The CFA homepage last saw a design refresh in April 2018 with the launch of of its current CMS (Sitecore). In that time, our content and accessibility needs grew, as did the needs for the page to reflect the brand as it evolves and how the organization is presented to customers in the digital space.
For this project, Tech Titans and Marketing Operations teams faced a challenge:
Build a new homepage design in a short timeframe (2 months) with limited development resources. In addition to these parameters, the entire project would require business requirement review from senior leadership before approval to proceed.
Supported content team with feature requirement gathering and project plan definition
Project lead and point of contact and participated in agile (scrum) meetings for project health and progress
Conducted user acceptance testing with content team prior to launch
Design refresh of homepage with 7 new components for optimizing the content engagement experience with CFA audiences
Project delivery and budget met (or delivered better) expectations for timeline and cost within new business process review for organization
Created an example of collaborative work with vendor partnerships to deliver product for the organization
TIMELINE: 8 weeks
TEAM: Agile (Scrum) internal development team of (6) with external vendor support (4) for component building, testing and project management
PROJECT SOLUTION: Content Management System (Sitecore 8.2)
PROCESS AND IMPLEMENTATION
In my role as a product owner, I worked with the content team to define feature requirements and build user stories and tasks for the development team. The build for the components was being completed by an external vendor so we included code requirements, front end/ back end approvals, and a structured project plan to help the vendor work efficiently.
A kickoff meeting was scheduled to address the needs of the project, review features and estimate work using Fibonacci sequencing. The development and QA teams continued project collaboration with daily stand-ups for this project to track and coordinate handoffs. A project thread in Microsoft teams was added to allow for support communications between internal and external team members.
PLANNING AND TIMELINE
VENDOR ENGAGEMENT AND EFFICIENCY
The solution for the design required 7 new components to be built for the homepage. Each of these components were developed using minimum viable product requirements and the content, development and UX teams worked collaboratively to define field requirements, image requirements and the use of static vs. dynamic content.
Our testing plan for new components was also modified to allow us to maximize our team efforts. CFA worked with the external vendor resource and an other vendor resource to develop a plan that allowed for smoke testing in the lower environments (TEST) and more thorough testing in Stage. The smoke testing effort allowed us to work quickly and address bugs quickly.
For user acceptance testing, the content team verified all components met the minimum requirements. Go live content was provided in advance of the launch date and we were able to build pages with very close to real content, simulating active content and addressing any display or content adjustments that often occur last minute. To support the successful use of the new components, I created content team user documentation to guide team member in use of the new components and best practices.
DELIVERY AND OUTCOME
In any project, there are challenges, unforeseen issues. This project had its fair share of problems however the team was able to address them quickly and effectively based on the communication and project expectations that were set at the beginning of the project.
OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN AND GROW
The new design delivered in August 2020 on the first targeted release date the team assigned to the project. The page components allow for increased flexibility for the content team as they continue to engage with the CFA audiences. Two of the components (Fact Box and Top Article) are also used with the layouts used across the rest of the site, adding to the flexibility and value of these components.
In addition to on time delivery, this project delivered under budget and at a fraction of the cost of previous component building projects for the organization. The success of this project was well received and delivered opportunities for learning for other project as the organization continues to grow their product experience.
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