What needs to be done in Foundation phase?

This is where the work starts. It should be clear why the ecommerce platform is needed and what needs to be in the platform, now it is time to define how to do it. Based on the capabilities and the challenges, a core team is defined of internal and possibly external people, an approach and architecture is defined.

 

Kick-off

 

This phase covers various topics and the team will grow: In the feasability phase, the work could be done with a few people. More expertise is needed in the foundation phase and more deliverables are to be finalized. A kick-off with the team and key stakeholders helps to get everyone aligned. Take time to explain the findings and assumptions from the feasability phase but also for team building.

 

Vendor and partner selection

 

When an existing platform is to be adapted or an external vendor is needed to support in the product development, a vendor selection is needed. Most of the time, organisations are-well equipped to do this. It is advisable to check who is going to do the real work and to speak with all potential team members from the vendor to get a feel of the team and the company. Erwin Ouwejan wrote a blog (in Dutch), describing the basic steps on product selection.

 

Architecture

 

A clear vision of the platform, adjacent systems and the total IT landscape should be developed. This will clarify project structure, helps development teams in defining the right solution. It can also help in recruiting new team members, as the examples of Otto, Wehkamp and Etsy show.

 

Governance and communication

 

Another topic during this phase is the project governance. Whether you choose agile, waterfall or some combination for the egineering phase, the governance should be defined. It is also wise to align with the key stakeholders. If multiple teams are needed, a team division and team governance should be set up. Henrik Kniberg recently released some interesting slides on the topic. As always, they look simple, but contain almost all of the questions and pitfalls on the topic.

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