Monday, August 3, 2015

Roadmapping Is Just as Important as Roadmaps

"Roadmapping is just as important as roadmaps."

That's a paraphrased quote from a facilitator my association hired to help us develop a manufacturing roadmap for the technology our industry makes. There's been a lot of advances in manufacturing technologies in the past few years (anyone ever heard of 3D printing or additive manufacturing? for example) and my association is looking for ways to help our members adopt those new technologies to improve the manufacture of their products and, in turn, deliver more competitive products to the marketplace. Figuring out what to do and how to do it is what we need a roadmap for.

But a lot of that is beside the point of this post. What I really want to focus on is one of the opening comments that our facilitator made--that the roadmapping is just as important as the roadmap itself.

What's the roadmap? The roadmap is the plan. It is the final document that will spell out all the ways our association will help our members compete in the space we've defined. In another context, it's the strategic plan, the marketing objectives, the annual conference schedule. It's the thing we're all working together to create.

And what's the roadmapping? The roadmapping is the process we're using to get there. It's the way we bring multiple stakeholders together to discuss and identify what's important and what we're going to work together to achieve and what we're not. In another context is the strategic planning retreat, the marketing staff meeting, the annual conference planning session.

And you know what? Our facilitator is right. In any of these contexts, the roadmapping--the bringing people together--is just as important as the roadmap--the decision about what to do next.

In fact, the bringing people together may be MORE important that the decision of what to do next. After all, you can't have a roadmap without the roadmapping.

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This post was written by Eric Lanke, an association executive, blogger and author. For more information, visit, follow him on Twitter @ericlanke or contact him at

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