There are a lot of reasons to choose a specific technology. You can decide based on what skills you or the engineers around you have. You can decide on a new technology because it’s the right tool. But there are times when all other things are equal and the flip of a coin would suffice. And in my mind, that’s when it comes to choosing the right technology based on a roadmap.
Recently, at SimpleReach, we were looking into a rather large decision of a backend data store that can be used for data mining. We took a look at the usual suspects in this arena to include Cassandra, Mongo, and HBase (just to name a few). Without getting into the technical details of any of this (since that isn’t what this post is about), it came down to Cassandra and HBase (and we ended up going with Cassandra).
The more interesting thing to note is not that we ended up with Cassandra, but what we used to make that decision. When it came down to Cassandra and HBase, they both had their pros and cons for our use/case. In fact, it’s likely that either one of them would have worked out just fine in the long run. We actually made our decision based on the community and the roadmap (but mostly the roadmap).
The product roadmap is simply something that says where the product is intending to be in the next few weeks, months or years. And it can be important because if the product roadmap in 12 months is in alignment with where you see your technology in 12 months, then it would seem like a pretty good fit. And it potentially allows your organization to help influence the development of new technologies. I’m sure some of you are thinking that it’s no fun being the guinea pig or being on the bleeding edge of everything. But when you are pushing the limits of today’s technology stacks and applications, you have to be on the cutting edge every now and then.
Product roadmap doesn’t just tell you about the application itself, it tells you about the community. If you see yourself aligned with the roadmap in the next 12-24 months, then you are also aligning yourself with the community. And the community is hopefully full of people that have a like-minded set of goals for the use of the product in question. So don’t just think about what’s good for you now, think about what going to be good for you (or your organization) in the future too.