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Mapping Experiences by James Kalbach

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CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 4. Initiate: Starting a Mapping Project

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.”

— Mark Twain

IN THIS CHAPTER
  • Identifying the need
  • Convincing decision makers
  • Determining the direction
  • Creating a proposal

One of the most common questions I get in my workshops on mapping is, “How do I begin?” Aspiring mapmakers may see the immediate value in these techniques, yet they have barriers getting started.

Getting stakeholder buy-in is a common challenge. I’ve been fortunate to have had opportunities to create diagrams of all kinds and have found that stakeholders see the value in mapping only after the process is complete. As a result, initiating an effort requires convincing them up front.

What’s more, a mismatch of expectations early on can lead to problems later on. It’s therefore crucial to frame your intent clearly from the outset, particularly when multiple stakeholders are involved. With the range of possibilities, it’s up to you to define your mapping effort appropriately. Some key points to remember are:

Include others in the process

The mapmaker has different roles throughout the effort: researcher, interpreter, and facilitator. It’s critical to get participation from others at all points in the process. Remember: the objective is not just to create a diagram, but to engage others in conversations and develop ...

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