A visual planning technique which aims at building a big-picture view of a complex subject, starting with the long-term need, and working backwards to map all the possible ways to respond to that need.

The very flexible nature of roadmapping means that no two roadmaps will be the same, though they will generally share similar components such as long and short term needs, change drivers, internal and external constraints, and performance targets.

Roadmapping is particularly useful when a company (or an industry) is facing rapid technological change, disruptive competition, and cross-industry partnerships, as it helps visualise the objective alongside all the critical factors that may influence the end result, and allows for more effective, business aligned decision-making.

see also: technology roadmap | related articles: planisware demo: the case for using roadmaps, a primer for integrated roadmapping: an interview with ken huskins



A lightweight agile project management framework very popular due to its simplicity and flexibility, and often used in conjunction with other methods as it does not prescribe any technical practices.

Scrum uses 30-day iterations (called “Sprints”) and small (4 to 9 members) self-organising teams to deliver functional software with the highest business value. Before a sprint, the team members choose and review the backlog items that need to be implemented (the Sprint Backlog). During the sprint, each team meets daily to discuss what was accomplished since the previous meeting and any roadblocks that should be escalated or managed in priority (the daily Scrum). Once the sprint backlog is depleted and a new release can be produced, management closes development and the team perform the testing, documentation and training necessary.

see also: agile methodology, burn-down chart, extreme programming, feature driven development, dynamic systems development method, crystal methodologies, lean software development

Six Sigma

A management framework, originally invented by Motorola, that aims at maximizing the quality of an organisation's end products by identifying and eliminating sources of defects and reducing variability, until processes produce less than 3.4 defects per million opportunities for deviation.

Six Sigma uses statistical methods and the DMAIC / DMADV methodologies to systematically analyse and improve existing or new processes.

With the framework's increasing popularity, the expression "Six Sigma" also evolved to designate a business philosophy focused on meeting customer needs, and sustaining and developing the organisation's products and processes using a disciplined data-driven approach to improvement.


see also: dmadv methodology


A project management model which uses a five-stage phase-gate process to help structure and speed-up new product development projects.

Each stage consists of activities (the work that must be done) and an integrated analysis (of all the functional activities) which result in the creation of deliverables. Similarly, each gate is composed of one or several deliverables (resulting from the stage it closes) and criteria (usually both financial and qualitative, and organised in a scorecard), which result in an output or decision.

Planisware is one of a small number of software solutions worldwide to achieve Stage-Gate® Ready certification.

see also: gated process, agile stage-gate | related articles: planisware demo: combining agile and stage-gate for new product development, planisware demo: stage-gate implemented

sustaining innovation

A type of innovation in which sometimes small, sometimes larger creative features or evolutions are integrated to existing products, services, technologies or processes on an ongoing basis.

Sustaining innovation is an enterprise-level strategy that requires placing customer value at the top of the company’s priorities (and thus move other priorities such as shareholder value further down). It often will influence  – sometimes significantly – the organisation’s managerial culture and processes.

Unlike disruptive innovation, sustaining innovation does not fundamentally alter the industry’s dynamic or upset its hierarchy.

see also: disruptive innovation | related articles: planisware demo: building an innovation strategy into your product portfolio


technology roadmap

A type of roadmap that centres on a new product, process or an emerging technology.

Technology roadmaps are particularly useful to identify how incremental changes in current technologies may snowball into new products with a potential to disrupt existing markets, or where critical technology gaps (and opportunities for R&D investments) exist. They help develop a consensus about what current and future needs might be and what will be needed to satisfy them, and spot areas where combining R&D efforts could yield proportionally better, more effective results.

see also: roadmapping, long-range planning | related articles: planisware demo: the case for using roadmaps


waterfall methodology

A product development methodology in which a project is broken into phases that follow each other sequentially in a steady flow downwards.

The classic sequence is composed of 5 broad phases: Analysis (or requirements gathering), Design, Implementation, Testing, and Maintenance, each ending with a checkpoint and deliverables.

Unlike the agile methodology, a project cannot move to the next phase until the current one is complete, and it is not possible to make changes to a previous step without starting the whole project from scratch. Each step is meticulously documented, which ensures continuity of the project if the team members change, and the overall process provides a structured approach that helps create from the start a clear image of what the end product will look like.