If you have not read it already, I encourage you to read The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. In the book, Mr. Gawande explains the phenomenal results checklists can deliver in both routine processes and when processes go hay-wire.  Much of the book deals with Mr. Gawande’s experiences in delivering improved results when using checklists in performing surgeries — literally a matter of life and death. The book makes a compelling case for using checklists in any matter of activities to help even seasoned, highly trained individuals — such as surgeons and pilots — deliver positive results. 

While eCommerce technology selection is not a matter of life and death, still much goes wrong. And when things go wrong, there are many impacts, including cost and time over-runs, lost business opportunity, and the delivery of failed customer experiences. (And of course negative impacts on careers and reputations.) Many of those bad outcomes can be avoided. In our work with clients — and technology vendors who deliver products and services to those clients — we hear over and over again stories of what goes wrong. Many times these are problems that could have been avoided had simple best practices been followed. We have created this checklist to help eBusiness leaders and their teams to run technology selection processes consistently and routinely, following best practices.

The checklist illustrates these steps in a tool you can use as is or customize as needed:

Before you begin the selection process:

  • Business owner/project champion assigned
  • Business case completed
  • Project charter completed
  • Assemble technology or service selection team
  • High-level business and customer experience requirements established
  • Technical integration plan established
  • Technology solution model determined
  • Determine your vendor shortlist
  • Field RFI (request for information) to obtain key information
  • Develop scenarios for scenario-based evaluation process (STEP)
  • Communicate project vision and scenarios with vendors

During the selection process:                                                                                                      

  • Conduct scenario-based evaluation labs (STEP)
  • Conduct reference, background, and analyst checks
  • Conduct technical architecture or integration evaluation
  • Develop ongoing support and resourcing plan
  • Scope and pricing discussions
  • Get business sponsor and senior management buy-in                                  

After the selection process is completed:

  • Validate through a proof of concept (POC) (optional)
  • Finalize procurement process and negotiation
  • Final contract approval
  • Hold a project kickoff workshop
  • Transition to the project development process

In addition to the checklist, I would like to point you to just a few of the reports that you may find helpful in running your eCommerce technology projects:

Scenario-Based eCommerce Technology Evaluation Process, Using The STEP Methodology To Move Beyond The RFP In Evaluating eCommerce Technology

Keys To Successful eCommerce Platform Projects, Ten Key Tactics For eBusiness Leaders To Achieve Their eCommerce Business Goals

Finding Help For Your eCommerce Design Project, Where To Find Help For Web Design Projects, 2010

How To Pitch eCommerce Replatforming, Preparing And Selling Your eCommerce Platform Overhaul Project

The Forrester Wave™: B2C eCommerce Platforms, Q4 2010, Finding the Right eCommerce Platform Solution

Market Overview: SMB eCommerce Solutions, A Guide To Selecting Your eCommerce Solution Across North America And EMEA

Market Overview: B2B eCommerce Platforms, A Guide To Selecting Your B2B eCommerce Solution

And as always, I encourage clients to take advantage of inquiry access to get help from our many analysts who cover these and other capability areas.

Thanks, Brian