Online retail is a huge market that continues to expand, which makes it a good aim for growing businesses. In 2021, the online retail market is evaluated at $4.5 trillion, which is a gold mine for those businesses thinking about going online. As a result, eCommerce ventures are becoming the most popular kind of business growth. However, without management processes that are structured properly to ensure the strategically correct decisions are made and implemented, it is close to impossible to build a successful eCommerce venture. Therefore, this post is going to be focused on building an eCommerce website development project plan.
Why is it so hard to launch an online store successfully without proper project management?
When it comes to project management, developing the online store looks like a lengthy process that consists of many details. Without proper management, it is difficult to ensure these processes are connected enough to create a well-developed and well-working structure of online retail. The set of smaller processes include business analysis, UI/UX design, choosing an eCommerce platform, and many other, not that evident but important decisions, such as selecting hosting for the online store. The combination of outcomes of all these processes is going to make the result of the working selling online store.
The idea of project management is based on balancing the details and processes of the development so that the complete result is satisfying the business owner. Often, business owners tend to save money by reducing the expenses on project management, but this is a very risky decision. Without proper project management, it is easy to focus on one aspect of project development too much. Specifically, business owners often tend to focus on business plans more than actual eCommerce website development. The next most frequent issue is missing the information on market situation and competitors on the market. Such an approach is often a result of the lack of a strategic vision for business development.
To put it simply, project management is aimed to prevent strategic errors, such as choosing a SaaS platform for the eCommerce venture with an inventory that contains thousands of products. At this point, SaaS platforms might not be offering enough space to host all the inventory that is necessary for the eCommerce website. When it comes to a large business with rich inventory, it’s better to choose custom development of the online store. This is the most probable decision to make sure that the website is quick to load and the checkout processes work well.
On a practical level, you will need to do the next:
- Select methodology of the project management for your project
- Plan your project carefully
- Begin with the minimal viable product (MVP)
- Determine a workflow process
- Select and use team communication software
- Manage time, scope, and budget
- Launch eCommerce website
- Continue with iterations to improve the store
Why project planning is important
With project management running smoothly, IT departments are able to deliver more projects for the same budgets, and the majority of properly managed projects are completed by their due time/date. These data were provided by Intel as they studied the importance of project management or their business. According to Intel, having a plan and using the project management tools for getting things done allows being realistic about the expectations for allocated time and budget. With effective project management, it is easier to stay on track during the entire project, getting maximum of resources available.
In addition, project management allows making strategically correct decisions about the product, including choosing relevant functionalities and avoiding accessive unnecessary funds. Moreover, with appropriate project management, you are keeping track of the project, and are able to intervene at any given moment. Moreover, with the correct use of project management, it is easier to assess risks and reduce the risks for the project. In other words, project management brings value to the business by properly estimating the business ventures to make and the considerations about the final result of the projects that allow analyzing how well the goals are met. That said, project management makes the process of business development as painless as possible.
Ecommerce project planning explained step by step
Planning for every project is very individual and specific. However, several major steps are going to be similar for many projects of the businesses. These major steps are described in the next paragraphs.
Step #1: Consider eCommerce Website Scope of Work
The first step to start with is to craft a scope statement and a general outline for the project. Creating the outline and the scope is usually the first step towards writing technical documentation and specs. Certainly, documentation is going to be changed in the scope of developing the project but initially, it is created by stakeholders and a project manager. The first step also contains developing the purpose and objectives of the project as well as the business justification for the project and is practically a basis for the entire future work.
Step #2: Organize Deliverables Into a Work Breakdown Structure
When it comes to implementing project ideas effectively and promptly, there is a need to prepare deliverables. In turn, making deliverables is a part of the WBS that is the work breakdown structure for the project. A manager is the one to create the WBS according to the requirements of the customer, which need to include project scope, project tasks, and tasks split into simpler subtasks. Such an approach helps to make one step at a time and build the project quicker. Thus, the WBS is necessary as a project roadmap.
Step #3: Get to Know Your Dependencies
When you already have the parts of your project to do with the WBS, it is time to create a to-do list for every subtask. At this point, many managers often ignore dependencies and this might create bottlenecks in the project. To avoid bottlenecks, there is a need to plan tasks, taking in mind their dependencies on other tasks and subtasks. It is important to know whether there are subtasks that need to be completed before another task or at least initiated. With this knowledge, it is easier to create a smooth working process. It is a duty of a project manager to specify dependencies in the WBS and to make sure these dependencies are taken into account when the work is planned.
Step #4: Create a Timeline
Have you heard about a Gantt chart? It is a very convenient tool to use when it comes to planning the milestones and the dependencies. With a Gantt chart, you can plan time and tasks in a way that at any given moment you can see the status your project is in. The example of a Gantt chart is represented in the picture below.
Usually, a Gantt chart is created in Excel but you can generally use whatever you find comfortable. The main idea is to be specific enough, to keep planning close to the needs of your project, and to make sure that all the dependencies are taken into account when planning those steps.
Step #5 Plan Budget
It goes without saying, before starting the project, there is a need to estimate the total cost that you can afford. Ideally, there should be several estimations, depending on the timeline and features added to the project. For example, you might want to have the lowest and the highest total cost of your project at hand so you can estimate the project from several points of view. Potentially, this helps to be more realistic with the budget, and determine the features that are a must for the project and the ones that are auxiliary but desired. This kind of estimate might look like the following:
So, the main aim of project management for product development is to prevent potential chaos that may take place during the development process. The best technique of project management that is used to handle project development chaos is Scrum. We at SOFTLOFT use the Agile approach and Scrum methodology to get the projects completed. Just contact us if you need to get some projects of yours done successfully and quickly.