3 Surprising Things to Look Out For in Your Next Digital Replatform Effort

It all starts with good intentions.

When people start an eCommerce replatform effort, you only think about the upside. It’s not sexy to think about what could go wrong, but it could prevent you from losing your job. Or your customers. It’s useful to compile a list of warning signs to look for

1 - Internal Staff TURNOVER

Regardless if your vendor can do that work (they always can), you need to consider if your own staff is able to manage the project. Vendors need solid guidance from experienced leaders if they are going to help you succeed in an effort.

If there is a high degree of recent turnover on your team, perhaps now is not the right time to attempt a replatform, particularly if there are key members missing. Even if you start it, how much damage will you cause along the way because you don’t understand what systems you need to replicate in the new platform? Try to estimate how much “knowledge capital” has left your organization recently. That will give you some idea how slow to take this project versus expecting a Big Bang to work out OK. Speaking of …

2 - Avoid the BIg Bang

The siren song of the fast implementation is truly irresistible to any organization. And not just retailers in big projects. Almost any company big projects. Iterative projects seem slow.

Unusually slow.

Unnervingly slow.

Why not just do it all at once? Aren’t I such a good executive if I can get my already overworked R&D team to commit to an earlier date, or am I? Is there a better approach I should be taking? Usually hubris is the source of this issue.

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3 - missing Learning Opportunities

Missing from almost every project plan I’ve ever seen is learning. Implicit in this fact is a truly ugly truth.

Arrogance is at the core of most project plans

The arrogance that your team won’t make mistakes.

The arrogance your team won’t learn new things about the existing system that need to be changed before you migrate to the new system.

The arrogance that your often well-intentioned vendor has your customer’s best interests at heart.

The arrogance that you don’t need to watch your vendor that closely, because isn’t that what I’m paying them for?

Are you partnering with your employees who will be in the trenches of the effort?

Instead of focusing solely on the deadline, what learning opportunities are you missing that are right in front of you?

Is there a better approach? What questions are you asking your teams and your vendors?

Rick Watson