Why have you decided to initiate the project?
You may know what you want, take time to discover what you need and ensure that everyone else is aligned.
In order to be effective during the discovery workshops it is important that everyone involved knows what benefits the organisation needs to realise and the outcomes that management expects to achieve from the capability delivered by the project.
What is the purpose of the capability discovery process
The discovery process focuses on gathering information. Starting with the expected benefits that need to be realised and measurable outcomes that need to be achieved. From this base it will be possible to develop an understanding on how the organisation needs to work in the future and how other stakeholders (such as B2B or B2C customers) will interact with the product or service. Then it will be possible to identify the required capability. The output from the Capability Discovery process will be a high level Project Product Description and notes that will be the input to the Blueprint design process.
The Blueprint design process then takes the information from the Capability Discovery Process and identifies the outputs that will deliver the capability needed.
The discovery process is an important investment and critical to the successful delivery of the project product or service.
Discovery is not a one-off exercise; I recommend that you think of using the rolling wave approach, with a fairly comprehensive discovery at the beginning of the project followed by further sessions as required.
The trick with discovery is to gather enough information in order to make well informed designs; the challenge is getting the balance right.
Every project will be different, here are some guide lines from which you can plan your own discovery.
Get the right people involved, and make sure that you have a core team that will remain involved throughout the project.
who should be involved in the capability discovery process?
For an eCommerce project the following roles are a good starting point:
2. eCommerce manager/ product owner
4. Other people involved in working with eCommerce
1. Solution architect / Technical lead developer
2. Front end developers
7. Project manager
How long should the initial discovery process/phase take and what is included?
Aim to take around 4 weeks, maybe 6 weeks if it is a complex project , this period with be influenced by the level of customization that is required and the type of contract entered into. The discovery phase can be broken into three sub phases of five days for pre-workshop preparation, 10 to 12 days for discovery workshops followed by 5 days for post workshop clean up.
Here is a guide on some of the inputs you can expect for the initial discovery process in management stage 1 of the project.
1. Business objectives to be met
2. Capability needed
4. Brand strategy
5. Team who will work with the new solution once developed
6. Information on third party solutions the eCommerce solution will integrate with
7. Discovery phase plan and schedule
8. Outline product breakdown structure template
9. Documentation on default work processes that are supported by any platforms being considered
Outputs from the discovery phase that will be inputs to design
1. Baselined project product description giving a common view of what will be delivered
2. Baselined product breakdown structure
3. Detailed list of gaps between the functionality that is possible on the platform and functionality needed by the business.
4. Understanding of the brand strategy
5. Tacit knowledge shared between stakeholders
6. Notes from the workshops that will be inputs to defining requirements
Overview of the workshops
For the purpose of this exercise let us assume that the discovery phase will consist of 10 workshops. How you plan these workshops will also depend on whether you are doing a complete custom build or using an existing platform. The assumption here is that an existing platform will be used.
Workshop 1: Introductions planning, approach and objectives
Begin the discovery process with a clear view of the
Workshop 2: Product – Pricing – Promotions (Offers and Campaigns)
Workshop 3: Customers & Competitors
Workshop 4: Brand identity, positioning and analysis
Workshop 5: Payment – Order Management – Delivery
Workshop 6: Merchandising, Trading & Marketing
Workshop 7: Reporting & Analytics (Data Strategy)
Workshop 8: Customer Service
Workshop 9: Integration and Infrastructure
Workshop 10: Functional walkthrough of any platform selected (EPiServer, hybris, ATG etc)
Workshop 11: Wrap up workshop
Use this workshop to
The next step is to transform the information and knowledge gained into requirements, wireframes and designs