Often, clients come to us with big, hairy problems and super-sized goals, facing a long road ahead to make those goals a reality.
They’re chasing outcomes and market advantages that needed to be in place yesterday, and they have no time (or money) to waste on dead-end solutions, unforeseen detours, or misunderstandings when it comes to upgrading their eCommerce strategy.
When facing complex eCommerce initiatives, how do you get from A to Z fast, without sacrificing accuracy and quality?
Put simply, how do you keep this train from derailing and missing its destination?
Our team at BlueSky helps clients navigate those challenges with a custom project management methodology we call BluePrint. Think of BluePrint as having your own wilderness guide: someone who knows the terrain like the back of their hands and is well-equipped to ensure you don’t get lost, meet no unpleasant surprises, and actually enjoy the trek to your destination. A seasoned guide who knows the best path and ensures everyone knows where everyone else is at all times, while they remain in agreement concerning next steps.
We break up the BluePrint project management process into three phases:
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Building the Team
We begin identifying the right experts, partners and resources from the moment clients bring us their need — even before they’re an official client, so we can hit the ground running when the project’s a “go.”
Going back to the wilderness analogy, this is where we’d match up the right guides, tools, and provisions to the right terrain to ensure a safe, smooth journey.
Key deliverables in this phase include an opportunity workshop, proposal, project statement of work, and a high-level plan. In essence, we get clarity on goals, opportunities, obstacles, devise an outline of how we’re going to get there, and who will guide the way.
In this phase, we get obsessive about requirements, gap analysis, and a detailed roadmap for the journey ahead.
During this phase, we will conduct a Client Readiness Assessment, which helps our customers identify key areas within their organization, such as product and customer data, that will need additional time and focus to help keep the projects on time and on budget. We also watch for and alert clients to potential waste, like spending money on solutions that can’t deliver what they’re looking for, or reinventing the wheel when their existing solutions are already capable of doing what they want.
Key deliverables include a project charter, business requirements document, scope matrix, wireframes and sitemap, content inventory, and more.
Armed with a plan, we then roll our sleeves and get’er done. Data loads, integrations, configuration, and testing are some of the activities we focus on in this phase to get your project ready to go live.
Key deliverables include creative design, application code, training, and a deployment plan, among others.
An Agile Approach
Through the entire process, BluePrint employs an agile approach, built on proven tactics, processes, and lessons learned from similar projects that dealt with the same challenges in the past.
We break up each phase into monthly sprints, tackling complex items early on, before moving to other action items.
Every 30 days, we wrap up a sprint, and arrive at a checkpoint.
Each checkpoint enables our clients to see our progress so they don’t have to wait till the very end to see their solution in action. It’s also a chance to test systems, communicate changes, report the project’s status, budget, and forecasts.
Teaching It Forward
Perhaps the greatest testament to BluePrint’s effectiveness is what happens once it’s complete: Clients often ask us to teach BluePrint to their staff, so they can apply it to internal processes.
It’s a methodology we’ve refined for more than 15 years, and we’re happy to share the know-how and help clients develop their own BluePrint. As a proud go-to Atlassian Expert partner, we leverage Confluence for requirements and document management, JIRA for issue and task management, HipChat for enhanced team collaboration, and the necessary development tools that seamlessly integrate with our systems.
It turns out blending speed, accuracy, and quality isn’t just possible. With BlueSky’s BluePrint custom project management methodology, it’s also proven and repeatable.