Discover B2C Commerce Project Management
After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
- Describe the phases of a B2C Commerce implementation project.
- Identify the responsibilities of a partner project manager on B2C Commerce implementation projects.
- Describe the key functional roles and responsibilities on a B2C Commerce project team.
We just heard the big news. Your company won its bid to deliver an ecommerce site for Northern Trail Outfitters (NTO)—and you’re the partner project manager. You’ve got that big win glow. And, naturally, a touch of butterflies. As skilled as you are, it’s your first B2C Commerce project, and you want to deliver a site your customer loves.
B2C Commerce plays a huge role in worldwide retail. And you play a huge role in executing successful B2C Commerce projects. Your background in project management gives you a head start, but B2C Commerce projects have unique aspects. In this module, we look at project management through a B2C Commerce lens and why it helps to manage them a little differently.
We cover the B2C Commerce–specific project concepts and processes, so you learn what to do. We also point out common pitfalls, so you learn what not to do. If you haven’t earned your Salesforce B2C Commerce for Consulting Partners badge yet, complete that module first. It explains a few concepts we assume that you already know.
In this module, we split B2C Commerce projects into eight phases. You might use different names or group them a bit differently, but every project includes these general phases and high-level tasks.
- Discover: Gather your team and identify project scope.
- Plan: Craft a Statement of Work and create your project plan.
- Design: Create and review wireframes and visual design.
- Document requirements: Document site customizations and system and third-party integrations.
- Build: Code and configure the site.
- Test: Create and execute your test plan.
- Launch: Launch the live site.
- Post-launch: Transition the site to the maintenance team for support and optimization.
Project phases aren’t always linear. Phases can overlap and repeat—especially if you work in sprints. What you learn in this module applies to all development methodologies.
Discover the Project Goals and Scope
Every successful project begins with a discovery phase. This phase is the time to identify your customer’s business goals and establish project scope. As the partner project manager (PM), you’re the conductor of the B2C Commerce project train, and it’s ultimately your responsibility to define project scope, create project plans, and execute the plans. No PM can do this alone. Building your team is the first step to a smooth ride on the B2C Commerce Express.
Gather Your Team
All aboard! Open the doors and welcome your B2C Commerce specialists. Mindy, your functional architect is the first to hop on. She works with customers to define requirements and functional specifications. Check Mindy’s ticket: Make sure that she has ecommerce experience and knows the ins and outs of B2C Commerce. To learn more about the B2C Commerce functional architect role, earn your B2C Commerce Functional Consulting badge. Next to board is Alex, your technical solution designer, he plans the solution. It’s best if his ticket shows that he passed the Salesforce Certified B2C Commerce Technical Solution Designer exam.
These two roles can be filled with in-house resources, or you can contract members of the Salesforce B2C Commerce Professional Services team to work on your project. Our trusted experts on the Professional Services team help partners deliver high-quality implementations and ensure customer success.
Other roles that you’re familiar with are developers and user experience (UX) designers. Use certified B2C Commerce developers. They already know how to set up a development environment, work with the data model, and other essential tasks. Use designers that passed the Designing for SiteGenesis course. They know how to customize the Commerce Cloud Storefront Reference Architecture (SFRA) to create a unique B2C Commerce storefront. The reference architecture is a starting point for online-storefront design.
Let’s review the roles we have on board.
- An experienced project manager
- A functional architect with ecommerce experience
- A B2C Commerce–certified technical solution designer
- B2C Commerce–certified developers
- B2C Commerce UX designers
Sometimes, you hire or your customer hires another Salesforce partner that specializes in visual designs to create the storefront design. If so, confirm that the partner’s design team took the SiteGenesis course and has access to relevant resources. If your customer supplies developers, confirm that they have the same credentials as your in-house developers. When external resources are involved, it takes a little more project management time to coordinate efforts. To account for this, allocate extra time in your project plan—especially if it’s the first time you’re working together.
Later in the project, you also organize a test team (we delve further into this topic in Unit 6). You staff the test with a mix of customer resources, your team members, and third-party testers. Talk to the NTO and third-party project managers now about the test phase and how many resources you expect them to provide.
The test team typically includes:
- Project manager (customer)
- Merchandisers (customer)
- At least one technical resource (customer)
- The partner and third-party QA teams
- A resource to manage testing (can be you, the PM)
As the train pulls out of the station, give your team something relevant to read. Have them browse the B2C Commerce product documentation. It’s a digital library that includes wireframes, functional specifications, release notes, and other relevant B2C Commerce resources. Also have them check the Education tab on the Salesforce Partner Community website for useful training resources.
Identify Project Scope
Now that you have the right team on board, it’s time to meet with your customer and find out what this project entails. You bring the train to a stop, get Mindy, and disembark to meet with your customer, Northern Trail Outfitters.
B2C Commerce has hundreds of ready-to-use features and functions, but most clients want to customize something—or everything. NTO is no exception. As you walk into their conference room, you notice a whiteboard overflowing with their feature wish list.
Your first task is to decipher which wish list items are supported out of the box and which are custom. The best way to track and scope customizations is with the high-level discovery (HLD) process. You probably remember that term from the Salesforce B2C Commerce for Consulting Partners module. During HLD, your customer presents their goals. Mindy, your functional architect, helps them refine their goals and translates the goals into functional requirements.
Mindy brought a sample HLD document. It describes out-of-the-box B2C Commerce features. NTO requires functionality that isn’t part of the standard feature set. She adds NTO’s custom requirements to the HLD document. That makes it clear what’s standard and what’s custom. It also helps NTO understand where they need to invest significant effort and resources.
It’s common for your customer to request a feature without realizing how much effort and resources it involves. For example, NTO wants to customize in-store pickup for online purchases. NTO doesn’t realize it involves a costly integration effort. Mindy guides the client in a “could vs. should” discussion. She asks thought-provoking questions to find out if NTO is operationally ready to integrate in-store and online processes. As it turns out: not quite. Together, they decide it’s best to tackle the integration in a future release.
With a refined feature list in hand, you and Mindy head back to the train to regroup. There, Mindy and Alex scan the list of customizations. Alex is responsible for solution design and notices that NTO wants to support customer reviews. His experience tells him that outsourcing this feature can save time and reduce development costs. He searches the Salesforce B2C Commerce Partner Marketplace for a third-party solution. The marketplace is where Salesforce technology partners offer products that integrate with and complement B2C Commerce. He finds a solution that has all the bells and whistles NTO requested. A cost-benefit analysis reveals the marketplace solution is the way to go.
You’ve got initial scope ironed out. Now let’s plan how to successfully deliver the site.
- HLD document