Why your nonprofit needs a Technical Strategist

Where the rubber meets the road. The critical role you didn’t know your project needed.

Business people sitting at office desk, putting puzzle pieces together, finding solution, high angle view.

Over the years, our team has been part of dozens and dozens of website redesigns and marketing campaigns. We’ve seen project go well and horribly wrong.  In the process we’ve learned a ton.  One of the most important lessons we’ve learned is that projects with a role carved out for a technical strategist are more successful.

No matter how brilliant the general digital strategist/consultant (and we’ve worked with some amazing ones), there are always gaps in thinking and approach that result in downstream execution issues.  The bigger the project, the bigger the gaps.  We’ve found that the gaps are relatively predictable, and that someone (preferrably independent of the general strategists), on the lookout for these gaps can have a massive impact on the success of the project.

Enter the technical strategist.  A technical strategist is focused squarely on what it means to implement what is being discussed whether its wireframes, designs, or great feature ideas.  They think about what it means to administer and support the features over time, how to maintain brand guidelines, and what content authoring will look like.

Specifically, technical strategists focus on

  • How much to enforce brand and style guidelines
  • Post-launch administrative effort, including
    • burden to maintain content over time
    • burden to maintain technical infastructure over time
    • internal technical capacity
  • Template / element level flexibility or rigidity
  • Reusability vs one time use of design elements
  • Design patterns
  • Element use governance

General strategists/consultants are focused on other critical tasks, such as

  • Brand alignment and positioning
  • Design and usability
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Content strategy
  • Feature prioritization

Implementation without technical strategy often leads to website redesigns’ most notorious problems: functional miscommunication or gaps, wanting to throw your computer out the window because content is harder to update than it should be, unintended deviation from brand standards, and on and on.  More practically, technical strategy is critical because it has the biggest impact on your team’s experience with your web platform and content authoring on a day-to-day basis.

On your next redesign, choose an implementation partner (cough cough) with technical strategists. It’ll transform the process… and you’ll like working with us too!

(Nervous about having an implementation partner independent of your agency of record? Don’t be. Check out why it’s a must-have for your next redesign.)

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