What Is It?
I will help you figure out how to get where you want to go, and how to get there. That includes figuring out where you want to go, if you’re not sure! Even if you outsource the implementation, you get a document you can use to “shop around” for a vendor, and some guidance to help them do it. (I may bid on that myself, or not.)
Why Do It?
Roadmapping reduces the risk of your project, in several ways:
As the name implies, it outlines the way forward. You don’t have to wander around, with false starts and dead ends.
It helps uncover assumptions you may have made, that might not be so obvious to an outsider, and may in fact be wrong.
It helps nail down the scope. Both you and the implementor(s) can see exactly what is included or not, at each phase.
That, and exposing other things such as starting needs or ongoing post-project needs, help nail down the cost.
It also helps draw a clear connection between the business outcome that the project is supposed to provide you, and the possible solutions. This helps ensure that you’re solving the right problem.
How Does It Work?
Part 1: Arranging
First, you send me some generic information. I email you back, with any follow-up questions. There may be some more back-and-forth, by email or phone. This is to make sure that we make best use of our limited time together.
If we determine that my roadmapping services are a good fit for you, we determine what size of roadmap you need. This and the expenses determine the total price. Roadmaps come in Small, Medium, and Large, and cost $998, $4,998, and $19,998 respectively. After you send in a 50% deposit, we set a date, time, and place (which may be virtual).
Part 2: Discussions
When that date comes, you and I, and maybe some more people, talk for a while to discuss your situation, wants, needs, capabilities, plans, concerns, etc. in further depth.
How long, where, and how many people, depends on the roadmap size:
For a Small roadmap, we discuss it for one hour, remotely (such as by phone, Skype, etc.), with only you (or one person you designate).
For a Medium roadmap, we discuss it for six hours (over the course of one day), and I can come to your office if you want (though any travel time gets subtracted from the discussion time), and you can bring in up to two extra people. (If I have to travel out of town, “travel time” is between my office and the hotel, plus an estimated one hour for arranging things.)
For a Large roadmap, we discuss it for thirty hours (over the course of one work-week, usually as five six-hour days, but I can do four 7.5-hour days, or various other schedules if you like). Again, I can come to your office if you want (though travel time counts against discussion time), and you can bring in up to four extra people (though the discussion should be limited to four people at a time).
If even a Large isn’t enough time, after subtracting travel, don’t worry, we can work up a custom quote, or you can buy multiple Roadmaps and combine them.
We cover what it is you’re trying to do, breaking it down into manageable chunks, and identify what is more or less urgent, difficult, etc.
About halfway through, we’ll check our progress, to see if you feel that we are on track to cover everything you need. If not, we’ll discuss options such as covering a broader area but in less depth, staying more focused, changing direction, taking more time now (if I’m available), scheduling an additional session for later, and so on.
At the end, we’ll check coverage again, to see if we’re really done discussing, or if we need to take more time now or schedule additional sessions. We may need that to go into more depth, examine new ideas, discuss something we skipped, or other reasons.
Part 3: Delivering
After our discussion, I might do some more research to close up any gaps, maybe ask you some more questions by phone or email, and finally send you a report. (See below for what’s in it.) After I send the report, you then have one week to request any corrections if I got anything wrong. In that case, I’ll try to fix it within a reasonable amount of time, but what exactly that is may vary with how busy I am. After all that, you have 20 days to send me the other half of the payment, plus any expenses.
Meanwhile, we can discuss any additional services you would like. These will be invoiced separately, not delaying the invoice for the roadmap.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s in the report?
That depends on the size of the roadmap. The short story is that:
- For a Small roadmap, you get:
- a high-level writeup of details and recommendations,
- your project broken down into big chunks,
- a high level writeup for each chunk,
- a few chunks broken down into features,
- a high level writeup of each feature,
- and a small number of “test narratives” for each of a small number of features.
(A “test narrative” is a textual description of how one would test a feature’s implementation. This is very useful for making sure that the implementors understand what you need, and have done it right.)
- For a Medium roadmap, you get
- a medium-level writeup of details and recommendations,
- your project broken down into big chunks (probably more and bigger),
- a medium level writeup for each chunk,
- more chunks broken down into features,
- a medium level writeup of each feature,
- and a medium number of “test narratives” for each of a medium number of features.
- For a Large roadmap, you get
- a thorough writeup of details and recommendations,
- your project broken down into big chunks (probably still more and still bigger),
- a thorough writeup for each chunk,
- even more chunks broken down into features,
- a thorough writeup of each feature,
- and a large number of “test narratives” for each of a large number of features.
The gory details are here.
These names, narratives, and so on, will let you stick them right into your issue-tracker, so your team can get right to work on breaking them down further and implementing them… or I can do that for an extra fee (see below). (If you’re not already using an issue tracker, you probably need my Team Process/Tools Advice services first!)
How should I decide what size I want?
Mainly, ask yourself how much time it would take you, and how many other people, to explain it to me, at the level of detail that you want the roadmap to reflect. If it’s a fairly small and simple project, one hour with just us, remotely, may do. But if it’s big and complex, and you want it broken down in detail, you may need to talk to me in person (so we can write on whiteboards and such), with the help of a few other people, for almost a week… or more.
What if I want some other combination?
Tell me what you want, what you really really want, and I’ll work up a quote. You can get some ideas from the “What else can I get?” section below.
What if I’m just not sure?
All righty then, start with Size Small, and see how [do] you like it. If you want more, more, more, we can arrange that. You can buy more Smalls, or a larger size, or make a custom combo by tacking on some things from the “What else can I get?” section below.
What else can I get?
After you’ve had a chance to review the report, or if you just want to really customize it, we can discuss whether you want some additional services, for additional prices we will discuss. Mainly:
You can take some features from a larger roadmap and add them to a smaller one, such as taking the overall project recommendations from a Large but using the Small schema for everything else.
I can break down more chunks into features.
I can write up details of more chunks and features.
I can give more features some test narratives.
I can give some features more test narratives.
If you give me access to your issue tracker, I can put the various chunks, features, test narratives, etc. into it.
I may be able to turn the test narratives into actual tests, depending exactly what technology you’re using.
You may ask me to provide some conceptual mockups, for particular features. Be warned, however, that I am not a designer. The results will be utilitarian, if not downright ugly. However, they will at least show how I envision the feature working, and can provide a starting point for your designers or front-end developers.
After the roadmapping is done, I may, or may not, also provide a fixed-price bid to actually implement your idea. If I don’t, you can try to talk me into it, but I have probably declined for good reasons, such as not having the time or all the skills needed, or perhaps I just don’t think it’s worth enough to you to be worth enough to me. That said, perhaps we can come to terms on a partial implementation, or working with your existing team in a “staff augmentation” style, possibly including some ongoing mentoring, process improvement, and other value-added services.
If there are other add-on services you would like, we can discuss them then.
If there’s anything else you need, or you’re ready to submit your inquiry, go ahead and contact me.