This post is part of a series called Level Up Your Tech Leadership. This post will discuss creating a Strategic Road Map. We often think about leading people and being a developer as two distinct career paths with very different skills and interests. Often times, someone who is a web developer has no interest in being a manger. So, what does it look like when tech and leadership meet? Enter the Lead Developer.
Many people have different ideas of a Lead Developer’s skills and responsibilities look like but my interpretation is a 50/50 balance between being a great developer and a great leader. If you can’t do one as good as the other, people notice. It is a constant exercise in balancing your professional development between tech and leadership.
That all being said, I strong believe that a strong Lead Developer can take a team to the next level and provide amazing value to any new or existing team.
What is a Strategic Road Map?
Put simply, a Strategic Road Map is a visual plan of what goals and activities you would like to achieve over a set period of time. I like to make mine cover a span of a year and divide it up into the 4 quarters of the year. It is a way for you and your team to create a set of goals that you would like to work on together and have a shared vision of what the team will look like by the end of the year.
Hold Up, This Sounds Like Some VP/CEO/Director Stuff
Traditionally speaking, yes. Typically a higher level leader will have a 1 year and 3 year plan of what direction to take the department or company. However, there is a lot of value in doing a similar activity at a team level!
What’s the Point?
As I mentioned above, it is a very valuable exercise to sit down with your team and agree on a strategy for the year. It allows you to have a set of shared goals and a vision that you all agree to work towards. You will all have a image in your head of what you would like the team to look like and how to get there. I am a strong believer than continuous improvement is incredibly important and this is a great way to set your team on a journey to do just that. It’s also a great tool for employee engagement and happiness as it allows them to be involved and feel like they are making a real impact.
Some examples of things you could have on a roadmap:
- Meet more regularly (establish team meetings)
- Review/Improve documentation strategy
- Upgrade tooling (Visual Studio, frameworks, etc)
- Be more Agile (stand ups, retrospectives, etc)
- Team building (team building exercises, volunteer day(s), etc)
- Introduce new tools
- Implement some kind of hack day
These are just some examples. It is completely up to you and your team what kind of things you want to do.
I encourage any leader to take the time to create a vision for where you want your team to be in a year and work with your team to see that vision become reality. You’ll be amazed with how much you can accomplish with goals and targets set. You’ll be amazed at how much your team will appreciate having a clear direction. You’ll be amazed at how you level up your leadership.