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, asking some more questions. Some of these are generic, and some are follow-ups to what you said. There may be some more back-and-forth. This is all 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 how many days of more in-depth discussion we need. This and the expenses determine the total price. After you send in a 50% deposit, we set a date and a place (which may be virtual).
Part 2: Discussions
When that date comes, you and I, and up to four additional people at a time (maximum ten per day), talk for as many days as we agreed on, to discuss your situation, wants, needs, capabilities, plans, concerns, etc. in further depth. 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 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, containing an overview, and for each feature or other such requirement:
- A title
- General narrative
- Any other features it depends on
- Triage by levels of effort, business value, and urgency, meaning whether it should be in your Minimum Viable Product ("MVP"), in another release after the MVP has validated the application's idea ("Later"), or put off indefinitely ("wish list"))
- Any likely challenges (and their potential solutions), shortcuts, pitfalls, Best/Worst Practices, etc.
The rankings lets you do further calculations and sort them however you want. For instance, you can divide the reward by the effort, to "bang for the buck", then sort them by that, within each phase.
The narrative and level of effort
will let you stick them right into your
After I send the report, you then have 20 days to send me the other half of the payment, plus any expenses.
How Long Does It Take?
As implied above, we need to discuss that. My initial very rough estimate is half a day of discussions per man-year of effort you estimate to be involved, plus another half-day. Then I will need about as long as we talked for, to write up the report. There may also be delays if I need to ask you more questions.
How Much Does It Cost?
The price is $3,000 for the first day of discussion and $2,000 for each further day, plus expenses. There is no limit for remote work, but I will spend a maximum of two consecutive weeks, and 20% of my time, on travel.
What Else Can I Get?
After you've had a chance to review the report, we can discuss whether you want some additional services, for additional prices we will discuss. Mainly:
- I can make recommendations about the technology stack, architecture, skills needed to implement it, timeline, etc. -- in short, everything, taking into consideration any constraints you specify, such as a budget or current technology.
- I can break down each MVP or Later "epic" (or at least, specific ones you want) into User Stories. Usually I do these in "As, Want, So" format, and write at least one test case for each story, usually in "Given, When, Then" format. I can write just a "main happy path" test case (i.e., test that everything works under normal circumstances), or if you like, I can also write test cases for "alternate happy paths" (i.e., things that should still work but are a little unusual), and even reasonably likely "sad paths" (error cases, whether user error or "technical difficulties").
- 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.
- 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.
- Of course I'm happy to "cross-sell" you on my training and team process/tools advice services. :-)
- If there are other add-on services you would like, we can discuss them then.