Your methodology is irrelevant

Methodology is a means to an end. Assuming you know the end, you can change your means, including your methodology.

One of the really nice benefits of pricing based on the end goal (outcomes), you can adapt your methodology as you go. That means you don’t have to justify your methodology upfront and force your customer to judge you based on your methodology. After all, customers come to you as the expert, how can they possibly know if your methodology will work?

Think about that for a minute. Let’s say you need a new chair for your office and specifically one that will help you with back pain. If you went to someone who makes custom chairs, would you want them to describe how they’ll make the chair and put that into a sales agreement? ie: The chair will have two arms, a seat that’s 10 inches by 15 inches, a back that rises 20 inches, wheels on 6 legs, it will be made of 50% polyester…

Or would you rather be told you’ll get a chair that will help with your back pain?

Instead of justifying methodology upfront, you can work on building a relationship and an understanding of your customer’s desired outcome.

In the case of a chair, the chair maker would probably like to know how much time you spend in the chair and what causes your back pain.

Perhaps the best consequence of this, if the methodology you start with proves to be inadequate, you can abandon it.

In the case of making a chair, you might take some prototypes home and see what works best for your back pain. If the initial prototypes fail, the chair maker can try others.

When you adapt your methodology you won’t have to justify that to anyone. So long as you keep moving toward success. Nobody will mind.

Compare this to a model of business that’s transacted based on methodology, where you fix the means at the start. As you can imagine, fixing the means, means you can’t adapt your methodology. Which means you can only guarantee that you’ll execute the means. Even if that doesn’t mean achieving the desired outcome. That’s not a good position to be in. That’s why fixed pricing based on effort is extremely risky. Because you price just enough to execute your methodology, not enough to deliver results.

Similar problem with hourly billing, even though you might think you can adapt your methodology as you go. With hourly billing you only estimate upfront, there’s no commitment. So you can image how accurate that estimate is. And every time you adapt your methodology, the customer will want to know why because it means they have to pay more. Likely substantially more. There’s so much pressure from the initial estimate and increasing billable hours that you cave and couple to your initial methodology. Or even worse, in an attempt to be successful, you try to hide substantial changes in your methodology in the hope the customer won’t notice. That’s bad business. You’ll never be successful if you resort to hiding things from your customer. You’ll wind up ruining your relationship.

What are you doing to allow yourself the freedom to adapt your methodology as you go? How can you eliminate pressures that force you to fixate on your initial methodology?