Replatforming and Beyond: Process Management for Product Developers

Written by jonathan | 3 min read
Published on: February 22nd 2017 - Last modified: November 13th, 2020
Replatforming in a collaborative group

Harrison Lynch, Sr. Director of Product Development at Consensus Corp (a subsidiary of Target Corp.) doesn’t fit the mold of a traditional process improvement professional. His background is not in operations or consulting, but rather online retail and team leadership. Powered by Business Process Management (BPM) and his own inquisitive nature, however, Harrison was able to solve the same problems challenging many of the today’s largest digital enterprises.

Replatforming for e-commerce

“We were given the major project of replatforming - moving an e-commerce site from its current monolith platform to a service oriented one. As you can imagine, this type of migration requires a massive amount of planning and technical expertise to execute. Even minor changes can have an impact on other critical parts of the platform, and for Consensus this was especially true.”

You see, Consensus is all about connections. Their SaaS platform addresses the often disjointed shopping experience of buying multiple, connected products, for example:

  • Selecting a smartphone, and plan & warranty/insurance protection
  • Qualifying the customer by securely capturing their PII data for carrier financing (and qualifying credit check)
  • Activating and provisioning the number port or SIM swap of that smartphone

Faced with this daunting task of simultaneously replatforming while adding new features and an aggressive timeline to complete it prior to the holiday season, Harrison and his team turned to Signavio for support.

BPMN 2.0 helped align the team

“We needed a way to quickly align ourselves and map out the plan for this replatform. There was very little documentation of any processes beforehand, and we were relying totally on ‘tribal knowledge’ (unwritten information). Everyone had ideas in their head about how things were meant to work, but none of this was referenceable for the rest of the team - particularly new hires!”

The first order of business was turning this tribal knowledge into something anyone could read and learn from. Harrison and his team used Business Process Model and Notation 2.0 (BPMN 2.0) to map out core processes that needed to be brought over from the old platform to the new one. BPMN is a standardized notation that makes process models consistent and broadly understandable.

“Using BPMN helped our developers with different backgrounds and expertise speak the same language and keep the dialog moving. And thanks to Signavio’s features (commenting, sharing, etc.) that mirror everyone’s favorite social networks, all stakeholders were also able to easily provide real-time feedback. This of course improved the quality of the process models, but it also helped engage everyone in this project to create vital buy-in. A challenge as big as replatforming can’t be tackled without the knowledge and support of the entire team!”

Success before the holiday deadline

“The impact was immediate and measurable. We’ve seen a significant reduction in development time for API definition and construction. The efficiency gain is likely greater than 50%.”

Harrison was able to get his team in total alignment for their replatform, enabling them to complete the project in time for the holiday season shopping rush.

“Mobile device retailing in Target stores is performed by a sales rep using our guided system to manage the sale. Because we offer disparate products from wireless carriers within a unified user experience, this massively reduces training and re-training costs. Shoppers in Target stores were delighted by the rapid shopping experience this enables. We really crushed holiday forecasts.“

But the fun doesn’t stop there.

Consensus sees further benefits

“Past the initial replatforming project, Signavio has become an integral part of the toolset we use on a daily basis. The main benefit is apparent in an area you might not expect: Human Resources!“

“Signavio has been extremely helpful to our recruiting process. As anyone who works in the Bay Area knows, competition for top tech talent is fierce. With our process models in tow, we are able to communicate a clear and interactive plan for where we are today, and where we want to be in the coming months. This sort of confident vision is really appealing to someone being wooed by multiple other software companies.”

Once they’ve reeled in the big-fish talent Consensus needs to keep expanding their platform, Signavio then assists with onboarding.

“The ramp up time for new developers has been significantly reduced since we started with the process management initiative. It’s way easier to train people when we have a single-source of truth that is continuously being updated and improved upon.”

“Signavio brought a lot of great things to the table, especially the standardized notation, intuitive usability and collaborative functionality. We were able to engage our entire team in documenting and innovating key development processes. More than that, we can now articulate a vision for the company and our products that is compelling for everyone - from potential hires, to current developers and the executive board.”

Product developers and managers looking for ways to align their teams for major transformational projects, such as replatforming, need look no further than Business Process Management through Signavio.

Published on: February 22nd 2017 - Last modified: November 13th, 2020