1. Project Lifecycle and Milestones
During development, the project employed many agile project features, iterations, regular communications and testing. In larger development projects, some phases of B2B development can be divided into subcategories that follow their own lifecycles. Development efforts that require a continuous process can use full agile methodology. The slightly altered semi-agile process used for the United Methodist Communications Project followed this lifecycle:
Inception of the Project
1. Project Proposal Document
The preliminary planning phase consisted of creating a summary document and reviewing it with agile methods that allow each stakeholder to comment on the process, suggest revisions and reach a group consensus.
2. The Project Handoff Meeting
During the handoff meeting, different parts of the development are handed off to team specialists. Frequent handoffs can cause delays, so best practices include involving people in areas other than their specialties. Working in different areas of the project helps each stakeholder better understand the process by learning a little about each area of development.
The Initiation Process
In the United Methodist Communications Project, four areas were covered during the initiation process: preparing more detailed Project Summary and Scope of Work and Project Approach documents and hosting a Project Kickoff Meeting with the client and one with the Clarity development team.
1. Discovery Meetings, Group Activities and Exercises
As the project progresses, daily meetings, group meetings, creation of design mockups, stakeholder interviews, preparing inventories of features, mapping connections and other analyses were common. The agile process includes meetings where each group discusses its progress, answers questions and defines how its work relates to other aspects of the project.
2. Project Requirements Document
Ongoing preparation of an updated Project Requirements Document keeps everyone informed about the project's current status so that no stakeholder is surprised or blindsided. On large projects, one team can easily lose track of what others are doing, and this agile technique keeps everyone continuously updated.
During the design phase, teams map everything that's needed on the site, show how pages will connect and produce wireframes or blueprints that show functionality in detail. After those are approved, the following documents and design features are prepared:
- Technical Approach Document
The design process includes writing a preliminary document, getting it reviewed by the group and incorporating needed changes. Technical approach covers the coding and technical details of the development process.
- Functional Design Document
This record follows the same process as above but concentrates on development functionality and design features in the finished construction.
- Technical Design Document
This document is prepared when feasible, but not every project includes this effort for various reasons such as security concerns, protected information and other contraindications.
Constructing Platform Changes
The construction process is where B2B eCommerce & Integrations works with development teams to build the eCommerce platform or needed customizations to an existing platform. Throughout the agile process, the following three activities, if applicable, occur simultaneously:
- QA Test Plans
Each completed function is tested exhaustively during the build, and iterative refinements are made.
Software applications, integrations and performance issues are also subject to testing, code refinements, troubleshooting and performance on the many devices that customers use when accessing the Internet.
- Administrator and User Documentation
These are usually focused on keeping administrators informed and follow the same iterative development and QA testing used concurrently in preparing documents. However, this deliverable is not always available for every project.
Testing and Quality Insurance
Testing and quality assurance efforts continue until the final testing. One session involves the development staff, and separate testing session is arranged for the client and executive decision-makers who sign off on the development.
During the implementation phase, as anyone involved with development knows, unexpected trouble spots arise in most projects. That's why B2B eCommerce & Integrations offers an extraordinary level of service at this stage to train staff, validate the project and deliver documentation and source code. The process includes the following steps:
- Setting up hosting
- Offering staff and stakeholder training in using the features
- Installing the build
- Performing final validation checks
- Providing source code and project documentation through all stages of development