A Real Project in Real Time – Week 2

Written April 14th, 2009 by
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Our last installment of “A Real Project in Real Time” had me en route to facilitating our first Focus Group for Blount’s SAP Integrated US Distributor eCommerce website implementation in Portland Oregon.  (For more on b2b2dot0’s use of Focus Groupsin general, please visit this previous blog post).  That event was held on April 6th.  On April 13th we reviewed, and got closure on, the outstanding change requests with the Blount project team.  Today’s post is about what happened in between and where we go from here.

The April 6th Focus Group was a textbook event.  b2b2dot0 demonstrated the first working version of Blount’s new SAP Integrated B2B eCommerce website to about a dozen team members and asked them a simple question.  “Why can’t we put this in production tomorrow morning?”  The Customer Service Representatives in attendance, who field Distributor calls, faxes and emails on a daily basis, gave us 71 reasons in about 4 hours.

For the record, a little over a staff week’s worth of Blount’s time was invested in this collaborative workshop.  While that might seem like a lot of time to spend in a meeting, considering the amount of great information uncovered, the teamwork established across our two companies, and the project momentum gained, I’d say it was well worth it! It always is.

Our job, in the days immediately after the Focus Group event, was to review these change requests and determine if/how we were going to handle each one of them during this first release of our service.  After about another staff day’s worth of time on our part, we produced this analysis of the change requests.BlountChangeRequests
Of the 71 change requests logged:

  • 61% of them were going to be easily embraced on the project (Green),
  • 15% of them could be incorporated, but they warranted further discussion with the Blount team. (Yellow),
  • 24% of them were deemed “out of scope” for this first release (White)
  • 0% of the change requests were deemed impossible or would require customizations beyond what our current service or roadmap provides for out of the box (Red).

As an aside, Blount did uncover 6 change requests that were categorized as “New Feature Requests” for the b2b2dot0 service.  However, they all made great sense and will be incorporated into our service at the appropriate time.  Two of the more noteworthy feature requests were:

  1. being able to provide Order Status by a ShipTo location – This is great for Distributors/Dealers who have many clients that they ship product to.
  2. provide a “Quick Availability Check” on the home page – We’ve already rolled out a “Quick Price Check” for Drive Medical, so this made a lot of sense to round out that capability.

I also want to comment briefly on the “out of scope” items.

All of these 17 (White) change requests were related to Order Entry.  This first release of the Blount service to their Distributors is about providing them Order Tracking and eInvoice Management capabilities.  Order Entry is of lesser immediate value since all of these Distributors order via EDI today.  They may use the b2b2dot0 service down the road to place “special” or “rush” orders with Blount, but what the Distributors have been clamoring for is the ability to track orders and reprint order related documents.

Today we reviewed all of the Yellow items with the Blount team and were able to produce the following updated version of the Change Request Chart.

BlountChangeRequestsAfterReview The key observations to note are:

  1. The number of Greens have grown to 70% – we understand the requirements better one week into the project and are comfortable that we’ll be able to deliver them.  In fact, we’ve already delivered some of them 🙂
  2. The number of Whites (out of scope) has grown to 27% – a particularly complicated order type (Scheduled Agreements) isn’t used by any Distributor that is included in the first release.  No sense spending engineering time solving a problem that isn’t going to be used until we get to Blount’s OEM’s using our service.  We’ll deal with it then.
  3. There are still 2 remaining Yellows – these constitute requirements that are particularly complicated and/or are risks that need to be monitored closely.

This week we’re going to be busy completing our configuration of Blount’s service and implementing these change requests in preparation for Focus Group 2, which is scheduled for April 17.

If all goes well after Focus Group 2, we’ll turn the service over to Blount for Validation Testing.

So far so good.

Sam