The Intricacies of eCommerce Part 3: Resources & Timelines
In parts one and two of our intricacies of eCommerce series, creating personas and defining high-level requirements, we’re now at a stage where we can begin refining and enhancing aspects of the project that will deliver the best utilization of resources and result in the highest impact. This will be done by applying a focused lens towards three inter-related factors; scope, timeline, and resources.
It’s assumed, at this point, that you have a good indicator of the complexity of the project. You have equipped yourself to answer many of the inevitable questions that will arise prior to starting development and have the ability to make more informed decisions on the array of choices that will present themselves along the way.
This article will focus primarily on resource allocation and leveraging expertise, including cementing scope, setting priorities concerning timelines and resource constraints, and ensuring that your investment will result in the most exceptional outcome.
When Resources or Timelines are Insufficient towards Fulfilling Project Scope
After defining high-level requirements, it’s common to find that the timeline expectations or the availability of resources do not match the project scope. Solid project planning often results in identifying this disparity, and it’s much better to address it beforehand rather than after development has commenced, ensuring that you will achieve the highest impact and best rate of return for your investment.
Adjusting functionality or features in order to meet resource or timeline constraints is one way to overcome this hurdle, however, it’s often possible to address constraints through improved utilization of internal resources—so let’s start there.
Optimizing Internal Resources
When considering the resources you have available towards the project—staff, funding, and other associated assets—optimizing resources via improved staff utilization is frequently overlooked.
By reviewing staff utilization from a lens of experience and abilities in relation to the project, it is often possible to apply these resources to help address timeline and budget constraints of the project. Here are a few considerations which could help contribute towards addressing these factors:
Have you reviewed and identified on an organization-wide basis, on the ability and experience that is available which specific staff members could help bring towards the project?
Are you able to shift any current duties to other areas of the organization in order to increase organizational efficiency and free up time to redeploy towards the project?
From a strategic standpoint, how are individual workloads and are there any potential crossovers that would benefit the project further by receiving a higher priority in relation to other commitments?
Is there potential to introduce automation that would reduce the amount of staff resources required to maintain your business or keep your eCommerce operation afloat?
Optimizing Project Timeline and Scope
On the other hand, adjusting certain functionality or features in order to meet resource or timeline considerations can also help ensure that the project will fit within known constraints. This is an area where your service provider can be quite valuable towards providing you with further information and recommendations that can help you address the constraints you have identified and make decisions which will ensure that your investment achieves the highest impact.
Case in point, there might be a component that appears to be too resource or timeline intensive at first glance, and the initial response would be to eliminate it. While there may be the benefit of minimal gain in the current timeframe, in the broader purview, it may not involve as significant a portion of the development in relation to resources or timeline in the long term. More so, in mid to large-scale projects, it might result in unintended, adverse ramifications that effectuate resource loss over time due to increased maintenance and future refactoring requirements. This is a frequent outcome when certain functionality or features are removed from a project which could be developed into shared aspects of the code base in your eCommerce solution.
Whether or not there are resource or time constraints, it’s always best to assess the project from a perspective which can potentially open up new opportunities to increase your return on investment. This an area where the expertise of your service provider can be a great asset as they can help mitigate risk and improve outcomes in a variety of ways, which often include:
Reorganizing the project into phases which match the constraints at hand and prioritize the most impactful aspects which can obtain the highest value from the investment near the start without significantly affecting resource requirements and return throughout the project.
Deconstructing the functionality and feature set and apply weighted impact values to each item to better assess the highest return through function and feature prioritization.
Identifying and recommending external elements such as componentry and services which can help reduce resource utilization and achieve the most critical aspects of the requirements within the defined constraints.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Now that we have focused on ensuring that the scope of the project can match resource requirements and timeline expectations, we can move on to the subject of how. There are crucial questions and considerations around how it will all flow for the end user, and the answers in our next segment will help to guide you to attain your goal of a superior end product that maximizes your return on investment. See you next time!