Notes towards the creation of a Programme Road Map
Prof. Austin Tate
Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute
University of Edinburgh
5 May 1992 - Revised 16 Nov 1993
A Programme Road Map provides a coordinated picture of the various parts of an
overall development programme such that the diverse and dispersed
efforts can be seen as part of the whole and can be justified as such.
Monitoring of progress against the overall objectives is possible.
The Road Map provides:
The Road Map allows:
- a global timetable of expected capabilities and results in terms
of the overall aims and benefits, the technology capabilities and the support
requirements. Strategic objectives can be linked to tactical objectives
and operational tasks.
- a specification of the relationship between individual efforts
in the overall programme and the roles that each effort is expected to have
in achieving the overall aims.
a framework for coordinating the activity within the programme, allowing
the measurement of overall progress.
Suitable displays and overlays are designed to support individual
- individual projects to be defined and justified in terms of their
contribution to the overall aims.
- effective communication of the work and progress on the
programme to the participants and observers.
- management aids for those involved in carrying out the programme
and measuring its progress.
- more effective communication between users, scientists, technicians,
managers and directors involved in the various aspects of the programme.
- sensible decisions
to be taken on the opportunities for further exploiting the results
of the programme.
- the identification of gaps that need to be filled.
The Road Map is a living document regularly updated at Programme
Reviews which serves as a framework for the monitoring of the programme. The
document reflects the current state of the interrelationships between work in
progress and proposed for the future and the overall milestones and aims of
Management of the Road Map
The Road Map is owned by the overall Programme Manager and
may be changed by the Programme Review Board. Individual project
relationships within the programme may be changed via this route.
This section should be developed further to ensure it is
appropriate to the specific programme.
Road Map Facets, Threads and Ties
The Road Map is split into a number of Facets which collect
together major types of work within the programme. Facets appear as
vertical bands in the road map itself. The particular facets required
on a road map will depend on the purpose to which it will be put.
However, as an aid, a technology road map (small
diagram 6K, larger
easier to read diagram 30K) in use in AIAI has the following facets and
Application Areas Specific application sectors
Technology Integration Experiments
Enabling R&D Concepts
Skill Development Methods
Within each facet there could be a number of Threads which are used to
relate programme elements together in a communicable way. Threads may carry
on for the whole programme duration if they are sufficiently important and it
is suggested that strong threads are identified which do carry on in this way.
However, threads could also be for a more limited duration during a specific
phase of the programme. Threads can be a good mechanism to keep particular
technical or organisational themes running through the programme. Threads
appear as horizontal lines within a facet and will have annotations at the
appropriate date for major programme elements that relate to the thread.
Sub-threads can be shown on the road map to indicate multiple
concurrent activities in a thread. They will normally have a limited time
duration. They are shown on the road map
as horizontal lines spurred off the relevant thread line.
Ties are used to show major connections between programme
elements. They are shown on the road map as vertical or rightwards
pointing diagonal lines showing the supporting relationship between the
elements. Ties are one major way in which justifications, proposals and
business cases for lower level activities can be better presented in
trems of higher level objectives.
Form and Level of Presentation of the Road Map
The road map is not an alternative to individual project plans and
more detailed management aids to control the programme. It is
a high level overall coordination and communication aid. As such, do
not expect to show all relevant ties, and be prepared to make
special versions of the programme road map for specific audiences or
showing relevant facets, threads, sub-threads and ties for a specific
Difference between Application Insertion Projects and Lead
The road map is based on the idea that a lead application is selected
for business justified reasons, but that the site and application is
also chosen to allow for then objectives of the programme to be carried
out. This will almost certainly mean that additional effort to ensure
effective technology transfer to later replications will be built into
the budget, and that the site is willing to be a guinea pig.
There is an assumption that the first lead application (and perhaps even the
second, where the preferred technology transfer method related to the
application type may still be under development or trial) will differ from the
regular rolling out of the application or even making it more robust and
enhancing the system for its proper introduction at the first site. It is at
the Application Insertion Project stage that normal business cost
justifications must be made before going ahead. Other factors are taken into
account in choosing a lead site application. However, it is a bonus if even
the first lead site is itself cost-justifiable on business grounds, and the
inevitable additional risk for the lead site application is acceptable.
Experience suggests that the successful identification of lead applications
with appropriate time scales could be a key factor in outlining
a good programme. The road map can then be built by carefully
relating these lead applications upwards to business objectives
and strategy, and downwards to technical capabilities.
Initial Draft of Road Map
A first version of the Road Map for a programme is an
initial attempt to set up a number of Facets which will be helpful for
the programme. Within each facet there could be a number of
Threads which are used to relate programme elements together in a
To make a start, I have suggested that these facets (numbered items) and
threads (sub-items) be:
- strategic programme objectives
- more effective capture and use of business knowledge
- more effective transition of research and developments through to
- Improve research process
- technology transfer
- awareness of business opportunities
- skill building
- application replication
- post application technology support
- lead application prototypes/trials
- the threads could relate the chosen projects to the major types of task or
major challenges that the programme needs to address. E.g.,
- Analysis: Assessment, Interpretation and Diagnosis.
- Synthesis: Design, Planning and Scheduling.
- demonstrations and milestone experiments
- focussed insertion of required technology into application prototypes
- ad hoc and opportunistic technology insertion into application prototypes
- technology acquisition or development
- focussed skill building and technology trials on demonstration experiments
- staff training
- new skills acquisition
- ad hoc and opportunistic technology trails on demonstration experiments
- support tools provision
- Focussed selection and provision of tools and methods to support the programme
- ad hoc and opportunistic trails of support tools and gathering of
knowledge on examples from within programme.
- new technology reviews
- regular review of
emerging technologies with respect to programme and assignment of
actions to link to other facets and threads.
Road Map Overlays
Overlays of various kinds can be designed to communicate certain aspects
of the programme or to help justify proposed work plans, etc. One
particularly useful type of display relates a number of Road Map
components (e.g., technology related items) to the overall Road Map
theme or lead application they support. ``Cityscape'' diagrams to show
the ties between items can be a useful overlap. The boxes on a
cityscape have three sides which can be coloured to some proportion or
in certain ways to communicate aspects like technical risk, percentage
use of technology available, etc.
Multiple Road Maps
There may be a use for a small number of different road maps which have
some common structure. In particular a facet or set of threads on one
overall road map (say for the organisation as a whole) may be copied
down into special road maps (say for divison plans), and some threads in
facets in more detailed plans may appear in the upper level. The need
to perhaps have marketing related road maps tied to technology
road maps is another possible need.
Notes Added in 2002
In addition see the "4
influences" diagram which describes what a well justified node on
a roadmap should be related to.
See a paper from the Proceedings of
the 2nd International Conference on Practical Aspects of Knowledge
Management (PAKM98) Basel, Switzerland, 29-30 Oct. 1998, (U. Reimer,
ed.) on Knowledge
Asset Roadmaps by Ann Macintosh, Ian Filby and Austin Tate (in PDF
format). Also see a PowerPoint briefing (120KB)
from January 2002 to a project meeting of the UK
Advanced Knowledge Technologies