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Tech Radar for visualising Technology Strategy. What is it and how to build it?

In this blog post I would like to share my knowledge about a very useful tool that helps you to visualise your Technology Strategy — Tech Radar.

Also, at the end of this blog I will share the live Tech Radar from my organisation and a link to my GitHub Repo so you can build your own!

Tech Radar

What is a Tech Radar?

Tech Radar uses two categorising elements: the quadrants and the rings. The quadrants represent different kinds of blips. The rings indicate what stage is in an adoption lifecycle.

The quadrants are a categorisation of the type of blips:

  • Languages and Frameworks. As it suggests, things such as C#, Java etc

  • Tools. These could be software development tools, such as code scanners, Terraform etc.

  • Platforms & Infrastructure. Things that we build software on top of such as Azure, Salesforce etc

  • Techniques. These include elements of a software development process, such as Continuous Delivery ; and ways of structuring software, such as Microservices.

The Tech Radar also has four rings:

  • The Adopt ring is for Technologies you have high confidence in to serve your purpose. Technologies with a usage culture in your production environment, low risk and recommended to be widely used.

  • The Trial ring is for Technologies that you have seen work with success in project work to solve a real problem; first serious usage experience that confirm benefits and can uncover limitations. Trial technologies are slightly more risky; some engineers in your organisation may have walked this path and will share knowledge and experiences.

  • The Assess ring is for Technologies that are promising and have clear potential value-add for you; technologies worth investing some research and prototyping efforts in to see if it has impact. Assess Technologies have higher risks; they are often brand new and highly unproven in your organisation. You will find some engineers that have knowledge in the technology and promote it, you may even find teams that have started a prototyping effort.

  • The Hold ring is for Technologies not recommended to be used for new projects. Technologies that we think are not (yet) worth to (further) invest in. Hold technologies should not be used for new projects, but usually can be continued for existing projects.

Why do you need a Tech Radar?

  • Firstly, creating the Tech Radar is a very valuable exercise. It helps you to do an audit of your portfolio. Finding the potential risks and blind spots.

  • It gives more transparency into your Technology Department. The Tech Radar helps your teams and architects choose the best technologies for future projects. It shows the current state of your technology landscape and teams can choose the best tools and technology that are already adopted in your company.

  • If you keep your Tech Radar public (like we do) it can be very beneficial for your recruitment and Engineering brand. On one hand potential candidates can see the technology stack of the company. On the other hand you will be able to understand whether the knowledge and experience of the candidate are suitable for your environment.

How to create and update?

The Tech Radar is a living tool. And you should keep this tool up to date because this is your current technology landscape and the future target.

Depending on the size of your organisation, updating the radar can be done by the community of the most active engineers (like we do), team leaders, architects or a special department.

It is advisable to check and update the radar at least once every 6 months. Check legacy technologies, whether it’s time to change them to new ones that have passed the adaptation period. And check current radar for your target technology strategy.

When you introduce new technologies or tools in your teams — check with your Tech Radar. Perhaps the new technology is already being tested in another team and you will save time & effort.

Our live Tech Radar!

So as promised at this start of this blog, here is our live Tech Radar

FirstPort Tech Radar

Using our Tech Radar you can trace the usage and adaptation of many technologies and languages in our organisation.

For example, you can see that GitHub Actions are currently running in Adopt mode — a CI/CD service that is used to build and deploy services, to run automated tests, deploy IaC etc.

Also, here is the link to my GitHub Repo which you can fork to build your very own Tech Radar!

Important 😸

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