Technology Roadmap Essentials

What follows is an article written by Launch413 advisor Ali Usman and originally published on PixelEdge (his company’s site).

When building a new digital product, having a high-level technology roadmap can help in decision making and communicating with the rest of the team. While there is no standard one-size-fits-all template, there are a few key components to keep in mind:

  • Business Model

  • Technologies

  • Team

  • Prioritization

  • Budget

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Business Model

The business model outlines both the business and the product. Make particular note of the Business Description and Vision; it is important to articulate what the business as a whole does and how the new product fits in. Since revenue and marketing channels are key to a successful product, it is important to state them and keep updating them as the business model changes.

Elements of the business model can include the following:

  • Business description

  • Vision for the product and how it fits within the business

  • Key milestones

  • Types of users, for example, customers (tiers if applicable), internal team members, system administrators, and any other internal, partner, vendor, and supplier users

  • User Story map listing key functions of each user type

  • List of delivery channels — e.g. web, Android App, iOS App, Smart Speakers

  • Marketing channels

  • Revenue channels

Technologies

It’s important to assess technology needs from the ground up. One approach is to start with infrastructure and business needs. Another approach would start with the team. The most important thing is to categorize elements and deal with them point by point.

A sample approach is listed below:

Infrastructure

  1. Hosting environment (e.g. Amazon Web Services)

  2. Choice of technology platform unless the product is going to be completely custom

Business needs:

  1. In-sourcing, outsourcing, or co-sourcing

  2. On-shoring, off-shoring, or hybrid model

  3. Skill sets needed (see example below)

  4. Data Replication

  5. Data Backups

  6. Business Intelligence

  7. Email

  8. APIs

  9. Periodic Tasks

  10. Others

Programming

  1. Backend programming language (for example, Java, Php, or Python)

  2. Frontend

Programming Frameworks

  1. Backend

  2. Frontend

DevOps tools such as Pivotal Tracker and Github

Team

Product stakeholders have to decide on three key questions:

  1. In-sourcing, outsourcing, or co-sourcing

  2. On-shoring, off-shoring, or hybrid model

  3. Skill sets needed (see example below)

Identifying skill sets that the current team has and future needs:

  • Project Lead

  • Business Analyst

  • UX Design

  • Frontend Programmer

  • Backend Programmer

  • Database Engineer

  • Quality Assurance

  • Hosting DevOps Engineer

  • Integration Engineer

  • Security Engineer

  • Others

Prioritization

What goes into the beta, minimum viable product (MVP), V1.0, V1.1, V2.0, and beyond? Outlining the parameters of your product and product lifecycle is essential to the success of any business venture. Every product has a unique set of requirements, and therefore every product needs a unique set of guiding principles to help prioritize those requirements.

Budget

When budgeting the true total cost of technology projects, it’s important to remember that launch is just the beginning. A study by Stanford University found that up to 90% of the overall cost can come after the launch of V1.0.

Example of budget line items.

  1. Direct cost

  2. Indirect overhead cost

  3. Tools

  4. Hosting

  5. Things going wrong (meaning the risk factor)

  6. Technical Support

  7. Customer Support

  8. Quality Assurance

  9. Maintenance

  10. Bug fixes

  11. Updating underlying frameworks and operating systems

  12. Forward compatibility

  13. Enhancements

Launch413 Invests in Clean Design Company

Dan Koval, Founder, Clean Design Company

Dan Koval, Founder, Clean Design Company

We are proud to announce the latest addition to Launch413‘s portfolio: Clean Design Company. By reinventing the mop hinge, Clean Design Company’s Duop® mop can do all sorts of things that your standard mop can’t - Dramatically saving you time, money, and effort.

This Western Massachusetts company is led by Dan Koval, a serial entrepreneur with special expertise in design and international supply chains. “We met Dan back when he was involved in the Valley Venture Mentors in 2014 & 15 and have enjoyed informally working with him for years,” said Launch413 co-founder Paul Silva. Paul went on to say, “We’re excited to have the chance to help him achieve his dreams.”

“Dan’s team took one of the most mundane objects, the kitchen mop, and completely reinvented it. Now it decreases workplace injuries, increases the speed people can get cleaning done, and is better for the environment. That is the kind of entrepreneur you want to back.” said Launch413 co-founder Rick Plaut.

Launch413 Invests in Music Box Licensing

Will Bangs , CEO, Music Box Licencing

Will Bangs, CEO, Music Box Licencing

We are proud to announce the latest addition to Launch413‘s portfolio: Music Box Licensing (MBL). MBL connects composers to buyers seeking original music for commercials, websites, and movie trailers.

This Western Massachusetts company is led by Will Bangs, a musician who spent the past ten years as a public school teacher to feed his family and find meaningful work. After graduating from Valley Venture Mentors earlier this year he took the plunge to convert MBL from a side-hustle into a full time venture.

“We were immediately impressed with Will’s work ethic, ability to incorporate advice, and commitment. By himself, and with no training (before VVM) he’s built an impressive small business with real potential to scale,” said Launch413 co-founder Paul Silva.

Launch413 Begins Phase 2, Investing in More Companies!

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Launch413 is itself a startup, and like all startups has lots of hypothesis to test. We are proud to share that we just completed Phase 1 and validated all of our core hypothesis:

  • With our help startups accomplish in months what would have taken them years to do on their own

  • Our Venture Advisors can provide that help in a scalable-way

  • There are enough startups connected to our region that want our kind of investment

Time for Phase 2: take on twice as many startups to make sure our systems scale. If everything works as we expect (within the bounds of startup land :)), then in a few short years we will, every year thereafter, help 4-8 local companies reach at least $3 million in revenue. Do that for a few years and the jobs, wealth, and prosperity created starts to get really exciting!

So we're looking to add 3 more companies to our portfolio. If you know a great startup past the “I-have-an-idea” / VVM stage and raring to reach their first $10 million in revenue, please send them to our spiffy new website: www.launch413.com.

WoofTrax Introduces $2,500 Steps for Pet Health Challenge

Launch413 portfolio company WoofTrax just announced a $2500 challenge funded by Rover to help animal shelters. Details...

Easthampton, Mass., June 28, 2018 – WoofTrax, creator of the Walk for a Dog app, announces the $2,500 Steps for Pet Health Challenge, sponsored by Rover. The challenge, which runs through July 15, is the latest in the Steps for Pet Health Challenge series and will award $2,500 to the winner’s favorite animal organization. This is the largest single donation to date.

Walk for a Dog, by WoofTrax, is a simple, year-round fundraising app that records walks taken with a dog. It promotes healthy interaction between dogs and their owners while creating the opportunity to earn donations for thousands of animal shelters and rescues across the country. Thanks to its more than 20 million recorded walks, WoofTrax has donated and helped raise more than $350,000 for more than 5,000 animal organizations since its Walk for a Dog app launched in 2014.