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  • Project Management Process of an E-Commerce Solution Provider Justin M. Ha A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of BACHELOR OF APPLIED SCIENCE Supervisor: M.S. FoxDepartment of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
  • ABSTRACTThe main purpose of this research is to define a distinct project management process for an e-commerce solutions provider engaging in a project to create and launch a new web site. Thereare many generic project management models and system development life cycle models thathave been developed over the years. However, there are few available resources for managingprojects related to the e-commerce industry, and models designed specifically for e-commercesolutions providers are essentially non-existent. Such models would greatly benefit e-commercesolutions providers by offering a guideline relevant to the nature of their business, as well as thebasis in which further improvements can be made upon.The project management process described in this thesis was initiated with the hopes ofunderstanding the requirements of building a web site for a client. After a preliminary high-leveloutline of a project management process detailing the needs of an e-commerce solutions providerwas provided, knowledge gained from literature reviews as well as interviews with a CEO andproject managers involved in the industry was used to transform the outline into a completemodel of the project management process that could be followed.The outcome of this research is a project management process model e-commerce solutionsproviders can follow when a new web site is requested by a client. This model not only aims tocomplete a successful project, but also aims to carry out the project in competitive fashion.To ensure completion within the projected timeframe and within the proper scope, certainconditions are established from the outset, and full understanding and involvement are expectedfrom the client through every step of the process. A period of sixteen weeks is given to completea project, starting from initiation of the project to planning, execution, and final launch of theweb site. 2
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSI would like to express my most sincere gratitude to all the people that have helped me throughthis research. First and foremost, I would like to thank my supervisor Prof. Mark Fox, who gaveme an opportunity to work on this project with Novator Systems Ltd. and whose constructiveguidance and advice were crucial in completing this project. I would also like to thank the peopleat Novator Systems Ltd., Carine Jamison, Rebecca Taylor, David Chiu, and AdrienneMacWhirter, who generously gave up their time for me to gather the information required incompleting this project. I also owe special thanks to Peter Weiss at the engineering writing centreat the University of Toronto for his help in reconstructing the outline of the project, giving me aclearer view of this project‟s direction. Last, but not least, this project could have not beencompleted without the continuous encouragement and support from my family and friends, towhom I offer my sincere appreciation.Thank you all!University of Toronto, March 2008Justin M. Ha 3
  • TABLE OF CONTENTS1 Introduction ............................................................................................................................ 6 1.1 Background ................................................................................................................................. 6 1.2 Problem Area and Motivation ..................................................................................................... 9 1.3 Research Question .................................................................................................................... 10 1.4 Objectives .................................................................................................................................. 102 Literature Review .................................................................................................................. 11 2.1 Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce) ........................................................................................ 11 2.2 Project Management ................................................................................................................ 13 2.2.1 Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) ........................ 13 2.2.2 Project Management Knowledge Areas ............................................................................ 16 2.2.3 Project Constraints ............................................................................................................. 20 2.3 System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) ..................................................................................... 21 2.3.1 Waterfall Model ................................................................................................................. 23 2.3.2 Spiral Model ....................................................................................................................... 24 2.4 Adaptive Project Framework .................................................................................................... 253 Methodology ........................................................................................................................ 28 3.1 Project Approach ...................................................................................................................... 28 3.2 Project Procedure ..................................................................................................................... 314 Novator Systems Ltd. - Introduction ....................................................................................... 34 4.1 Company Presentation .............................................................................................................. 34 4.2 Virtual Retailer (VR) ................................................................................................................... 355 Novator Systems Ltd. – New Model: Standard Web Site Creation Process ............................... 36 5.1 Project Overview ....................................................................................................................... 36 5.2 Standard Web Site Creation Process ........................................................................................ 36 5.2.1 Prerequisite Conditions ..................................................................................................... 38 5.2.2 Project Initiation (week 0-1) .............................................................................................. 43 5.2.3 Requirements Analysis (week 1-2) ..................................................................................... 52 5.2.4 Design & Solution Specification (week 3-4) ....................................................................... 56 5.2.5 Integration Rapid Prototyping (week 3-9) ......................................................................... 66 5.2.6 Personal Accounts & Static Pages Build, QA, and UAT (week 5-6) .................................... 71 5.2.7 Home Page & Catalog Build, QA, and UAT (week 7-9) ...................................................... 74 5.2.8 Check Out Build, QA, and UAT (week 10-12) ..................................................................... 75 4
  • 5.2.9 Integration Testing, Performance Analysis, & UAT (week 13-16) ..................................... 766 Conclusion ............................................................................................................................ 80 6.1 Overall Conclusion .................................................................................................................... 80 6.2 Limitations ................................................................................................................................. 83 6.3 Suggestions for Future Research .............................................................................................. 84List of References ..................................................................................................................... 85Appendix A – Standard Fox Chart .............................................................................................. 87Appendix B – Unofficial Virtual Retailer Features Checklist ........................................................ 89Appendix C – Sample Test Case ................................................................................................. 93LIST OF FIGURESFigure 1. The Dimensions of Electronic Commerce ............................................................................. 12Figure 2. PMBOK® Guide Project Management Process Model .......................................................... 14Figure 3. PMBOK® Guide Project Management Knowledge Areas ..................................................... 17Figure 4. Project Management Triangle .............................................................................................. 20Figure 5. Waterfall Model .................................................................................................................... 23Figure 6. Spiral Model .......................................................................................................................... 25Figure 7. The Adaptive Project Framework ......................................................................................... 27Figure 8. Standard Web Site Creation Process model......................................................................... 29Figure 9. Initial Project Procedure ....................................................................................................... 32Figure 10. Sample FDTs: content layout templates and widget ......................................................... 41Figure 11. Sample Fox Chart ................................................................................................................ 46Figure 12. Sample Standard Data Mapping Document....................................................................... 56Figure 13. Sitemap ................................................................................................................................ 61Figure 14. User Flowchart .................................................................................................................... 62Figure 15. Sample Wireframe .............................................................................................................. 63Figure 16. Entity Relationship Diagram ............................................................................................... 70LIST OF TABLESTable 1. Organization Types ................................................................................................................. 12Table 2. PMI® Mapping of Process Groups to Knowledge Areas......................................................... 19Table 3. Standard Web Site Creation Process – 1. Project Initiation.................................................. 52Table 4. Standard Web Site Creation Process – 2. User Experience & VR Requirements Analysis ... 54Table 5. Standard Web Site Creation Process – 3. Integration Requirements Analysis .................... 57Table 6. Nielson’s General Usability Principles ................................................................................... 60Table 7. Content Matrix Column Items ............................................................................................... 65Table 8. Standard Web Site Creation Process – 4. Design & Solution Specifications ........................ 66Table 9. Standard Web Site Creation Process – 5. Integration Rapid Prototyping ............................ 70Table 10. Standard Web Site Creation Process – 6. Personal Accounts & Static Pages Build, QA, and UAT .... 74Table 11. Standard Web Site Creation Process – 7. Home Page & Catalog Build, QA, and UAT ....... 75Table 12. Standard Web Site Creation Process – 8. Check Out Build, QA, and UAT .......................... 76Table 13. Standard Web Site Creation Process – 9. Performance Analysis, Integration Testing & UAT ........... 79 5
  • 1. INTRODUCTIONIn this chapter, the research topic covered by this thesis will be introduced. First, an overview ofthe background and motivation for this research will be given, followed by the research questionand a brief discussion of research objectives. Finally, a summarized outline of this thesis will beprovided.1.1 BackgroundThe advancement of technology has transformed our society into a world where the World WideWeb can be accessed essentially anywhere. Browsing the internet can be done in the palm of ahand, and such devices are becoming increasingly common within society. Since the Internetwas opened to commercial use in 1991 [1], continuous rapid development of electroniccommerce (e-commerce) has turned e-commerce into a major sector of the economy. No longer anew way of doing business, e-commerce is now a market which businesses cannot ignore. In aglobal consumer report published by Nielsen in February 2008, “Trends in Online Shopping,” itis stated that 85% of internet users (875 million) have made an online purchase, with more thanhalf making such purchases regularly [2].When businesses decide to expand their markets to reach these potential customers, they findthemselves with three main options in launching their website. They can choose between setting-up their own server, using simple web hosting services, or using specialized e-commerceplatform providers to meet their needs. In this project, the focus will be placed on the case of e-commerce solution providers who offer expertise in building and managing online retail websites 6
  • to meet the needs and requirements of its clients.A number of advantages to choosing the option of seeking e-commerce solution providers tolaunch a website exist. For one, the e-commerce solution providers are able to give advice on thekey factors for structuring, operating, and managing an online retail website. They have years ofexperience, giving them knowledge of strategies that work and those that do not, and are alsomore likely to be up-to-date with new, relevant technology. In addition, they would be able tocustomize the website to meet specific needs and requirements of their clients, and could offertools that a client may not have initially considered. While undoubtedly more costly, this routeinvolves much less time and effort invested by the client in understanding the factors involved inlaunching and managing a successful online retail website.For the e-commerce solution provider, having to fulfill all the needs and requirements of theirclients could mean large project sizes and dynamic conditions. With the seemingly inevitablechanges in the business environment that occur constantly and rapidly, it is crucial for anorganization to be aware of and continuously adapt to the changes that surround the industry.Whether a shift in market conditions, development of new technology, or strategic elimination ofa competitor, how quickly the organization can respond appropriately is arguably one of the keycomponents in remaining competitive and succeeding in the industry. There is therefore agrowing need for businesses across industries to operate with a project approach. It is not asurprise that project management is considered by many business leaders and experts as the waveof the future [3]. 7
  • As new industry sectors develop and existing industries change the way they do business,questions about the concept and practices of project management arise. Many approaches tomanaging a project exist, depending on its nature. Several international organizations arecurrently attempting to standardize the notion of project management, such as ProjectManagement Institute (PMI® ) and International Project Management Association (IPMA).Regardless, project development typically passes sequentially through major stages of initiation(or defining), planning (or development), execution (or production), maintenance and controlling,and closing [3]. In addition, applications of project management have expanded greatly, asconcepts and techniques of project management are being applied not only within businesses, butalso to many organizations [4]. Does this mean the notion of project management is genericenough to be used throughout different industries, and can bring about significant results? Orwith the changing business environment, is there an emerging need for project managementprocess models to be industry-specific?One study [4] examined the project management sector to determine its transferability acrossdifferent industries. This study compared construction, information systems, pharmaceuticals,manufacturing, and utilities industries with respect to typical project size, project managementuncertainties, and qualifications of project managers. Results from the study found 80% ofproject management tasks being general across the industries, while the remaining 20% of taskswere industry-specific, supporting the notion of generic project management. Although the studyindicates that the test should only be treated as a pilot due to its limited sample size, it showedthat certain industries appeared to be more readily transferable to others, while some wouldrequire more additional training or education to do so. 8
  • 1.2 Problem Area and MotivationThis research intends to focus on the process model of project management and associated tasksperformed by the project managers through an analysis of the project management process increating and launching an e-retail website for new clients of Novator Systems Ltd., an e-commerce solutions provider. E-retail simply refers to the business of selling goods online overthe internet.The problem with project management processes that currently exist is that they are too generic.Existing project management models can be used as a reference for carrying out a project,meaning that it can provide a structure to be followed for essentially any project. However, itonly outlines the high-level phases that are required in managing a successful project anddemands very experienced project managers to bring in tools and related knowledge and skillsneeded.So what about new project managers with no experience? Would they need to go throughtriumphs and tribulations on their own before establishing a firm grasp of managing projects intheir respective industries? It would not be necessary if a standard model was developed out ofknowledge gained from years of experience specific to the e-commerce and e-retail industry. Allthe lessons learned from the successes and the failures could be of valuable information to beincorporated into further improving a project management model, if such a process existed.In the case of Novator, software systems are developed to offer e-commerce platforms to itsclients, along with other services such as managing and monitoring of online retail operations. 9
  • Therefore, Systems Development Life Cycle processes (SDLC) will also be incorporated in thisresearch. Two approaches of SDLC that were investigated are the traditional waterfall model,that follows linear stages, and the spiral model, which takes more of an iterative approach.1.3 Research QuestionWhat project management process model does an e-commerce solutions provider have increating and launching an online retail website of its clients? How are they similar or differentfrom the concept of conventional SDLC methodologies, and would adopting some of the featuresof SDLC methodologies help or hinder the success of an organization in the e-commerce world?1.4 ObjectiveThe main objective of this research is to analyze the current New Client Project Managementprocess of Novator Systems Ltd., used in launching an online retail website and managing theoperations of its clients. Then, a new Standard Web Site Creation Process will be developed toprovide a project management process model geared specifically towards Novator‟s managementmethods. It is my hope that the outcome of this project would be specific, but also genericenough for other e-commerce solutions providers to use as a process handbook. 10
  • 2. LITERATURE REVIEWThis chapter is intended to present basic knowledge and theories related to this research. Reviewof relevant literatures in the areas of electronic commerce, project management, and systemdevelopment life cycle will be provided with discussions where needed.2.1 Electronic Commerce (E-Commerce)As the technology developed over time to expand the capabilities of how information can betransferred electronically, the definition of e-commerce has taken on new meanings along with it.The notion of e-commerce initially emerged when Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) was firstdeveloped in the late 1960s and the initial standardization of EDI data format called ASC X12followed in 1984 [5]. EDI refers to the electronic transfer of business data between twobusinesses, and standardizing the EDI data format enabled different businesses to process thesedata universally [6]. From then, continuous development of software, applications, andadditional capabilities of the internet led to the formation of what e-commerce is today.In the present time, e-commerce can be defined in simplest terms as “the process of buying,selling, transferring, or exchanging products, services, and/or information via computernetworks” [7]. Even with this broad definition, how businesses operate in the means of e-commerce can differ by the degree of digitalization. Three dimensions of e-commerce have beendeveloped by [8], and are shown in Figure 1. E-commerce is only considered pure if all threedimensions of the product or service, the process of operations, and the delivery method are alldigitalized. Thus, it is important to note that an organization can choose to adopt all or partial 11
  • practices of e-commerce. An organization can be described in three generic types [7] as definedin Table 1. It is becoming increasingly common to see brick-and-mortar businesses converting toclick-and-mortar ones, shown by many retailers making a move to penetrate the online market,such as Walmart, Nike, and Best Buy. Figure 1. The Dimensions of Electronic Commerce, Source: [8]Table 1. Organization Types 12
  • When companies transition over to click-and-mortar from brick-and-mortar, e-commercesolution providers such as Novator come into play. It is the e-commerce solution providers thatdigitalize the dimension of process. The process of conducting business now moves on to theWorld Wide Web, where the customer can go to the website and order the product online.Degrees of product and delivery method can also be digitalized, depending on the type ofbusiness the client conducts, but the role of the e-commerce solutions provider deals withdigitalizing part or entire business process by enabling e-retail operations.2.2 Project ManagementProject management is a method of applying the set of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniquesbased on the accepted principles of management to project activities, in order to meet therequirements on time, within budget, and according to specifications [9, 10]. Projectmanagement process usually follows a series of similar steps, regardless of methodology. One ofthe project management process standards, developed by Project Management Institute (PMI® )will be briefly presented here, which covers the major steps and provides a good basis inunderstanding a general approach to project management.2.2.1 Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)PMBOK® Guide is a standard document published by PMI® , recognized as one of the standardinformation and practices of project management by various organizations for standardization[11]. PMBOK® Guide is organized into five high-level process groups (Figure 2) to describehow project management processes commonly interact. The five process groups are described by 13
  • [12] as follows: 1. Initiating In initiating processes, the project on hand is defined and authorized. Formal authorization is facilitated to start and commit to a new project, and the project manager is chosen. The business needs and the intentions of the project are documented, along with the outcome that is expected to be delivered by the end of the project. The preliminary scope of the project is set by defining boundaries, methods of acceptance, and high-level scope control. Figure 2. PMBOK® Guide Project Management Process Model, Source: [11] 2. Planning Planning processes involve defining and refining the objectives, thereby providing alternatives to choose the best course of action. How the rest of the project tasks will be done 14
  • is planned in detail, while the preliminary scope determined in initiating processes is furtherdefined. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is created, which is a document that defines thetotal scope of the project in an outcome-oriented manner [10]. It defines the required workand deliverables related to the project more comprehensively, and breaks it down into moremanageable components.Once specific activities are identified and sequence and dependencies among activities aredetermined, a work schedule is developed. Resources and duration for all activities areestimated in creating a project schedule. Cost is also estimated to establish a budget for theproject. Then, planning is done with respect to assigning responsibilities by staffing eachactivity, as well as management of the project, managing communication, risk analysis andmanagement of risks, and quality management by determining quality standards.The planning phase creates a roadmap on how the work is to be performed, as well as adecision tool in a sense that many alternatives are produced and the best alternative can beselected [9]. Throughout the planning phase, benefits of reducing uncertainty, increasingunderstanding, and improving the efficiency of the project can be gained [9].3. ExecutingDuring the execution processes, the plan is launched. All the planning of the project iscarried out by coordinating people and other resources necessary. Quality assurance isperformed to ensure all processes are employed in the project, as well as recommendingcorrective actions if needed. Project teams are acquired or developed to be assigned in 15
  • accomplishing the work. Any information or resources that need to be distributed is done during this phase. 4. Controlling and Monitoring Controlling and monitoring processes deals with measuring and monitoring progress regularly. To ensure that the project stays on course and objectives are being met, necessary corrective actions are taken when any inconsistencies are identified. Measures of performance are collected and the information is shared among the relevant groups. Any changes or alterations are controlled and implemented when approved. Risks identified during planning phase, as well as any new risks that arise, are managed through systematic approaches. 5. Closing In the process of closing, formal completion of the project work is done and acceptance of product, service, or result of the project is formalized. All the deliverables are installed or submitted, while project documentations and post-implementation audits are completed [9]. The final project report is issued and the project is closed.2.2.2 Project Management Knowledge AreasIn addition to the guide of project management processes, PMI® also defined nine PMKnowledge Areas to describe project management knowledge and practice in terms of theircomponent processes [11]. A framework of project management is shown in Figure 3, whichincludes nine knowledge areas, as well as stakeholders‟ needs and expectations, and project 16
  • management tools and techniques.Stakeholders simply refer to “anyone who has an interest in the outcome of the project” [9].They can be the people directly involved in a project, or ones that will be affected by the projectactivities. Today, tools and techniques are usually in the form of software which assists projectmanagers and project teams in managing scope, scheduling, cost, risks, and many other aspectsof project management [10]. Figure 3. PMBOK® Guide Project Management Knowledge Areas, Source: [10]Knowledge areas outline the key areas of expertise in which project managers should ideally beproficient [10]. The knowledge area of project integration management is an overarchingfunction that integrates different components developed by the project teams with respect to allother areas of knowledge [10, 13]. The other eight knowledge areas are divided into two types:core functions and facilitating functions. Core functions lead to defining specific objectives ofthe project, and include management knowledge areas of scope, time, cost, and quality.Facilitating functions, on the other hand, are the means through which the project objectives areachieved. It consists of human resources (HR), communications, risk, and procurement 17
  • management areas of knowledge. Brief descriptions of the eight knowledge areas are as follows[10, 13]:  Core knowledge areas:  Scope Management: defining what work is to be completed and ensuring that the focus does not drift away to perform any unnecessary work  Time Management: estimating the duration for the work to be completed in order to create a project schedule, while maintaining timely completion of the project  Cost Management: planning, preparing, and controlling the budget for the project  Quality Management: making sure the project satisfies the needs it originally intended to meet, such as stakeholder expectations  Facilitating knowledge areas:  HR Management: effectively planning and managing people involved with the project  Communications Management: collecting and generating information to disseminate appropriate communication to all parties involved  Risk Management: managing uncertainties by identifying, analyzing, and responding to risks related to the project  Procurement Management: acquiring or procuring goods and services required for the completion of the project from external sourcesHow PMBOK Guide‟s project management steps from previous section and the knowledge areas 18
  • are integrated is shown in table 2.Table 2. PMI® Mapping of Process Groups to Knowledge Areas 19
  • 2.2.3 Project ConstraintsTraditionally, achieving or exceeding the expectations of the customer and/or upper managementdetermines the quality and the success of a project [3]. During the pursuit of such anaccomplishment, project management is also bounded by constraints like any other task orproblem to be solved. The most well known model that depicts the constraints involved inproject management is the project management triangle in Figure 4. Figure 4. Project Management Triangle, Source: [3].Each of the three corners of the triangle represents a constraint in project management, which arethe scope (performance), cost, and time. These three constraints affect the final outcome of theproject, influencing the quality of the resulting output. Each constraint can be referred to as [14]:  Time constraint: amount of time available to complete a project  Cost constraint: budgeted amount available for the project  Scope constraint: what must be done to produce the projects end resultThere is a trade-off between these three constraints. For example, sometimes scope must becompromised to decrease the time and reduce the cost to complete the project. However, 20
  • relationships between these three constraints are not always correlated. The cost may be less todecrease the span of the project and minimize the overhead costs, but it can also be reduced byusing less efficient and cheaper methods that may take longer to complete.It is not a surprise that the four components of Figure 4 are the core functions of the nineknowledge areas mentioned in the previous section. A good project management must controlthese four areas to find the best balance among the constraints in achieving the best results.2.3. System Development Life Cycle (SDLC)In the context of information systems, project management can be further defined as the “processof planning and controlling the development of a system within a specified time frame at aminimum cost with the right functionality” [15]. As this research looks to focus on NovatorSystems Ltd.‟s services of providing an e-commerce solution involving software engineering,SDLC models will be looked at for this project.As the product life cycle of information technology industry, SDLC is the “process ofunderstanding how an information system can support business needs, designing the system,building it, and delivering it to users” [15]. There are different methodologies of SDLC forvarious project needs, but all have a similar set of four fundamental phases: planning, analysis,design, and implementation. These four phases can be summarized as follows [15]:  Planning Phase The planning phase identifies the business value the system will have on the organization. 21
  • The system request is presented, which briefly outlines the business need, and how thesystem that supports the need will create business value. A feasibility analysis is done toexamine critical aspects of the project. Once both the system request and feasibility analysisare authorized by the approval committee, it enters the project management, where a projectplan is created. The project plan describes the steps that will be taken to develop the system. Analysis PhaseThe question of who will use the system, what the system will do, and where and when itwill be used is answered in the analysis phase. Analysis strategy is developed to show thestate of the as-is system, while suggesting ways to design the to-be system. Requirementsgathering is done at this time and a system proposal is presented to the stakeholders to decidewhether the project should move forward. Design PhaseThe design strategy is developed to decide how the system will be designed. Once it hasbeen determined, the designing of one or more of architecture, interface, database and filespecification, and program takes place. System specification is then handed to theprogramming team for implementation. Implementation PhaseThe actual system is built during implementation phase. The system is first constructed andtested to ensure it performs as it was designed to do. Installation of the system follows wheretransition happens from the old system to the new system. The training plan and support plan 22
  • are established to minimize any fallout from the transition.Two models of SDLC will be presented in detail, which will also be used in comparing thecurrent processes of Novator.2.3.1 Waterfall ModelThe waterfall model is one of the traditional design methodologies still in use today [15]. Thedevelopment proceeds in a linear fashion from one phase to the next, as shown in Figure 5. Eachphase must be completed and approved before the next phase can begin, hence the dashed linesthat lead back to the preceding phase. Since the planning for the entire project is done at thebeginning, it must be done as completely and accurately as possible. Therefore, all the processesthroughout the project are under close watch to ensure all milestones are being reached on time,documents are completed and signed-off by appropriate personnel, and any issues that may ariseare managed. Figure 5. Waterfall Model, Source: [16] 23
  • 2.3.2 Spiral ModelThe spiral model takes on an incremental, rather than sequential, approach. A portion of a systemis built through a cycle of phases, and the cycle is repeated to add other parts of the system. Asshown in Figure 6, every cycle passes through the four quadrants where each quadrant representsa phase. The first phase is determining objectives, alternatives, and constraints of the iteration.The second phase consist of evaluating alternatives, as well as identifying and resolving risks,and is followed by the third phase of developing and verifying deliverables from the iteration.The last phase is planning for the next phase. Each cycle begins with identification ofstakeholders and their win condition, and ends with review and commitment [17].A unique principle of spiral model is that it focuses on assessing risk to minimize the risk of theoverall project. A project is broken down into smaller subdivisions to evaluate and weigh theassociated risks of each piece, and the riskiest or most difficult segment with respect to thesuccess of completing the project is tackled first [16]. These smaller segments make the projectmore flexible, allowing it to face any changes that may occur during the completion of theproject, as well as providing a chance to consider on whether or not further continuation of theproject seems feasible after each cycle [17]. 24
  • Figure 6. Spiral Model, Source: [16]2.4 Adaptive Project Framework (APF)APF is a method presented by Wysocki in his book, Effective Project Management 3rd Edition.As shown in Figure 7, APF is “an iterative and adaptive five-phase approach designed to delivermaximum business values to clients within the limits of their time and cost constraints” [9].Wysocki explains that treating scope as a variable is the fundamental concept underlying APF.APF aims to maximize business value by adjusting the scope at each iteration within specific 25
  • time and cost constraints. Planning is done just-in-time with APF to eliminate all the non-value-added work time that is wasted on planning activities that are never performed. As moreknowledge about the specific business situation is gained, APF continuously adapts to the newconditions. It is client-focused and client-driven, and is grounded in a set of immutable corevalues. The clients become the central figure during the each iteration, who decides on what isvalued the most and can choose to change the direction of the project based on new informationgained from the previous iterations. Change is embraced and not avoided to constantly correctthe course of the project.The APF core values are as follows [9]:  Client-Focused  Client Driven  Incremental Results Early and Often  Continuous Questioning and Introspection  Change Is Progress to a Better Solution  Don`t Speculate on the Future 26
  • Figure 7. The Adaptive Project Framework, Source: [9] 27
  • 3 METHODOLOGYThe opportunity and the motivation behind the research approach and the procedure used for thisresearch will be described in this chapter. Research process and its intended strategy will beexplained, as well as tools that were used.3.1 Project ApproachThis project was suggested by Professor Mark Fox, who is the Chairman and CEO of NovatorSystems Ltd. He proposed an idea of conducting a case study type of project to come up with aproject management process model that would fit Novator and could be feasibly and realisticallyimplemented. A generic structure of a project management process that captured Professor Fox‟sideal model for Novator was given (Figure 8), and my goal was to transform the genericstructure into an explicit and complete process model that was specifically geared towardsNovator and other e-commerce solution providers alike. Detailed procedures are outlined in thenext section. 28
  • Figure 8. Standard Web Site Creation Process modelContacts to various people at Novator were provided by Professor Fox as an additional source ofinformation other than himself. They included two project managers, Carine Jamison andRebecca Taylor, David Chiu, who is a product manager, and a web analyst, AdrienneMacWhirter. They were mainly consulted to understand the current situation at Novator, as wellas to learn of any changes that were deemed necessary through their experience. Information 29
  • gained through them and the general concepts learned through literature review were then to beutilized in developing the detailed and specific model designed for e-commerce solutionproviders.The nature of this research determined the project to take on a case study type of researchmethod. A case study is one of the five methodologies in conducting a qualitative studyclassified by John W. Creswell in his book published in 1998, Qualitative Inquiry and ResearchDesign: choosing among five traditions. This project is considered as a qualitative study that isoften used for projects with research question beginning with what or how, rather than why [18].This study does not have any major quantitative analysis, which aims to perform comparisons orfind correlations among set of data in determining either a cause and effect or relationshipbetween the variables [18].Although there are certain data that may be used in defining the characteristics of a project, suchas project duration time and cost measures, this project is not data driven, in that it does notintend to reduce duration and cost of the project specifically. This project is geared towardmanaging successful projects, which is to complete and meet the customer‟s requirements ontime. As e-commerce is often driven by the target customers of the client, projects vary in respectto size and scope depending on the client‟s needs and requests. Therefore, predeterminedconditions will be set out in an attempt to not limit, but control the flexibility in adapting to eachclient‟s unique business. This project hopes to provide a basis that can apply to all cases withpredetermined conditions to reduce the variability in scope and size of the projects and ensurethe project stays within scope. As a result, any measures of previously completed projects were 30
  • seem to have insignificant value in comparing with what the new model is to achieve, other thanthat this will ensure the goal of launching the web site initially will require much less time andless resources to complete.3.2 Project ProcedureThis project was initially to be done in a seven step process, as outlined in Figure 9. The topic ofresearch was determined during initial meetings with Professor Fox. With the topic confirmed, amore specific objective and the scope of the project were developed, as well as the expectedoutcome. Once the outline of the project was formalized, literature reviews were completed tounderstand the two most important aspect of this project: electronic commerce, and projectmanagement. The knowledge and information obtained through literature reviews provided thefundamental basis in understanding the topics surrounding this project and were applied bothdirectly and indirectly to this project.It was originally planned to model the current „New Client Project Management‟ at Novator toanalyze and identify the key components in improving the current model. However, as theoutline of the new process, „Standard Web Site Creation Process‟, was given, it was found, andagreed by Professor Fox, that it would not be useful in spending time to document the currentprocess. Having the outline of the new model allowed me to go straight into completing the newmodel, directly applying the information as they were gathered and analyzed.The main method of obtaining information was by setting up meetings with the project managers.Meetings were not scheduled regularly, but by the availabilities of the two project managers. 31
  • Meetings usually lasted from half an hour to an hour and an informal list of questions wasprepared for every visit. Conference calls and e-mails were also used when scheduling a meetingwas not possible. Figure 9. Initial Project Procedure 32
  • Many sample documentations, charts, presentation slides, and other resources were also studiedto obtain information. Sample documentations, figures, wireframes, mockups, and other visualswere very useful in gaining better understanding of how they were prepared and what they areused for. A number of presentation slides and tables were also provided, with detailed step-by-step instructions on preparing some of the documents, charts, and reports.The very first task was to find out what needed to be done in each of the nine activities in theStandard Web Site Creation Process (Figure 8). For example, key information and personnelmust be brought together during the Project Initiation, to start the project on a sound basis.Knowing the exact requirements of the activities, the tasks and tools that could be used tosuccessfully complete each of the activities were recommended. 33
  • 4. NOVATOR SYSTEMS LTD. - INTRODUCTIONThis chapter includes a brief introduction of Novator Systems Ltd. and the e-commerce platformVirtual Retailer that Novator uses.4.1 Company PresentationNovator is one of the leading e-commerce solutions providers in the industry. Not only does itprovide a highly specialized e-commerce platform with a wide range of software and technology,but also offer strategic retailing services of proven success. These attributes are ideal for thosebusinesses seeking services in both technology and online retailing expertise. Novator is built oncontinuous improvement and expertise gained through years of experience since 1994. Novatorvalues the growth of its clients to maintain long-term relationship and success of both parties.On the technical aspect, Novator creates an online e-retail website for its clients. With the teamof experts in web design and software developers, Novator is capable of uniquely customizingboth the interface and functionality of a web site to fit the needs and wants of each client.Novator boldly recognizes and understands the need of continuous improvement for the web siteto be successful. Consequently, Novator is dedicated to maintain long-term partnerships with itsclients to continuously go through post-launch process of adapting to the market that constantlychanges over time. 34
  • 4.2 Virtual Retailer (VR)Virtual Retailer (VR) is an e-commerce platform developed upon the knowledge and experiencegained over thirteen years by leading retailers, marketers, merchandisers, and e-commercespecialists. Many of the features embedded in the platform allow for high degrees ofcustomization so that each client can create and operate their e-Retail web site in a unique waythat distinguishes them from anyone else.Some of the key features of VR are listed below [19]: Microsites – Create Retail Data Model entities, microsites, data and design inheritance, and internationalization. Design and Content Management – Set up an asset library, page content management and scheduling. Search and Merchandising – Manage searches, guided navigation, search merchandising, cross-sell, up sell, kits and bundles. Product Management – Manage categories, images and inventory, create products, and define shipping and taxation rules. Personalization – Create microsites, targeted segments, profiles and business rule triggers. Loyalty – Manage customer accounts, address books, gifting, contests, tell a friend, loyalty points accumulation and redemption, gift cards, and customer reviews. Email Marketing, SEO and SEM – Create segmented and targeted email campaigns, organic search optimization, shopping comparison and marketplace data feeds. Customer Care – Use the CSR module to create and manage customers and their orders. Shop Cart and Order Management – Manage shopping carts, promotions, fraud, split shipping, multiple payment options, multi currency, multi language, order cancellation, fulfillment management, refunds and returns. Reporting and Analytics – Create ad hoc reports and analyze website traffic. B2B – Define various pricing options, order quantity restrictions, bulk add to cart and order processing, invoicing, and fulfillment routing. 35
  • 5. NOVATOR SYSTEMS LTD. – NEW MODEL: STANDARD WEB SITE CREATION PROCESSIn this chapter, a new project management model called Standard Web Site Creation Processwill be presented. This process model is to be followed when creating and launching a new website for the client. Standard Web Site Creation Process will be described in detail with in depthexplanations and reasoning behind the proposed steps.5.1 Project Management OverviewThe project enters project management when it is approved. In other words, the Statement ofWork, equivalent to a document that is commonly referred to as a project proposal, and thecontract are signed by the client. Therefore, it is assumed that the requirements of the client werereceived prior to executing this project management process and the client has agreed to the fourpreconditions that will be outlined. A Fox Chart that outlines a high-level schedule of milestonesand launch dates is set up, which will be discussed in detail later on, along with an annualschedule that identifies the major events to be performed for or by the client during a 12-monthperiod. These can include marketing campaigns, micro-site launches, hardware maintenance, andweb site performance analyses.5.2 Standard Web Site Creation ProcessThe Standard Web Site Creation Process is designed to provide the project manager with aproject management process model that can be followed when a new e-retail website is to becreated and launched for a new client. Unlike the generic project management and Systems 36
  • Development Life Cycle models that exist in the business, the Standard Web Site CreationProcess model is developed and geared specifically towards Novator Systems Ltd. and thebusinesses alike. The tools and techniques mentioned here are more specific and familiar toNovator, and they may be substituted with ones that serve the same purpose and are morepreferred by the company.The objective of the Standard Web Site Creation Process is to serve as a guideline in executingand completing a successful project of launching new e-retail websites. Having a project thatgoes exactly as initially planned are extremely rare. There are always unknowns anduncertainties that add on to the risk of the project, and the future simply is not always going to bethe way it is envisioned at the outset. Particularly when dealing with projects that aim to meet aclient‟s demands and requests, the client‟s inexperience and lack of knowledge may change theenvisioned finished product as they see the website gradually near completion. Thus, adheringto the preset temporal outline can ensure the project stays on course towards achieving its goals.Standard Web Site Creation Process aims to complete the project in four months. It is highlyschedule-intensive, as similar projects previously took eight to twelve months to complete. Ituses years of previous experience and knowledge gained by the CEO and project managers in theindustry to provide a structure and guidelines to the project management process. Methodologyto be used is given instead of having to assess the nature of the project and conditions to selectthe appropriate development methodology, as many generic models suggest. The projectmanagers can have a clearer definition of what is expected throughout the project and can betterguide the project to completion. 37
  • Standard Web Site Creation Process follows the model outlined in Figure 8 in section 3.1. Anumber of conditions that had must be met with the Standard Web Site Creation Process will bebriefly explained here, and detailed descriptions for each of the activities from the model willthen follow in the order of their occurrence. The three activities regarding hosting andmonitoring, however, are not included in the scope of this thesis project and are mentioned in thesuggestions for future research section. The three activities are hosting & monitoringrequirements analysis, hosting & monitoring build, and hosting & monitoring failover testing.5.2.1 Prerequisite ConditionsThe following preconditions are necessary to ensure that the project can be completed withinbudget and on time, as well as control the scope of the project: a. Client web site is to only use the features available in the current version of Virtual Retailer (VR). This condition is to be agreed on in the contract that would already be signed prior to entering project management process. Any ideas or requests of new features of the web site that arise during the course of the project are to be noted and negotiated after the launch of the web site. The advantage of the not allowing any customization during this project is to eliminate the time needed for feasibility analysis of technical and economic aspects, as well as the risk of uncertainties that come with it. Technical feasibility plainly refers to whether the system can be built or not with the resources and tools available to Novator. Economic feasibility deals with whether Novator will profit or lose money in building the customized system for the client. 38
  • Negotiation of price for customization work will need to take place, which can also prolong the project. Adding to the delay is the fact that the client may have to carry out feasibility testing of their own, in terms of organizational aspects. They may want to examine whether the customized feature they are asking for will be used to the extent that it will add value to their business. One major drawback is if the requested idea or feature is strongly envisioned by the client to be an essential part of their core business practice. The client may not want to add on a special feature after initially launching the web site. It can be argued that the time between the launch and implementation of customization work could be of lost benefit. The customized work being sought out by the client might even be the key component in establishing a business partnership. Therefore, with the reminder that the contract has already been signed at this point, the new feature must have been negotiated during contract signing or the client must follow the standard VR features. If customization work was to be considered, technical, economic, and organizational feasibility analysis would need to be conducted and agreed upon prior to the start of the project management process. The project scope, cost and timeline must then be reassessed accordingly to reflect the new condition, extending the project period if needed. It is important to communicate with the client to inform them of possible risks that may delay and increase the cost of the project.b. Client data format and communication protocols must conform to VR standards. This implies that the client will be able to provide data formats that are compatible with 39
  • VR standards. If the client is not able to fulfill this condition or does not wish to, this condition puts the responsibility on the client to build the custom code or data converters themselves. If the client is not capable of doing so, then it must be done by Novator, resulting in additional costs for the extra work, resources and time required. One way to achieve this condition is to have a standard data format document for each of the required areas in data feed. For example, there is a standard data structure for feeding data into the catalog that is different from loading data into the static pages. Therefore, all the different areas where the client is required to upload data should have its own specific standard mapping document prepared in advance. The standard data format documents must consist of a clear definition of data format and structure, leaving no ambiguity. It is to outline what is expected from the client, leaving no room for any other options. Hence, the mapping document places the onus on the client to ensure that their data format meets the VR standard.c. High percentage of Filling Description Templates (FDT) are reused. i. 90% reuse of personal accounts FDTs and actions ii. 70% reuse of catalog FDTs and actions iii. 90% reuse of check out FDTs and actions FDTs, such as that shown in Figure 10, divide the web page into sections, and are the graphical representations of what you see on the web page. The main FDT is called a content layout template that sets out the structure of a web page. For each of the sections in content layout templates, a number of widgets are also to be chosen. The client is free 40
  • to use each of the sections in the FDTs however they would like. Each of the sectionscan be used for navigation bars, banners, product displays, or any other visual and/ortextual content. However, they will not be able to request new templates and mustchoose an existing FDT that would best suit their envisioned website. Figure 10. Sample FDTs: content layout templates and widget 41
  • By using FDTs that are already created, the software developers do not have to spend time coding new templates for each client. They may only need to perform minor adjustments to the existing templates and quickly complete the web pages with the content specified by the client. The customers must understand prior to the project that they are only restricted to the spacing and structuring of the web site layouts, and can absolutely customize the visual appearance and theme of the web page to appear unique from any other site. Indicated by the percentages, some room for creating new FDTs are allowed. The percentages given above are not meant to be measured precisely, but to express the idea of how much FDTs should be aimed to be reused. Catalog has lesser percentage than other components because catalog is directly related to marketing and merchandizing, which may need specialized design to represent the uniqueness of the client‟s business.d. Quality Assurance (QA) is to be automated. Currently Novator performs QA testing manually, where the QA tester actually needs to go through each of the test cases step by step. Depending on the size of the project, the number of steps that must be tested can range easily to the hundreds. The time needed to run through all the test cases is unavoidable. What the QA automation software does is record how a user travels through the web site, being able to mimic the sequence of user interaction with the site. However, in order to do so, QA 42
  • must still be done manually the first time. Where automated QA holds a great advantage is when the software or the system is modified. After any changes are made to the web site, QA testing must be conducted again, including the test cases that have already passed. This is to ensure that any codes that were working properly were not affected during the process of fixing bugs and errors. Since the QA will be able to be rerun as often as is required, much time is saved from having to go through the test cases over and over again each time new code is created or existing codes are modified. There are two options in automating the QA testing. The company can either build in- house QA testing software, or such software can be purchased. It would be more favourable to purchase software, as costs associated with expending time, staff, and resources to build in-house automated QA testing software would be significantly higher. Considering the time and resources required to build in-house QA software, building automated QA software alone may be a project on its own, resulting in further increases in cost.5.2.2 Project Initiation (week 0-1)The Project Initiation brings key information and personnel together to start the project on athoroughly established basis. Project initiation consists of activities that must be done from thetime contracts are signed to the kick-off meeting. Since the project negotiations in terms ofbusiness partnership have been completed and the contract is signed, this initiation phase wouldonly require one or two days. However, project initiation can take more than a few daysdepending on the schedule of the initial kick-off meeting. There are four tasks to be completed 43
  • during the project initiation: create a Client Binder, prepare a Fox Chart, staff the project, andhold a kick-off meeting. The kick-off meeting is the task that may delay the project initiationbecause of the geographic location of the client and the schedules of both Novator employeesand its client. Availabilities of both parties may not allow their respective teams to meet rightaway, and therefore, the kick-off meeting is to mark the first day of the project.  Create Client Binder. The Client Binder physically stores all documentation related to the client. It serves as a single location where all current and future documentation, including any sign off sheets for client projects, can be found. These documents include contracts, amendments, status reports, Fox Charts, client signature pages, configuration/requirement documents, technical specifications, and change orders. The Client Binder is prepared once the contracts have been signed by the client and a business partnership has been established. It is to be in place before the kick-off meeting takes place, so that any additional documents from the meeting can be stored in the Client Binder immediately. Client binders are to be stored with the client team and must not be removed from Novator. A separate binder is to be created for each year so that Client Binders are organized by client name and year. For accessibility and control of security of the Client Binder, a company may consider an internal directory where scanned documents are to be uploaded. By uploading or scanning only the documents that need to be shared by multiple personnel or teams, the amount of information accessible by these individuals can be controlled. As a result, all of the required documents can be easily accessible by those who need them, and the security of 44
  • the documents can be monitored. Prepare Fox Chart. A Fox Chart (Figure 11) is a table that is used to track all the project milestones and events. It serves as a visual representation of when certain tasks and events are to occur or be delivered, allowing the project to move on successively. The Fox Chart is to be prepared prior to the kick-off meeting, so it may be discussed and communicated with the client and other stakeholders. A Fox Chart can easily be laid out on Microsoft Excel or similar spreadsheet software, so long as the client is able to view and edit the file as well. Project managers can use the Fox Chart as a Milestone Report, sharing and updating the client and other stakeholders on the status of a project and any changes. All the milestones and key events are filled along the first column and the time measures for scheduling are filled across the rest of the columns. Key events include the tasks that directly affect the project schedule from its delays or failures of completion. A standard Fox Chart that is to be used can be found in Appendix A, which is to be used to ensure all the required milestones and events are covered, and strict deadlines that must be followed have been delegated to each stage of the project. For Standard Web Site Creation Process, the time measure for scheduling is divided into weeks, and the date of the first day for each week must be filled in. The first week usually is the week after the contract is signed, but may be pushed back if the kick-off meeting cannot be held the following week. Then, projected deadlines for each milestones and events must be replaced by specific dates. For example, if the projected deadline was “end of week 2”, the actual date of the Friday of 45
  • Figure 11. Sample Fox Chart, Source: [20]the second week would need to be filled in.As not all projects are the same, additional milestones and events may be identified. In thecase of additional items that are more unique to a particular project, appropriate scheduledates that do not affect the release date of the web site are filled in. It should be kept inmind, however, that any changes to the standard Fox Chart should be kept to minimum.All the milestones and events are distinguished by the responsible organization. They arecolour-coded to differentiate the various tasks for which each person is responsible, with 46
  • each individual assigned a specific colour. A different colour background is also used on the column for the current week to indicate which week the project is on. The chart is constantly updated as the project moves on, tracking the status of milestones and events. For example, if a certain milestone was scheduled to be done during the third week, it is marked “complete” under week 3 if it was done as scheduled. However, if it was not completed as scheduled, a new due date is recorded under the week it was supposed to be completed and an explanation for the reason for delay is to be added. This explanation is noted in the missed milestone table that is located below the first table with milestones and events. The explanation for the delay is linked by using a superscript number beside the new date that corresponds to the note number in the missed milestone table. When the Fox Chart is sent to the client and other stakeholders, it may be useful to add a summary page that outlines the status of the upcoming releases and currently ongoing projects, as well as information of critical issues that must be addressed immediately. Detailed information on the above areas can be added on the Fox Chart file itself, but it may be helpful to include a brief summary into the body of the e-mail, as some individuals may not even open the report. Staff Project. The project team must be assembled before the kick-off meeting, so that the team members who attend the kick-off meeting are the members who will actually be working on the project. This project requires one project manager, two software developers, two interface designers, and one quality assurance analyst. Even though this project may appear schedule intensive, adding additional personnel in order to speed up 47
  • the process should be avoided. In system development, adding more personnel can potentially lengthen the project duration as the need for coordination increases exponentially [15], implying that developers and designers will spend less time actually working on the project. Hold Kick-off Meeting. The first two days of the project should be spent meeting with the client‟s team of representatives (i.e. VP, PM) and implementers (i.e. marketing, IT). This is a great way to build a relationship with the clients and review all relevant information regarding the project. Risks surrounding the project are identified and shared from the beginning, and a communication network is to be established to ensure that the appropriate personnel from each party are in contact with each other. Novator is to provide a list of what is required by the client at this time, clearly explaining why each item is required. They include a list of requirements for the design of the web site (i.e. logo, colour scheme, etc.), any text or messages (company information, error messages, navigation tabs, etc), data feeds (catalog, product images, SKU information, etc.), and what type of reporting they would like to be able to see. This is to ensure that the client is aware of all the items that must be provided along the course of the project, and prepares them with a general timeline in hope of preventing any unnecessary delays. A checklist can be used to speed up the process, as the client is not likely to have any initial idea on the details of what they would like on the web site. For example, it would be better to provide a list of error situations a customer would commonly face, and a list of error messages that corresponding to the situation could be attached for the client to 48
  • choose from. In the case of data feeds, the client would not know what kind of data theyare required to send, and how the data should be formatted. The type of reporting that theclient can choose from is a similar case, as it is highly likely that the client could requesta type of report that does not exist at all in VR. Deadlines must be given to ensure that theclient is aware of and is able to provide all the necessary information and requirements bythe dates specified to avoid delaying the project.The checklist of VR features reflecting what the client has requested prior to the contractsigning is prepared. A sample checklist that captures the concept of the VR featurechecklist but not the official list of features can be found in Appendix B. In addition tofeatures that were requested by the client, those which may be of interest to the client orpartially reflect their desires are run through with the client. Each feature is to beexplained in detail to make sure that the client understands the function of each feature.Features on the checklist that clients may not have considered are also briefly mentioned,as the clients are open to choosing new features. Some features that they may not haveoriginally considered may appeal to the client. If new features are chosen, however, extracosts would be incurred. Clients are given a target date within the first week to informNovator of which features they want and how they want their web site to work. Anypossible customization work can also be requested, but will only be logged at the time ofVR feature selection and be considered during post-launch stage.It is equally important for technical personnel from both sides to discuss and understandthe necessary technical requirements. Briefly talking about the current system network 49
  • structure and the software applications being used by the respective organizations can give a general indication of what would be needed in integrating the data between the two parties.There are also two techniques that can be used to keep the project team on track, the dailyscrums and the ticketing system.  Establish Daily Scrums. The standard web site creation process must follow a very strict timeline, meaning that the progress must be made quickly. Thus, daily scrums can be used to coordinate and keep the team on track on a daily basis. The project manager is to act as a scrum master, who conducts the scrum meetings. A daily scrum is a meeting that is held each day, where all team members are required to attend. It is best to keep a sense of consistency with respect to the time and location of the meeting. Preferably, these meetings should be held in the morning, as it can set the framework of the day‟s work [21]. Other personnel around the company, such as a team member of another project or a VP, may attend the meeting, but would only be able to listen, as the daily scrum is not meant to be a status report given to the boss [21]. Every member who attends is given the opportunity to answer three questions: what they have done since the last scrum, what impediments they may have faced, and what they will do by the time of the next scrum [22]. This is an exceptional method for bringing any issues that are currently being faced or are foreseen for the future out into the open. Any 50
  • problems that are brought up are taken offline and dealt by the relevant sub-group after the scrum, so that daily scrums are not used for problem resolution [21]. Rather, it is for people to give an update and make a commitment to each other of what work will be completed by the following day [21]. Utilize Task Ticketing System. Whether it is an internal database with simple interface or an online software, a task ticketing system needs to be set up to delegate project tasks to the team members. Access should be given to all the project members to be able to view all the tickets created for the project. Each entry in the project should have the following basic attributes: - entry ID# - name of the task - description of the task - person responsible for the task - date of when the ticket was opened - due date of the task - status of the task (ie. started, in progress, completed) - notes (where any of the team members can comment on) This allows all team members to be aware of what is being done and which individual is working on them. Also, any tasks that are not being handled or are being delayed can be easily identified and addressed immediately. E-mail notifications can also be triggered to the team member when a ticket is created for them, or when any updates were made to their assigned tickets. 51
  • Table 3. Standard Web Site Creation Process – 1. Project Initiation 1. Project Initiation (week 0-1) Time Task Description LineCreate Client Binder Prepared  Storage place for all client related documentation is prior to the created. Documents include contracts, amendments, kick-off meeting status reports, Fox Charts, client signature pages, configuration/requirement documents, technical specifications, and change orders.Create Fox Chart Prepared  Status of the project is visually represented. Tracks the prior to the progress of all the milestones and key events, indicating kick-off meetings completions and delays, as well as upcoming deadlines.Staff Project Prepared  This project is to have the following standard number of prior to the people involved: kick-off meeting  1 Project Manager  2 Software Developers  2 Interface Designers  1 Quality Assurance Analyst  These roles must be filled before the kick-off meeting.Hold Kick-off Meeting First 1 – 2  Initiate the project, coming to a mutual understanding of days of the what is expected through the project. All the key project stakeholders of the project are acquainted and communication network is established. Any risks are identified to ensure they are handled appropriately upfront.Establish Daily Scrums Prepared  Set a time and location of where the scrums will take at the start place daily. of the projectUtilize Task Ticketing Prepared  All team members are set up on a task ticketing systemSystem at the start and notified to check the system frequently. of the project5.2.3 Requirements Analysis (week 1 - 2)The fundamental procedure of understanding what the system will do and how it will be built isdone during the requirements analysis phase. The requirements analysis phase is to be completedwithin two weeks from the time of the start of the project. As the kick-off meeting marks the firstday of the project, a requirements analysis must be completed over the rest of the week and the 52
  • week following the kick-off meeting. It is essential that Novator and the client gain completeunderstanding and share common expectations of the web site during this phase.The three activities that are to be completed during this phase are User Experience & VRRequirements Analysis, Integration Requirements Analysis, and Hosting and MonitoringRequirements Analysis. All the functionalities and the design of the web site requested by theclient are finalized during user experience & VR requirements analysis, while technicalrequirements are communicated to the client during integration requirements analysis. Asmentioned earlier, hosting and monitoring requirements analysis will not be covered in thisreport. All three activities are done simultaneously and must be done within, or even prior to thefirst two weeks of the project.All the necessary features are expected to have been introduced to the client during the kick-offmeeting, with greater emphasis given to those pertaining to the client‟s needs and interests.Ideally, sufficient information should have been exchanged during the kick-off meeting for theclient to be able to conceptualize how their web site is to function and appear within theboundaries of what Novator is prepared to offer. If many uncertainties remain or unexplainedfeatures were left from the kick-off meeting, it would be beneficial to arrange another meeting tomeet in person with the clients. The majority of the requirements from the client and the featuresVR offer should be clearly understood by both parties, leaving minimal ambiguity anduncertainty before communication is shifted to e-mails and phone calls. Minor details or issuesthat could be addressed quickly should be left to communication through e-mails or conferencecalls. 53
  • Details of the user experience & VR requirements analysis is as follows:  Determine Features/Functionalities. Clients were introduced to the features of VR during the kickoff meeting in project initiation. The feature determination process deals with deciding upon the intended functionalities of the web site. It begins with the client notifying Novator of which features they wish to have on their web site. The key during the user experience & VR requirements analysis is to minimize or even eliminate any assumptions by coming to a complete understanding with the client on how the web site is going to work. By knowing exactly how the web site is expected to function, any risks in creating the wrong or incomplete components of the web site will be greatly reduced. Going through the features one by one, the key question to ask the client in eliminating assumptions is how they envision and expect a particular feature to work. This requires the client to explain how they foresee the function of various features, so that any misunderstanding with respect to certain aspects of the web site may be corrected. Other capabilities may also be discussed so as to achieve the intended function of the web site. Client should be prompted to imagine how their user may use the feature on the web site to discuss its effectiveness, and assess whether other choices may be better suited to their needs.Table 4. Standard Web Site Creation Process – 2. User Experience & VR Requirements Analysis 2. User Experience & VR Requirements Analysis (week 1-2) Time Task Description LineDetermine Features / Completed  Intended functionalities of the web site are determined.Functionalities by end of Novator and the client must share common vision of how nd 2 week of the project the web site is going to look and function. 54
  • The outcome of user experience & VR requirements analysis should be the complete checklist ofVR list with appropriate explanations on requests from the client if needed. This is fed into theDesign & Solution Specifications phase. This checklist represents the overall requirements forthe client project, indicating the features and functionalities that a customer can expect to see onthe client‟s web site. This checklist must be completed and signed off before moving into thedesign & solution specifications phase. By signing off the final checklist, the client‟s acceptanceand approval of the features of their web site is given. It also can be used to prevent the clientfrom requesting the addition of new features. Customers should be aware that any new changesto the site‟s functionalities are not allowed and are to be discussed after the initial launch of theweb site. This is to avoid any scope creep, which refers to a situation when a new feature isadded to the project after system design is finalized [23]. It can be expensive to incorporate thechange, and reworking is often very costly and time consuming.While the marketing team presents how they want their site to operate, technical people are todrive how the site is going to work. As stated in one of the preconditions, the client is obligatedto ensure that their data format and communication protocols meet the VR standards. Therefore,only thing that must be done during integration requirements analysis is to work with the clienton identifying the differences between the data feeds used in both parties. Standard mappingdocuments described in the prerequisite conditions section is provided to the client and runthrough to make certain that the client is able to conform to what is expected. The onus is placedon the client to convert their data format if needed, and creating custom code for the clientshould be the last option considered. Extra costs must be negotiated if any custom code is to bebuilt, and it must start as soon as possible. 55
  • Details of the integration requirements analysis is as follows:  Educate Client on VR Standards. Communication with the client‟s technical personnel is facilitated at an early stage of the project to ensure the client would be able to submit the data when needed. Integration requirement analysis occurs concurrently with respect to user experience & VR requirements analysis. As the requirements of the website are being determined, which application protocol interfaces (API) and data fields will be used are identified. Technical personnel from the client‟s team will then receive the standard mapping documents for the corresponding data types. An example of standardized data mapping document is shown in Figure 12. The clients should be encouraged to ask questions if any instructions are unclear or whether they foresee difficulties in conforming to the expected communication protocols or data formats. Figure 12. Sample Standard Data Mapping Document, Source: [24] 56
  • Table 5. Standard Web Site Creation Process – 3. Integration Requirements Analysis 3. Integration Requirements Analysis (week 1-2) Time Task Description LineEducate Client on VR Completed  Ensure the client understands the certain ways the dataStandards by end of nd 2 week of are expected. There are various data formats and the project communication protocols required throughout the course of the project, and the client must be able to meet all the requirements.At the end of the integration requirements analysis, feasibility in terms of capabilities andcompatibility of respective systems must be outlined to ensure the software can be implementedand any data transfers between the two systems will be possible.5.2.4 Design & Solution Specifications (week 3 - 4)After all the requirements have been gathered and defined, the project enters the phase of Designand Solution Specifications. This is when the transition from requirements to design happens. Allitems discussed during the requirements gathering are documented and visualized, creating ablueprint for the new web site. This is captured in a document called the user interfacespecifications document, also referred to as the UI Specifications document. Mockups andcontent matrices are also developed during this phase.A large part of design and solution specifications is designing the user interface. Interface designaims to create the “top layer” of the web site, one that is visually pleasant and easy to use. It alsomust be realized that the layout and appearance of the web site is more than just cosmetics and 57
  • aesthetics. Interface design is closely linked to the functionality of the web site, determining theposition and space of the contents, as well as the navigational style of the web site. Therefore,interface design cannot be done without cooperation from the client.With the requirements of the web site determined, Novator must provide early notices to theclient on when certain responses or contents are needed as the UI Specifications document andthe mockups are created. For example, issues such as knowing the client will need a homepage,deadline to choose the FDT for the home page and submit all the contents (such as banners andnavigation tab images) should be communicated to the client as soon as possible. In turn, quickresponses from the client in providing approvals, revisions, or submission of required images andtexts ensure that the job can stay on track. The client can have internal graphic designers or useexternal creative agencies to create all graphics and images required. If an external agency isused, they must also understand the need for prompt responses and submissions to stay on coursewith the release date for the web site.All three deliverables of this phase, the UI Specifications document, mock-ups, and the contentmatrix, must be signed off by the client before the project moves on. Complete approval isrequired to ensure that the web site to be built matches the one client envisions. It may beacceptable to drag this week, in order maximize clarity and minimize the amount of assumptionsin building the web site. This additional step is not meant to further push back the launch date,but instead allows developers to being creating portions of the website that have already beenapproved. Having more ambiguity and assumptions increases the risk of potentially pushing backproject deadlines. The developers may be forced to stop the progress due to incompleteinformation, or may have to rework the site. It is better to fix the outline of the web site before 58
  • coding begins, as rework tends take longer than coding from scratch. Also, the client should bereminded that no changes are permitted once the UI Specifications document and the mockupsare signed and construction of the web site begins.Details of the four tasks involved in design and solutions specifications are as follows:  Educate Client on Design Guidelines. The spaces provided by the FDTs are freely used by the client. They can utilize the space to create the look and feel they want to convey to the users on the web site. However, it may be necessary to educate the client on methods of interface design that are effective and easy to use. The client may be so focused on aesthetics that their designs may hinder or conflict with the usefulness and the value of the web site. One general usability principle identified by Nielson is shown in Table 6. This, or any other list of guidelines or principles that serve the same purpose, can be used to provide information and direction to the client during the content design process. Although not all may be actually applied in their portion of the interface design, having the client understand the guidelines Novator uses can help them to see and appreciate the value in the interface designs Novator creates as well. Another aspect to look at when designing interfaces is the search engine optimization (SEO). SEO refers to the “process of improving the quantity and quality of visitors to a site from organic search engine results for targeted keywords” [26]. In other words, the web site is edited to appear as high on the list of search results as possible. This is generally achieved by designing the content and HTML coding in a way that increases the relevancy in keywords, and removing barriers to indexing activities of search engines [27]. It would be ideal for an e-commerce solution provider to be equipped with 59
  • knowledge in SEO, so the client does not have to engage other external consultants who provide SEO services.Table 6. Nielson’s General Usability Principles, Source: [25] 60
  •  Create User Interface Specifications Document. The UI Specifications document defines those features of the web site previously determined through requirements analysis. It provides page-by-page illustrations of the web site from an external user‟s point of view and consists of three main sections [28]. The first section consists of either one or both of the sitemap and content matrix that lay out the total page scope and the hierarchy of the web site to be built. Sitemap is any form of visual representation of the web site architecture, and content matrix simply refers to a list of all the contents on the web site [29, 30]. Example of a sitemap is shown in Figure 13, and content matrix is discussed in more detail in the next section. Figure 13. Sitemap 61
  • Next, common interactions and navigation routes a user may take through the web site isdescribed through the user flowcharts and associated usage scenarios. User flowchartsgraphically represent the process a user goes through, using “suitably annotatedgeometric figures connected by flowlines for the purpose of designing or documenting aprocess or program” [25]. Figure 14 shows an example of a user flowchart. Usagescenarios are simply a step-by-step description of events or actions that occur while a userinteracts with a system [26]. Figure 14. User FlowchartLastly, a set of wireframes are included to depict each page or screen described in the userflowchart. Wireframes are precise behaviors of every functional element and are definedby standard set of descriptions that is included along with the wireframes [28]. Whencreating the wireframes, the interface designers must remember to reuse as much FDTs asthey can, to minimize the extra work for the software developers when they actually buildthe web site. Example of what a wireframe may look like is shown in Figure 15. 62
  • Figure 15. Sample Wireframe, Source: [28] 63
  • It is ideal for UI Specifications document to be completed and signed off by the client by the end of the fourth week. However, it may be necessary to complete the document in portions to allow the web site creation to stay on course of being completed in sixteen weeks. The portions are to follow the sequence of all personal account and static pages being completed first, followed by the home page and the catalog, and lastly the check out pages. This is done to allow the commencement of mockup creations that need to be prepared prior to the web site construction. The mockups can only be created when the portions of UI Specifications document are signed off by the client and associated contents are received. The ordering lets the software developers start building the personal account and static pages at the beginning of week five as scheduled. Once all the portions of the UI Specifications document are completed, a final document is compiled and signed off by the client. Only the functional representations of the elements on each page are contained in the UI Specifications document [28]. The appearance of the web pages or technical implementation procedure is not included in the document. It does, however, include specifications required for development of technical schemes, code, and visual design for the web site [28]. Therefore, the client is able to gain the full knowledge of all the contents to be added with respect to both technical and creative development. Create Content Matrix. A content matrix is created only if the client requests it. It outlines all the content to be on the web site, including texts, button names, and product details. This document can be used to specify the merchandizing information for the web 64
  • site. It shows how the products will be merchandized and promoted throughout the various parts of the web site. Table 7 describes the possible items that go along the columns of content matrix.Table 7. Content Matrix Column Items  Create Mockups. Mockups are the visual models that demonstrate the actual look and the feel of the web pages. They are usually an image that corresponds to the wireframes with actual contents incorporated in them. Mockups are not meant to be used for testing and do not have any functional capabilities embedded within them. They simply show the client what they can aesthetically expect of their web site. A clear vision of what the web site will look like and what it will do should be clear at the end of the design and solution specifications. Having a comprehensible and accurate plan leads to smoother creation and implementation of the new web site [15]. It is required for the UI Specifications document to be completed and signed by the client before the start of web site construction. Not all mockups, however, are required to be finished by the end of design and solution specifications, as long as the mockups for the web site components are finished prior to its development. 65
  • Table 8. Standard Web Site Creation Process – 4. Design & Solution Specifications 4. Design & Solution Specifications (week 3-4) Time Task Description LineEducate Client on Completed  Assist client in understanding the principles behindDesign Guidelines by the first creating an effective and usable web site. Guidelines on rd day of 3 week of heuristics for interface design and SEO can be used. the projectCreate User Interface Completed  Features are explicitly defined and each of the pages isSpecification Document by end of illustrated with descriptions of the functionalities and the nd 2 week of the project flow between the pages. Includes wireframes that lays out the structure of the page.Create Content Matrix Completed  Lists all the contents included on the web site. Only by end of done when requested. nd 2 week of the projectCreate Mockups Completed  Complete visual models of each page are created. by end of Wireframes are populated with actual contents but no nd 2 week of the project functionality is embedded.5.2.5 Integration Rapid Prototyping (week 3 - 9)The primary objective of Integration Rapid Prototyping is to move the process of actuallybuilding the web site as quickly as possible. This is done in two ways: testing both protocols anddata sets using rapid prototyping methodology, and by having the required data loaded into VRprior to building the web site. It is extremely important to make sure that communication ishappening properly between Novator, the client, and all the third parties involved during thisphase. It is also essential that the proper data type is commonly known between all theorganizations involved. The two tasks are described as below:  Test Protocols and Data Sets. From the requirements analysis phase, the client would have been educated on the way data is expected by Novator, and should have begun 66
  • preparing data converters if necessary. If custom code is required of Novator by the client, it is built at this time. Once the data transfer method is established, a sample set of data is to be loaded onto VR. This sample data set is validated to ensure the data is being properly populated into its appropriate fields. If any problems arise, it would be identified early and can be fixed prior to working on the interface. Communication protocols and data required for personal accounts and static pages are tested first and should be aimed to be completed by the middle of the fourth week. The client would be able to begin uploading production data for personal accounts and static pages, which are to be built starting in week five. Home page and catalog data are then tested, followed by the check out data. Another option is to give the client access to the loader application for VR and have them upload the data themselves. This would put the onus on the client to ensure the data is uploaded correctly and would completely remove Novator from any responsibility of manipulating the data for the client. Novator, however, would still have to be available for assistance and validation of loaded data to ensure they are correctly populating the appropriate fields in VR. Load Production Data into VR. There is a very specific timeline to integration rapid prototyping. All the data required for personal accounts and static pages needed to be received and be uploaded into VR by end of the fourth week. This allows the software developers to begin building the personal accounts and static pages at the start of the fifth 67
  • week and have the data available when they are needed to avoid any delays.If the client currently does not have an e-Retail web site, there would not be any dataneeding to be uploaded for personal accounts. However, if the client has an existing website, loading existing personal accounts from their previous web site into the new systemmay cause problems. For example, the current web site may not have certain informationthat the new system considers mandatory. One possible solution is use stubs to assigndefault value to all the customers that would allow QA and User Acceptance Testing(UAT) to be completed. Customers can be prompted to enter the missing informationwhen they login for the first time after the new web site is launched. A stub is aplaceholder for a missing module that either returns a simple message or hardcoded value[15].The data required for personal accounts are the personal information that a customerwould need to provide in registering an account on the web site. They includeinformation such as login, name, home address, phone number, and an e-mail address.Static pages are the pages that return the exact same response every time they arerequested [31]. In other words, static pages will appear the same for all users when thepage is opened. Examples of static pages include company info, careers, customer service,and FAQ pages. This information consists usually of simple text that only needs to becopied and pasted from one location to another.Data feeds for the home page and catalog should be completed by the end of the sixth 68
  • week. It is not necessary to wait until the end of the fourth week to begin uploading homepage and catalog data, if data for personal accounts and static pages finish uploadingearlier than the deadline given.Data for the home page and catalog may include a huge amount of external feeds. Theyinclude all the category and product information, such as product images, stock-keepingunit (SKU) numbers, product specifications, available colours and inventory,merchandising information, such as merchandise mapping, cross-sells, up sells, and otherinformation and content to be displayed on the web site such as any flash presentations.With such a large number of data feeds with many interconnecting relationships betweenthem, the use of an entity relationship diagram can provide a visual representation of thelogical interrelationships between the entities in a database [32]. Example of entityrelationship diagram is shown in Figure 16.All the necessary data for check out, such as shipping and warehouse information, are tobe received by the end of week nine. An additional task is required for the check outcomponent of the website, which is to be able to generate order feed files. The output ofshopping cart at the time of check out must be transmitted to 3rd party systems, such as anonline payment solution provider like PayPal™. It would be preferred to have the clientschoose to use 3rd parties that Novator has partnerships with or has worked with previously,as Novator can reuse the data converters or custom codes that were used before. However,if the customer chooses to use either their own system or other external companies, orderfeed files must be created in a way that matches the recipients‟ data format. 69
  • Figure 16. Entity Relationship Diagram, Source: [33]Table 9. Standard Web Site Creation Process – 5. Integration Rapid Prototyping 5. Integration Rapid Prototyping (week 3-9) Time Task Description LineTest Protocols and Data As early as  Ensure all the communication protocols and data areSets possible tested and client is ready to feed data into VR. Proper before the th 10 week data format among Novator, client, and 3rd parties are of the communicated and understood. projectLoad Production Data As early as  Ensure all the data required for the web site are receivedinto VR possible prior to it being built. In addition, any order feed file before the th 10 week generation must be enabled and setup to properly of the transmit to all the 3rd party systems involved. project 70
  • 5.2.6 Personal Accounts & Static Pages Build, QA, and UAT (week 5 – 6)The actual construction of the new web site occurs during the eight weeks of the execution phaseof the project, and Personal Accounts & Static Pages Build, QA, and UAT is done during the firsttwo weeks for the execution phase. The UI Specification document is transformed into a workingweb site by the software developers, while the quality assurance analyst begins to design varioustest cases that will be performed on the new web site.The web site is split up into three components that are scheduled to be built in sequence. Themajor reason for dividing the web site into three parts and scheduling it sequentially is topromote the sense of urgency in building the web site. Instead of giving eight weeks to completeconstruction of the site like generic models, a tighter schedule is given to have softwaredevelopers finish each component promptly. Essentially, the psychological implications of alarger time frame may lead software developers to believe that they have more time than isactually available to complete construction of the web site. This can cause the project to bedelayed due to reasons such as incompletion, errors, or not enough time to fully test the web site.Therefore, specific deadlines set for the completion of the three components will keep the timeframe of construction of the web site within eight weeks. It would also encourage the developersto work evenly and more punctually, while recognizing that each component is under stricttimeline to be tested for QA and made available for UAT.There are three tasks involved with creating personal accounts and static pages.  Design Personal Accounts and static pages. UI Specifications document and the 71
  • mockups for personal accounts and static pages are received at this point, and the software developers can start building the pages corresponding to the mockups. With 90% of the FDTs being reused and integration development completed for personal accounts, building of the web site should go smoothly. During this time, it is the responsibility of the project manager to use the task ticketing system to assign program modules to the software developers. To keep the dependability between the modules to minimum, the modules must be kept as decomposed and distinct as possible [15]. Project managers should assess the skills and experience of the developer in assigning tasks according to their complexity, and the same developer should be assigned to related modules. Additional training or skills deficiencies are assumed to be minimal, because FDTs are reused at a high rate for this project. The three areas of development, testing, and production should be clearly separated when the web site is being constructed [15]. All the files and data can be set apart into different directories on different servers, depending on their status of completion. This is done to keep the project organized and ensure tested modules are not accidently changed or completed modules are not modified. Perform Quality Assurance (QA). A test plan is developed by the quality assurance analyst. The test plan outlines all the test cases designed by the quality assurance analyst that cover all the possible scenarios for each of the test cases. This includes testing for scenarios where a certain function is to fail, making sure errors are accurately captured 72
  • and proper alerts are in place to notify the user on the details of the error. Tests for a valid input, invalid input, and a wrong data type should be conducted to make sure the system can verify data and data types are properly checked. These test cases should directly reflect the requirements determined by the client during the requirements analysis phase. A sample test case can be found in Appendix C. The test cases consist of very detailed step by step instructions in completing the scenario. Expected results of every step are given, and if any steps of the test case fail, a ticket is created for the developer or designer to fix the issue. The test cases are conducted when all the personal accounts and static pages have been built in order to verify that the web site does what it was intended to do. As the entire web site is not built at this point, software developers can use stubs for unfinished components to allow finished modules to be tested. With automated QA in place, it would only require the QA analyst to perform the test once, and it would then mimic the test the next time an analysis was required. Perform User Acceptance Testing (UAT). UATs are done by the users, in this case, the client. The QA analyst provides the client with test cases that reflect how a user would perform the tasks on the web site. They may be identical to the ones used for QA testing, but are revised to remove any steps that the client would not be able to test. Once the user performs and passes the test, they can be stored into the tested area until system integration takes place. If the client discovers any error or deviation from the 73
  • requirements, the client is to contact Novator immediately to address the issue.Table 10. Standard Web Site Creation Process – 6. Personal Accounts & Static Pages Build, QA, and UAT 6. Personal Accounts & Static Pages Build, QA, and UAT (week 5-6) Time Task Description LineDesign Personal Completed  Personal account and static pages are built. OnceAccounts and Static by end of they are released for testing, they can begin creating thPages 5 week of the project next portion of the web site (home page and catalog) if UI Specification document and mockups are available.Perform QA Completed  Develop test plan that covers how user is expected to by middle perform tasks on the web site, and is tested out. If any th of 6 week of the errors are found, tickets are created for the software project developers to fix the problem.Perform UAT Completed  Client is provided with the test plan to perform. Client by end of notifies Novator of errors or any variation from the th 6 week of the project client’s expectation of the web site.5.2.7 Home Page & Catalog Build, QA, and UAT (week 7 - 9)The Home Page & Catalog Build, QA, and UAT is done over the three weeks following thepersonal accounts and static pages.  Design Home Page and Catalog. Software developers can start building the home page and the catalog corresponding to the UI Specifications and the mockups. The same approach is taken as the personal account & static pages in creating the home page and the catalog.  Perform QA & UAT. Refer to Perform Quality Assurance (QA) and Perform User Acceptance Testing (UAT) under section 5.2.6. 74
  • Table 11. Standard Web Site Creation Process – 7. Home Page & Catalog Build, QA, and UAT 7. Home Page & Catalog Build, QA, and UAT (week 7-9) Time Task Description LineDesign Home Page and Completed  Home page and catalog are built. Once they areCatalog by middle released for testing, they can begin creating next portion th of 8 week of the of the web site (check out) if UI Specification document project and mockups are available.Perform QA Completed nd  Refer to Perform QA in Table 10. by 2 day th of 9 week of the projectPerform UAT Completed  Refer to Perform UAT in Table 10. by end of th 9 week of the project5.2.8 Check Out Build, QA, and UAT (week 10 - 12)The Check Out Build, QA, and UAT is done over the last three weeks of the execution phase.  Design Check Out. Software developers can start building the check out corresponding to the UI Specifications and the mockups. Tame approach is taken as the personal account & static pages in creating the check out.  Perform QA and UAT. Refer to Perform Quality Assurance (QA) and Perform User Acceptance Testing (UAT) under section 5.2.6. 75
  • Table 12. Standard Web Site Creation Process – 8. Check Out Build, QA, and UAT 8. Check Out Build, QA, and UAT (week 10-12) Time Task Description LineDesign Check Out Completed  Check out is built. Once they are released for testing, by middle they can begin planning for entire system integration. th of 11 week of the projectPerform QA Completed nd  Refer to Perform QA in Table 10. by 2 day th of 11 week of the projectPerform UAT Completed  Refer to Perform UAT in Table 10. by end of th 12 week of the project5.2.9 Integration Testing, Performance Analysis, & UAT (week 13 - 16)When all the components and modules of the web site have been built and tested individually,the entire system is integrated and rolled into production environment. At this point, the entiresystem is subjected to integration testing, performance analysis, and final UAT before the newweb site is launched.  Perform System Integration Testing. System integration testing examines the entire web site to ensure all modules work together without error. Since all the modules have passed their individual tests by this point, the focus is now on the flow of control among modules and on the data exchanged among them [15]. Integration testing should be done by multiple members of the team, and follows a procedure similar to QA testing. A test plan is developed to test all interfaces and linkages between different parts of the web site. 76
  • Another approach may be through conducting data flow testing, which tests each process in a step-by-step fashion [15]. This is where the automated QA software is highly useful, as the entire system begins as a set of stubs and single unit of module is added and tested. If it passes the test, the next unit is added and the test needs to be rerun. The test that was done previously can be rerun automatically, so only the new tests need to be done once manually. The next part of system interface testing is to test the data exchange between all the other systems involved. All the enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and 3rd party systems must be turned on, and VR must be fully connected to all the client‟s and third party applications. This part of the test must be carefully designed to ensure everything is working properly, since “data transfers between systems are often automated and not monitored directly by the user” [15]. Conduct Performance Analysis. Once the entire web site is rolled into production environment and integrated properly, performance testing plan is developed. The performance testing plan should cover which areas are going to be tested and its corresponding target measures. This test is essentially done to demonstrate that the web site meets the performance criteria, usually by page generation time, and to identify which part of the system is causing the reduced performance, if any [34]. Novator aims to maintain HTML-generation time by its servers under one second. There are two factors to consider in respect to page generation time. First, VR implementation 77
  • plays part in affecting the page generation time, but is not a factor that can be controlled. Continuous improvement of VR is the only way to advance VR performance. The second factor is the way in which pages are designed. This should have been implemented in FDTs where the designs would result in efficient page generation. During the performance analysis, the speed of VR generating requests should also be examined, and the response time of 3rd party applications should be measured. Consequently, any 3rd party applications that are increasing page generation time can be identified and shared with the client and the respective 3rd party. Perform Final UAT. The user‟s experience during the UAT significantly influences the user‟s perception of the new web site [15]. Therefore, the web site should be tested thoroughly to be error free so that a good first impression can be made. Paying close attention to the feedback from the client through UAT and showing effort in responding to the feedback is essential in drawing positive reaction and acceptance of the new web site [15]. As the UATs were performed on portions on the website during preliminary stages of creation, a final UAT is conducted on the entire web site using working data. The client carries out test cases and scenarios that a user would normally perform on the web site. Any errors or variations from what a client was expecting are noted and addressed accordingly. 78
  • Table 13. Standard Web Site Creation Process – 9. Performance Analysis, Integration Testing & UAT 9. Performance Analysis, Integration Testing & UAT (week 13-16) Time Task Description LinePerform System Completed  Test the entire system to ensure the web site worksIntegration Testing by end of properly without error. All the data exchange with client th 14 week of the and 3rd party applications also must be tested. projectConduct Performance Completed  Determine how fast the web site generates pages.Analysis by end of Identify any sources of delay in generating the pages. th 15 week of the projectPerform Final UAT Completed  Client performs UAT on the entire web site. Client tests by middle to see the web site is working properly and it meets the th of 16 week of requirements as expected. the projectAlthough it is not in the scope of this project, the importance of hosting and monitoring failovertesting will briefly be mentioned. The purpose of the failover testing is to ensure that when theprimary server fails, transition to the secondary servers are done properly. For largeorganizations, cost of downtime can range up to $200,000 per hour [35]. Therefore, it isextremely important to make sure that any downtime of the web site is prevented as much aspossible.Throughout the course of the project, new information and data is still being generated by theclient. New products, marketing strategies, and inventory data may be available and must beupdated to the new site being created. If the client already has an existing web site, all the datagenerated between the time Novator receives the data feed to the minutes before the new website is launched must be transferred. Once the data migration is complete, the web site can belaunched and the project is completed. 79
  • 6. CONCLUSIONThe results will be discussed in this chapter, and conclusions of this project will be made. Thelimitations imposed on the nature of this project will be mentioned, and suggestions for futureresearch will be proposed.6.1 Overall conclusionThe purpose of this thesis project was to create a project management process model specificallygeared towards creating and launching a new web site. In an attempt to do so, the followingconclusions were made:  Nature of the e-commerce industry must be changed. The e-commerce industry is extremely customer oriented. Just like any retailers that do business offline, planning marketing strategies that are mainly focused on the customer is no different than for companies doing business online. As such, all companies who decide to enter the online market desire to have a web site that provides a personalized shopping experience to its customers. In turn, customer oriented businesses make projects very client driven for e-commerce solutions providers. The clients want their web site to be customized, so that it would be unique and distinguishable from all the other web sites. Being capable of exclusively providing a particular service is one of the key factors to success in any business who aims to attract customers and keep them coming back. Hence, the e-commerce solutions 80
  • provider that is likely to be chosen to build the client‟s web site will essentially be the onethat can offer the solutions to meet all the client‟s needs and requirements.The Standard Web Site Creation Process, however, shifts the client driven nature of e-commerce industry to more of a neutral partnership. The client is obligated to meet thepredetermined conditions that limit their options to what is standard to the e-commercesolutions provider. The web site that is initially launched through the Standard Web SiteCreation Process cannot have functions outside of standard features offered by the e-commerce solutions provider. Furthermore, the web site is also limited to FDTs that areavailable. This places an extra burden on the client to convert their data into the specificformat that meets the communication protocol and data format of the e-commercesolutions provider‟s system.If the client is new to the e-commerce industry and does not have any previousbackground on e-retail, this may be an advantage. Instead of having to come up with theirown designs and online operational methods, they can simply choose from what isavailable to them. It is likely the new clients would not have known most of the featuresavailable to them. For those who have previously engaged in online retailing, the clientmust understand that although they are limited to what is being offered as a standard,what the e-commerce solutions provider can offer is more than enough to meet therequirements and exceed their expectations. They must also be willing to accept thetradeoffs of having their initial web site up faster. In order to do so, the e-commercesolutions providers themselves must be equipped with the expertise and capabilities that 81
  • surpass the industry standards. In addition, the client must participate in the project as a team. Many deliverables are required from the client throughout the course of the project and the deadlines to receive the required deliverables are very sensitive. Any delays can potentially push back the release date of the web site, and therefore, full cooperation from the client is imperative in achieving this project management process. Standardize. The key to achieving the goal of launching a new web site in sixteen weeks is to standardize the process as much as possible, such as reusing FDTs to reduce the workload all around, so that interface designers and software developers do not have to spend time creating new layouts or write new codes. The FDTs that have been used before are also likely to have been tested for errors. The reuse of FDTs must start from the beginning when user interfaces are designed. The design of wireframes and mockups are not independent from creating the web site, and therefore, the initial designs must start from available FDTs. At every stage of the project, everyone must remember to reuse existing FDTs as much as they can, so that additional work is kept minimal. Furthermore, the guidelines and tools used during the project should be as standardized as possible. Having a set of guideline to follow will keep the risk of the project veering off course to minimum. As all the team members become more familiar with the tools, they 82
  • will become more efficient at using the tools and even develop their own expertise in improving the tools being used.6.2 LimitationsThe Standard Web Site Creation Process model remains as an ideal model at this point. Until it isactually implemented and tried out, one cannot know the real feasibility of the model. The modelis also limited to the information and opinions given by those who provided the input. Theybelieved that if done properly, the model could actually be practiced in the real world. However,their rationale may have been influenced by the fact that the process model that „appears to bepossible‟ was given beforehand, and may not have given much thought into the process beforesimply accepting the model. In doing so, they may have convinced themselves that it could bedone, and avoided a more conservative approach.Another drawback is found in the preconditions. The client and the nature of the project must beable to meet the four conditions that were set out. In the real world, it may not always be the casethat the client is willing to agree to the conditions set out. If any of the conditions cannot be met,it can easily influence the entire process model and may need some adjustment in order to carryout a project. It is up to the stakeholders to decide the value of this model if it happens that themodel is often infeasible or needs many adjustments because some of the conditions cannot bemet.Lastly, the quality of the information provided during the meetings was not always veryinsightful. The meetings were held at Novator, and were often interrupted. It must be understood 83
  • that people who provided time to be interviewed also had work to do, and consequently werebusy most of the time and potentially rushed to provide information. Most of the gaps thatresulted because of this were closed by the sample documentations and visuals, but some weredone so on the basis of implied knowledge.6.3 Suggestions for Future ResearchFirst, further analysis can be done to finalize the three activities of Standard Web Site CreationProcess that was left out of this project: hosting and monitoring requirements analysis, hostingand monitoring build, and hosting and monitoring failover testing. These three activities are stilla very important part of Standard Web Site Creation Process, especially the hosting andmonitoring failover testing, but left out due to lack of time.Secondly, conducting a research to further tune this Standard Web Site Creation Process modelto fit the company of interest and actual implementing the change would be the next logical step.Actually evaluating the feasibility and performance of this model should be done to ensure thisproject management process is achievable. If an organization other than Novator, were toimplement and test out this model, tools and techniques outlined should be substituted asmentioned, if this other organization has more familiar or other preferred methods of achievingthe same tasks or purpose. 84
  • LIST OF REFERENCES[1] http://ecommerce-land.com/history_ecommerce.html[2] “Trends in Online Shopping: a global Nielsen consumer report,” Nielson Company, Feb., 2008[3] F.G. Clifford and E.W. Larson, Project Management: the managerial process, 3rd. ed., New York,NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2006[4] I. Wirth, “How generic and how industry-specific is the project management profession?”International Journal of Project Management, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 7-11, 1996[5] J. Weisman, “The Making of E-Commerce: 10 Key Moments.” *Online Article+ 1 (2), (Aug 2000),[cited: 2008-11-01] Available at HTTP: http://www.ecommercetimes.com/story/4085.html[6] D.M. Ferguson and N.C. Hill, "Electronic data interchange: a definition and perspective", EDIForum, vol. 1 pp.5-12., 1989[7] E. Turban, Electronic Commerce 2008: a managerial perspective, Upper Saddle River, NJ:Pearson Education, Inc., 2008[8] S. Choi, D.O. Stahl and A.B. Whinston, The Economics of Electronic Commerce, Indianapolis, IN:Macmillan Technical Publishing, 1997[9] R.K. Wysocki, Effective Project Management: traditional, adaptive, extreme, 3rd. ed.,Indianapolis, IN: Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2003[10] K. Schwalbe, Information Technology Project Management, 2nd. ed., Canada: ThomsonLearning, Inc., 2002[11] http://octo.dc.gov/octo/cwp/view,a,1301,q,607519.asp[12] http://dreamofbiz.blogspot.com/2007/11/project-management-processes.html[13] http://aditya369.com/summary_tutorial.aspx[14] http://msproject.d2dinfo.com/the-traditional-triple-constrains/[15] A. Dennis, B.H. Wixom and R.M. Roth, Systems Analysis Design, 3rd. ed., US: John Wiley & Sons,Inc., 2006[16] H. van Vliet, Software Engineering: principles and practice, 2nd ed., West Sussex, England: JohnWiley & Sons, Ltd., 2000[17] “Selecting a Development Approach,” CMS, Revalidated Mar. 27, 2008[18] J.W. Creswell, Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: choosing among five traditions,Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc., 1998[19] http://www.novator.com/vr.htm[20] Standard Web Site Creation Process [powerpoint slides], Toronto: Novator Systems Ltd., 2009[21] http://www.mountaingoatsoftware.com/daily-scrum 85
  • [22] http://www.controlchaos.com/old-site/implem.htm[23] http://www.projectperfect.com.au/info_scope_creep_mgmt.php[24] Virtual Retailer Data Loader Domain Specifications: Release 4.13.1, version 0.12, Toronto:Novator Systems Ltd., 2009[25] C.D. Wickens, J. Lee, Y. Liu and S. G. Becker, An Introduction to Human Factors Engineering,Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc., 2004[26] http://www.articlesbase.com/seo-articles/promotion-seo-is-improving-the-volume-and-quality-of-traffic-your-website-499698.html[27] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_Engine_Optimization[28] User Interface Specification Documents – Draft, Toronto: Novator Systems Ltd., 2009[29] L. Rosenfeld and P. Morville, Information architecture for the world wide web [electronicresource], Sebastopol, CA: OReilly & Associates, Inc., 2002[30] http://www.usability.gov/design/inventory.html[31] http://websiteowner.info/articles/pages/pagetypes.asp[32] http://databases.about.com/cs/specificproducts/g/er.htm[33] http://oakleafblog.blogspot.com/2007/11/serializing-object-graphs-with-and.html[34] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_performance_testing[35] Billie Shea, “Quality Patrol: Eye on the Enterprise,” Application Development Trends, November5, 1998, pp. 31-38 86
  • APPENDIX A – STANDARD FOX CHART 87
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  • APPENDIX B – UNOFFICIAL VIRTUAL RETAILER FEATURES CHECKLIST 89
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  • APPENDIX C – SAMPLE TEST CASE 93