Breaking down the eCommerce replatform project
Comma Consulting Senior Strategist Greg Randall breaks down the eCommerce replatform project - and who should do what and why.
Within any single organisation (regardless of size) a single individual is handed the task of managing and executing an eCommerce replatform project. When it comes to diagnosing the critical streams of work in play for an eCommerce Replatform project, best practice suggests two figureheads are required (not one) - one for each stream of work.
These are individuals who take a hands-on role to execute tasks, manage the various teams and lead critical decision-making throughout. The science proves there are two different types of brains needed to run replatform projects.
Business leaders need to pause and challenge their approach to a replatform project. As businesses become more strategic with their eCommerce channels, it's no longer a "one-person show" in project execution. And anyone who thinks otherwise suffers from the Dunning-Kruger Syndrome.
Embedding the right people ensures the right leadership, the right knowledge/skillset and the right decision-making is made throughout.
This article first defines the streams and explains who should lead each and why.
For some, they will think this topic is irrelevant because a Steering Committee acts as appropriate support. This notion must first be addressed before we venture into breaking down the streams.
What about a Steering Committee?
The presence of a Steering Committee has its place but the issue comes in defining its role of how to guide and contribute to decision-making.
Committee members will have good knowledge of their department and can make decisions in that context only. But committee members often reach beyond their competencies and subject matter expertise.
The "Stream Leader" role is to present issues and explain the appropriate course of action along with supporting data/information to support their recommendation. The Committee can then say "Yes/No". This can only happen with the right leaders in place.
This calls out and highlights the importance of answering the next questions:
- What do the streams of work look like?
- Who should lead each stream?
- Who should be in charge of key decisions at key moments and why?
The 2 Streams of an eCommerce Replatform Project:
Instead of looking at an eCommerce replatform project as a single body of work, it should be dissected from the perspective of operations: the effective grouping of all implementation activities needed to bring a replatform project successfully to life. They are:
- UX Planning, Visual Design and Front End Development
- Development Operations, Back-End Development and System Integration
Each stream will be defined to provide clarity.
Stream 1 = UX Planning and Front-End Development:
This stream encompasses the following project phases:
- Phase 1. Digital Style Guide:
- Phase 2. Customer Experience Design Planning:
- Phase 3. Wireframe Building
- Phase 4. Visual Mockups
- Phase 5. Approving Visual Mockups = the "Pandora's Box"
- Phase 6. Front End Dev
- Phase 7. Defining and Preparing Content
- Phase 8. UAT
Stream 2 = Dev Ops, Back End Development, and System Integration:
These next stream will also be kept high level and written in layman's. This over-simplification is not a reflection of the arduous nature of this stream. It's highly complex and crucial in laying down the foundation of how the new eCommerce platform interacts with an array of existing business systems (ERP, CRM, Marketing Automation etc...).
All future rapid deployment initiatives have a direct dependency on the quality of this second stream.
This stream can be summarised in four phases..
- Phase 1. Dev Operations
- Phase 2. System Integration
- Phase 3. New Code Creation - Developing Unique Solutions
- Phase 4. UAT
Conclusion - Who Should Lead Streams 1 and 2?
A Customer Experience Design Specialist collaborates and shares the lead of Stream 1 with the Business. The CTO leads Stream 2.
It's important for these two brains (customer-centric and system infrastructure-centric) to collaborate throughout, but it's not a single person leading the entire project.
Would you want a Developer or CTO to sell and interact with your existing customers and potential new customers? If you answer "No - of course not" then why are these people running your Stream 1? These are smart gifted individuals who are best utilised when they focus on Stream 2 and collaborate with customer-centric brains.
When it comes time to plan your replatform project, consider the above, plan and resource appropriately. It will ensure the success of this business effort and investment.
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