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Make Your Magento 2 Project Less Risky with an MVP Champion

4 Min Read
John Childers

Retailers considering migrating their ecommerce operation to the Magento 2 platform have a lot to consider from the outset. In addition to third-party extensions, technology partners and cost, there are the various risks unique to each business. It’s crucial to develop a plan to mitigate these risks before you begin the migration process. Setting up a framework within your organization can be the key to success when adopting new technology. One great strategy is to appoint a Minimum Viable Product Champion.
 

Adopting Early

 
Being an early adopter has many advantages. Getting into that hot new restaurant during soft opening gives you a story to share before anyone else. Finding that next great musician can get you into intimate shows that may never be available after that artist blows up. Pulling the brand new iPhone out of your pocket at a party draws instant envy.

As we covered in a previous post, there are several benefits to using Magento 2 that can lead to big gains for your business. Being the first to have a new feature or be on a new platform can be market differentiators that set you up for long-term profits.

Being an early adopter when managing multi-million dollar technology projects also puts you at risk – even more so than a bad meal, boring concert, or a missing headphone jack. Business risks, such as budget and timeline, have a far greater impact than these consumer risks mentioned above. So how do you get the benefits of new technologies without the associated risks? One way is to find yourself an MVP Champion.

 

What is an MVP Champion?

 
Website design and build projects require work best with a diverse team of experts – project managers, merchandisers, business analysts, designers, marketers, developers. Instead of having one or two people carrying all aspects of the project, each team member brings varied expertise to the particular role they own on a project.

One role that is often overlooked is the Minimum Viable Product Champion. This person doesn’t need to be an expert in any particular knowledge area; they just need to be prepared to keep the team focused on the ultimate goal and to repeat what can be the hardest word to say during a project – “no.”

“If you have a fixed timeline, keeping the project’s scope to a minimum is the most important thing you can do to mitigate risk.”

The minimum viable product will vary for each project you execute, but the principal remains the same. At the outset of the project, the core stakeholders should list and prioritize the goals of the project. Then the MVP Champion will make the case to the project sponsor on where to draw a line down the priorities list to separate the “must haves” from the “nice to haves.” Ultimately the project sponsor should decide, but the MVP Champion should push to have as few “must haves” as possible since the rest of the project team will almost always push for more features, not less.

It’s all too tempting to try to incorporate additional scope into a website rebuild project; after all, it can be more efficient to do more things at once since you’re already making changes. But with a replatform to a relatively new software, it becomes even more important to limit the scope of the project to only what you truly need to make up a minimum viable product. The main goal of the project should be the replatform itself, not every bell and whistle anyone on the team has ever hoped for.

 

Choosing a Champion

 
So who should you select for this role? The MVP Champion must keep the number of “must haves” to a bare minimum, so it’s important this person be someone who is inside the business, who the project sponsor trusts and listens to, and whose sole incentive is to have the site running successfully and stably on Magento 2.

If the MVP Champion doesn’t understand the business, they won’t know where to draw the “minimum viable” line. If the project sponsor doesn’t trust or listen to them, their pleas for simplicity will be in vain. And if the MVP Champion is trying to incorporate special features of their own, their integrity is compromised.

It’s helpful if the MVP Champion has a project management background. Someone who has experienced how scope, timeline, and budgets can change and seen risks emerge on past projects can better foresee these challenges recurring. But these are not necessities. The key to this role is keeping your (and the rest of the team’s) eyes on the prize and making the prize as accessible as possible.

 

Why Does it Matter?

 
The advantage you get in having a MVP Champion is you can constantly keep an eye on exactly what is needed and what is not. This makes finding flexibility in budget and timeline a far easier and more scientific process. If you have a fixed timeline, keeping the project’s scope to a minimum is the most important thing you can do to mitigate risk. More time to do less work means more buffer. When working on projects for new technologies, more buffer is something you should constantly seek.

Having a strong MVP Champion will also give you confidence in your plan. By stabilizing the scope, you inject stability into each other area of your project plan – your budget, your timeline, your risk profile, etc. Sometimes schedules have to be pulled in unplanned ways. Budgets can get slashed. And when things like these happen, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you have an expert who has been pushing for the “must haves” all along. This way, you know what features need to be squeezed into the newly abbreviated timeline or reduced budget.

A team member who can consistently rule items out of scope and reduce complexity will make your project less risky and raise your chances of success. Trusting your MVP Champion’s judgment when they rule that new bell or whistle out of scope during the project can sometimes be painful. But when you have a stable, effective site with all the advantages the Magento 2 brings to your business, you’ll be happy you did.

 
Ready to learn more? Contact the Corra team today.

John Childers

John Childers is the Director of the Project Management Office at Corra. He serves as the initial escalation path for all projects and is responsible for facilitating communication among all team members and keeping projects on time and on budget. Prior to leading Corra’s PMO, John worked as a digital project manager for clients ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies.

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Corra is the global digital agency that lifestyle brands trust to accelerate their growth. Working at the intersection of commerce technology and customer experience strategy, we deliver complex digital solutions to leading B2C and B2B retailers.

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