to bite off more than you can chew. It isn't easy to do, so take your time planning it out. Group items together in phases (or 'sprints').

 

Be clear about what deliverables will come out of each sprint and who will be involved in each.

 

Share It

Allowing others to see what the roadmap entails will serve a dual purpose. Users understand what is happening and when while holding you accountable for the items you've said will be implemented.

 

Find Your Champions

Identify who can help you through the implementation journey. It's crucial to understand who will be involved in detailed requirement gathering and testing.

 

Keep them informed on your progress and give them access to the build (when appropriate), so you can get their feedback and engagement. 

 

You're building your feature champions here, so the more you can engage and motivate them about the work, the more excited they're likely to get.

 

Action It!

Now that you've put a framework around the plan, it's time to dig in. Make sure you have a development environment to work in.

 

Did you know that you can have multiple environments so long as you have enough storage space?

 

Having a dedicated "dev" environment gives you a place to experiment, trial and error, and find the proper structure that will work for your team. 

 

Once you get it to the right place, move the solution over to your sandbox so your team can dig into it and start to get used to it.

 

You most likely have a standard operating procedure for this kind of work, so leverage that. Don't have one? Now is a great time to put one together!

 

This guide should give you some detail on how to get started with a system roadmap. At C5 Insight, we've got years of experience creating and executing this type of thing—we'd be thrilled to talk with you about how we can support your path to greatness. Reach out today!