As we discussed in Episode 7 of our podcast, roadmapping is a strategic planning service that we offer in place of free estimates. You can think of it as architecture for your website. You wouldn’t accept “let’s just start building” as a plan of action for building a house. Instead, you’d hire an architect, or at least use a set of plans that you know had produced a good home for your needs and fit your local environment.
This probably sounds logical enough, but it’s hard to imagine how the analogy plays out. So, how does roadmapping actually help our clients?
- The main thing it achieves is getting the right diagnosis of their problems. For example, we’ve had clients come to us because their WordPress site is ugly, counterintuitive, slow, and staff members hate it so they need something better. We’ve also had similar clients come to us begging to switch to WordPress because their current site is ugly, counterintuitive, slow, and staff members hate it. The problems are the same, but the diagnosis are totally opposite. Roadmapping solves this problem by getting to the details of those problems and determining if the problem is really the software platform, or its implementation, design, custom modifications, or something totally different. Roadmapping seeks to get the diagnosis right, rather than move fast on a client-proscribed solution—the “let’s just start building” approach.
- Roadmapping also means a much smaller commitment, both in terms of time and money for ourselves and our clients. This means we get to know each other and learn if we agree on the direction of a project before we commit to actually building that project. So far, every roadmapping client has decided to move forward with some version of our plan and have found the experience incredibly valuable, but it does give clients the opportunity to work with us in a smaller way without making the commitment to pay for us to execute a plan and actually build their website.
- Clients start much more confidently after a roadmapping session, especially those who have been burned by a previous contractor. By really getting to know your organization, we have a much better chance at building the website you need, rather than working from a template and hoping it satisfies some of your actual business needs, which is a standard operating procedure for most agencies. They sell the same website that solves maybe 60% of the client’s problems over and over and over again. Clients who have been through that process want to avoid repeating it and can breathe a sigh of relief after roadmapping.
- A roadmap is also a portable plan. It’s something that has value on its own, not just as a plan for our specific team. A roadmapping plan is specific enough that it can be taken to any agency and give them a clear path to success for your organization. It’s like having plans drawn up by an architect with the option of shopping the build around to multiple construction companies.
This is why we start every project with roadmapping. It produces a plan of action that more accurately addresses the client’s real problems, it decreases their risk in hiring us, it inspires confidence when the build process begins, and it allows that build process to be taken on by ourselves or anyone else.