Nov
02
2017

How We Guarantee an On-Time On-Budget eCommerce Project

Posted 21 days ago ago by Becky


I’ll admit that I love watching HGTV shows. Whether it’s Fixer Upper, Love It or List It or Property Brothers, I’m hooked. There’s something about the overall process of watching a house be completely transformed by skilled designers that makes me happy.

But there is one thing in almost every episode that makes me cringe. It’s the scene were the designer has to have the “dreaded conversation” with the owner about a budget increase.

No one likes it – not the designer and definitely not the homeowner.

I think I cringe because I know what it’s like to have that conversation with our clients. New requirements, delayed answers and data from a client, and unforeseen challenges can significantly impact a website redesign and can lead to the “dreaded conversation.”

At Brilliance, we take this seriously. So seriously, that we will guarantee the cost of a project. Our goal is to avoid the cost overruns while providing an elegant solution to each client’s needs.

To do so, we follow a set process.

Budget:
When tackling a remodeling project, the first question is a budget. If a customer has $5,000 to spend, a kitchen remodel won’t include knocking down a wall, installing granite countertops and purchasing state-of-the-art appliances. Instead, the designer will work with the client to provide the best ideas, labor, and supplies to keep the project within budget while meeting the client’s core needs.

Similarly, all website redesign projects come with a firm budget. Whether a customer has $50,000 or $250,000 they want a website that will meet their needs while producing a solid ROI.

In order to provide our customers with that ROI and guarantee the project, we require a scoping step as we’ve found this to be critical to success.

Design (Scoping):
Similar to a home remodel project, Brilliance guaranteed projects undergo a design and architecting phase that we call the scoping step. During this phase of the project, we meet with the client to define the needs, architect a recommended approach and present a wireframe of the project. The resulting specification is the blueprint that provides our clients with a picture of the end result and ensures that everyone on the project team has a unified understanding for a successful project.

Construction (Implementation):
Like all construction, the ability to stay on time and on budget for a website redesign requires a commitment by everyone on the team.

To ensure that a guaranteed project is successful, Brilliance requires clients to commit to the following during the implementation phase.

  1. Sign-off on the scope and recommended approach
    WHY:  When there’s consensus on requirements, a solid project plan and timeline can be implemented, ensuring the most efficient use of resources both from the client and Brilliance. This also ensures everyone on the team understands their impact on the project.

  2. Agreement that changes in scope (i.e. new requirements) involve either the removal of a prior requirement or the approval of additional budget funds to cover the new requirements.
    WHY: In a bathroom remodel, if the framing and plumbing are already in place and the client then adds a new request for a soaker tub, the design, framing, and plumbing will need to be reworked pushing the budget and timeline over. Similarly, new requirements in the midst of a website redesign can cause project budget and timeline overruns. We understand that needs are evolving, so we agree to be flexible but ask that our clients understand that changes have implications.

  3. Agreement that the removal of functionality must be discussed and agreed upon between Brilliance and the customer in order to ensure that the remaining requirements are not adversely affected.
    WHY: An “open concept” is requested in almost every HGTV episode I watch and usually requires taking down a wall. But walls hold loads and without them, the second floor becomes unstable and require an engineered beam to take the load. Sometimes the clients think the beam is unsightly or costly and want it removed. Not possible.

    Websites might not have literal beams, but they do have the underlying code required for optimal performance and sometimes clients unknowingly ask to remove code/functionality they believe to be non-essential. This agreement acknowledges that Brilliance will advise clients in these situations, ensuring that we don’t remove critical code/functionality for the success of the project.

  4. The customer team agrees to attend weekly status meetings, meet deadlines for data, answer questions in a timely manner and be committed to testing.
    WHY: Because clients know their business best!  Brilliance is committed to being the subject matter experts on our development platforms, but we need clients to provide key information about their end customers, their business, and their data in order to be successful.

The “Big Reveal” (Go Live): 

We might not get to have a billboard-size image with a “Big Reveal” like they do on Fixer Upper, but we do love launching a newly redesigned website and working with our customers to ensure the site provides them with the results they are looking for.

(Source: http://www.hgtv.com/design-blog/shows/10-incredible-kitchen-makeovers-from-fixer-upper)

If you have an eCommerce project approaching that you would like to have confidence in your budget and timeline, reach out to us for a free consultation.