Agile methodology and practices have become the centre of attention across various industries, as well as business operations ranging from software development and marketing to manufacturing and project management.
That’s why more and more companies are embracing Agile and its full potential. While some are early adopters, others are biding their time and assessing the potential benefits. This oftentimes results in a lot of confusion and missed opportunities, as well as in Agile being used for different purposes that miss the point entirely.
For eCommerce businesses that are about to develop their websites, Agile can be a great advantage, if used accordingly, of course. Therefore, let’s discuss how Agile can be used to launch your eCommerce website successfully from a project management point of view.
Early bird gets the worm
It’s no secret that the eCommerce market is a highly competitive and oversaturated landscape. Getting a working version of your website launched as early as possible can be a significant competitive advantage. As you may already know, Agile software development focuses on creating working pieces of software as soon as possible.
It may not be a finished product but it’s a working piece of a product nonetheless. More importantly, that working piece of a product is available to users straight away. That way, users can revise it and you can work on improvements based on their feedback. The same can be applied when developing and launching your eCommerce website.
There’s a good chance you won’t be able to do things perfectly no matter how much time you spend developing it. Common issues include poor navigation, lack of responsiveness, lack of security, broken checkout processes and so on. If you’re bound to make a mistake, you might as well do it ASAP and work out the kinks.
Leveraging user feedback
One of the main differences between Agile and traditional methods is that Agile emphasizes working closely with users and stakeholders throughout the project’s lifecycle as opposed to traditional methods where users are only involved during the planning stage.
It’s safe to say that user feedback plays a vital role in product development, as well as in determining the overall value of the product. Once you launch your eCommerce store early one, you can make an effort to determine how it’s being used by customers, what do they feel about it and what are their expectations, preferences, needs and demands.
You can achieve this by not only relying on simple testimonials. Instead, involve your customers into the project and leverage any means possible to obtain both objective and detailed feedback from them. After all, what better way there is to improve your eCommerce website than to gain insight from customers that are using and will continue to use it?
Revise and adapt
As you may already be aware of the fact that there’s no “secret sauce” that will ensure the success of your eCommerce store. The fact of the matter is that there are numerous factors that can influence “success” in one way or another.
Predicting and keeping up with market trends is one of them. It’s no secret that consumer behavior and purchasing decisions can change overnight based on the market trends they’re currently following. This is where Agile starts to truly shine. Agile methodology embraces and welcomes changes. It also helps organizations respond and adapt to changes. The same principle can be used on your eCommerce website.
As an example, Agile focuses on short time-boxed iterations, also known as sprints to create working increments of a product. In this case, a product being your eCommerce website. By leveraging Agile development best practices, you can revise everything you’ve done so far and adapt to changes seamlessly and quickly. As a result, you can continuously improve your store without being subjugated to any pressure resulting from changes or shifts on the market.
Sustaining and predicting
One thing about Agile practices that’s quite often misunderstood is to make the work o the product as humane as possible, as well as sustainable. In other words, it means working in a way that doesn’t require overtime or putting more effort than you can in the project only to achieve some goal.
A framework, such as Scrum that uses the Agile approach can provide insight on how to analyze and assess your performance across different iterations or sprints. Simply put, it will allow you to predict, to some extent, of course, how much work you and your team are able to take on in the future.
There are great benefits to this. For instance, you’ll be able to enjoy your personal life besides working on your eCommerce store. Also, you’ll be able to ensure that nothing is rushed and that everything is developed properly, which vastly reduces the need for do-overs or fixing mistakes that can be easily avoided, to begin with.
Building a powerful team
Agile methodology recognizes that all the work is conducted by the teams. It also encourages an organization to support those teams in every way possible. Teams are cross-functional and self-organizing, as well as transparent about their work.
This is of vital importance when you decide not to develop your eCommerce website on your own. If you’re about to leverage Agile project management to create your store and build a powerful team, there are a couple of things you must know.
- Team members should be invited to work in an Agile environment and not forced to.
- Never force work onto the teams, they decide how much they can handle for each sprint.
- Allow them to decide on the best approach to building your website.
- Encourage communication and collaboration so that everyone is on the same page.
As a result, you will have a productive and motivated team that is exceptionally efficient and effective.
As you can see, building your eCommerce store by leveraging Agile project management can be a major advantage and a major benefit to you. If you implement the right strategy and plan your approach well, you can successfully launch your eCommerce website and improve upon it whenever you need to.