Agile is a methodology where teams divide the development of a product in sprints and focus on delivering value by accomplishing specific goals fast. With a continuous delivery mindset, agile teams prioritize developing core features of a product that can cater to the needs of end-users.
After the initial delivery, they test and modify the product continuously as per the demand and feedback of several stakeholders end users, business owners, investors, and others.
Agile is a widely used practice for developing software products because it offers flexibility, speed, and better collaboration between teams, leading to successful and profitable product development processes. Especially for eCommerce projects, agile development methodologies prove to be very successful because of the changing nature of requirements in the eCommerce development industry.
In this blog, we will list how and why you should develop your eCommerce solution the agile way to reap maximum benefits. So, let’s get started.
5 Reasons Why Agile is Best for eCommerce Projects
Building and scaling a business the agile way hurts no one. The agile methodology is based on below mentioned four key values that can help you build eCommerce products fast and in a streamlined manner:
Agile principles focus on keeping the communication channels opens, using the right tech stack, embracing the changing requirements, and developing collaborative work environments which lead to increased productivity and better results. But, when it comes to eCommerce and agile, it is a match made in heaven and here’s why:
Dynamic Requirements: Priorities and requirements change frequently in eCommerce development projects. You never know when you need to add more products or features to your online store.
Need for a Personalized CX: Creating a personalized customer experience (CX) is of utmost importance in the eCommerce industry. This is only possible with the help of frequent deliveries and observing the users’ reactions and feedback.
Fast-Changing Trends and Technologies: The eCommerce development trends and technologies change fast and you require to maintain pace with the changing things to stay competitive in the dynamic eCommerce world.
Need for Collaboration: Proper communication and collaboration are very important between teams working on an eCommerce project. From inventory management to shipping and marketing, you need to manage everything in an eCommerce project and that is not possible without having proper collaboration.
Need for Increasing Conversions: The scope of improvement is always there in an eCommerce website. For example, when you launch an initial version of your online store, you should do everything possible to find out how people are interacting with it, what’s is their experience like, and what features or improvements will improve the look and feel of your website to maximize sales.
The Agile Way of Building an eCommerce Website
Agility is not just limited to the development process. To build and scale an eCommerce business the agile way, you need to build an agile work culture and use cutting-edge technologies to streamline your operations. Here are five steps to do the same:
1. Build Your eCommerce Product Roadmap
One of the most crucial things to get success in any project is to have a clear vision. Once you have that, it’s time to put it into paper and build a product roadmap. This is a high-level document of your project requirements, goals, user stories, and a rough idea about timelines.
Remember, you don’t need to spend a lot of time developing this roadmap – this is one of the benefits of working using the Agile methodology. You don’t decide on a full list of product features or strict timelines when developing a roadmap. Just mention your business objectives, goals, values, idea feasibility proof, and when you want things to happen.
Here is how a typical eCommerce product roadmap should look like:
2. Develop Product Backlog and Release Plan
Once you are done with developing a product roadmap, it is time to create a product backlog.
The product backlog is a full list of tasks that your team needs to accomplish in a given time frame. You will need to set the priorities of each task here and define dependencies. For eCommerce businesses, proper product backlog planning is crucial to ensure nothing goes into deadlock due to dependencies. This backlog is then divided into smaller sprints to make the eCommerce solution development process fast and error-free.
After the product roadmap, you need to develop a release plan including high-level timelines for the release of an eCommerce website.
3. Hire an Agile Team of eCommerce Developers
Your eCommerce developers are going to be your most important asset when building an online business. Thus, you need to make sure you hire people who are as agile as possible to serve the needs of your business and customers moving online fast. One of the principles of Agile methodology is:
Build Motivated and Self-organizing Teams that Create Value
Thus, one thing that you need to ensure before hiring any team of eCommerce developers is that they should have a thorough knowledge of agile guidelines and principles, along with some experience of following them.
They should be well versed with agile tools used by organizations like the Kanban board. An experienced eCommerce agile developer should also be good in collaboration with not only team members but also with clients. So, invest in doing thorough research and then build a team of agile developers for your eCommerce project.
4. Organize Daily Standups to Check Progress
Agile eCommerce development projects move fast. So, you must ensure that quality is not getting compromised and there are no roadblocks en-route. A standup call is a daily 10-15 minute call with your team where each member discusses the following things:
- What tasks did they complete yesterday?
- What tasks they are going to accomplish today?
- Are they facing any roadblocks en route?
Agile processes depend on quickly reacting to a problem. And stating the roadblocks in a public space is a powerful way of solving problems.
5. Put Your Customers first
Agile is all about keeping your customers happy and content. Therefore, agile methodology emphasis releasing the core features first which lets people react to the idea fast. This way, the rest of the development occurs keeping the preferences of end-users in mind.
Giving your users something to react upon right away accomplishes two major goals:
- It gives you valuable end-user feedback early so that you don’t waste time and money on developing something that isn’t necessary.
- It creates hype about your product and keeps your users engaged while they wait for the final version of your product.
Agile promises to deliver several benefits to teams working on an eCommerce development project and is a far better approach than traditional web development. It streamlines production and deliveries even at the initial stages and keeps the features coming, leading to continuous product development. Some of the benefits of using Agile for building an eCommerce business include higher speed, better product quality, flexibility, fewer risks, and rigorous testing.
The development of an eCommerce solution could be chaotic. Especially, when you have plenty of features to implement and products to add. But, by following agile development processes, you can streamline everything and develop a profitable eCommerce solution that maximizes conversions and sales. The key to building an eCommerce project successfully that satisfies clients and fulfills the needs of end-users is quick improvements, high quality, faster delivery, and minimal technical debits. Thankfully, by using Agile methodology you can accomplish all of these goals and deliver a profitable product fast.
So, will you plan to build your business the agile way? Tell us in the comments below!
Anup Mehrotra is the Vice President of Sales, Marketing & Partnerships for Envision eCommerce and Netsmartz. His expertise in building strategic partnerships, software product/service marketing, and demand/lead generation is focused on helping budding entrepreneurs build quality products fast. In his leisure time, he likes to read and write about software development and marketing.