I love kicking off new B2B eCommerce projects. There is nothing more exhilarating than helping a project team kick off, and plan, their journey to the web. Actually, I lie. There is one thing as exhilarating… and that is sharing in the joy of their GoLive. This week I got to do both!
First the Project Initiation.
This past week I helped a team from Speeco (a Blount Company) launch their SAP Integrated B2B eCommerce Webshop initiative. This was our 39th Project Initiation and I can honestly say this was one of the best “text book” executions of the event. Here are a few of the reasons why I think this to be so:
- The right people were in the room. A good cross-section of stakeholders were in attendance; people who intimately understood Speeco’s business, committed to making this work and had the ability to make decisions, When you plan a full project in less than 2 days, this is critical.
- The “threaten to put it into production” methodology works – We brought a working instance of their website integrated to their SAP (QA) instance to demonstrate with real data how it would be used in production to support their users. We spent two days demonstrating their website in action and asking them why we couldn’t put it into production tomorrow. They happily gave us 69 very real reasons why not. We now collectively understand what we have to do in order to GoLive.
- Everyone had a focus on finding the shortest path to delivering value – Everyone quickly understood that we didn’t have to solve 100% of their challenges before we went into production. In fact, the attitude became “why deprive a subset of our users from gaining some value by waiting to go into production with the perfect system?” Let’s define our early roll-out targets for those people who could derive some value with the minimal amount of work on our part. Once in production, we will continue to mature our SAP system, internal processes, and website to support all of the remaining users over time. Brilliant!
- People were open to new opportunities to accelerate value to the business – Towards the very end of the workshop, we uncovered the fact that our Shipping Error Notification capability could replace a horrifically onerous internal process. Why wait for a website that facilitates the placement and tracking of web orders when we have the capability to facilitate the correction of shipping errors on ALL orders IMMEDIATELY and make a lot of people’s lives better in the process? So we’re going to focus on getting that done first…and within days.
I look forward to attending the two Focus Groups that we’ve scheduled in the coming weeks and to popping the cork on the champagne bottle on January 31st when we’re going to Go Live.
Speaking of GoLive, five months ago in June, I facilitated a similar Project Initiation Workshop in Princeton, New Jersey. This project had an additional challenge in that we had to build FDA Validation into our timeline. So we figured out a way to combine our customer-intimate Agile approach to developing a B2B eCommerce Webshop with this multi-billion dollar company’s need to manage their regulatory reporting requirements.
I found the following GoLive “announcement” on my smartphone when I returned home from my Speeco Project Initiation in Denver. It’s a screenshot of Google Analytics’ view of the transactions on their website. Four live production customer orders in their first days of their controlled GoLive…less than five months after starting the project and after several years of trying to justify and find a suitable partner to help them get into the “internet age”.
It was indeed a big week at b2b2dot0.