The key to a successful project is planning. Whether you follow an agile methodology or you old school it with a waterfall method or do something in between the best way to ensure success is to plan for it.
At Vindicia we use a four-phase project methodology that can be applied to both agile and waterfall development styles. The following sections describe that approach. Feel free to copy us or to apply your own methodology.
Before you can get anywhere you have to first know where you are going. The Design phase is all about knowing your destination.
- Business requirements: Take some time to review the use cases (click here). Map these back to your business requirements. Identify the use cases that you absolutely need vs those that you want vs those you don’t need or want. Focus your planning on the use cases you need. You might find that implementing a minimal number of use cases for your initial deployment can de-risk the project and get you on Subscribe faster. You can come back later and to enhance your integration with additional use cases.
- Product Catalog: Work out the products you want to sell at what price points and in what currencies. Knowing the extent of your product catalog will ensure that your solution will be able to support what you intend to sell.
- Solution Architecture: Understand and document your system architecture. What applications need to speak to each other? What are the data flows? Taking the time to diagram out your solution can help identify integration requirements you did know before and to bring clarity to your overall business flow.
- Development Plan: Once you’ve identified the use cases that you’ll be included within the scope of your project take some time to review them again. We’ll provide you with our recommended order of operation but have your technical team review them as well. If you’re using an agile approach you may want to do this at the start of each sprint, just for the use cases within the sprint. If you're using a more traditional waterfall approach you may want to review them all.
- System Testing: Figure out how you are going to test your solution. Will this be done as part of each sprint? Will you have a single, end to end system integration? Who will do the testing? How much time will they have to complete the testing? Figure out and document the test plan now and identify the resources. That will save you time later in the project.
- End To End Project Plan: Pull all the learnings from the above into an end to end project plan. No plan survives commencement but it can tell you where you are in your project and provide guidance as you work through each of the use cases.
- Develop & QA: This is exactly what it sounds like. Your Technical Team will develop, and unit test, each use case with a view toward meeting the targets in the sprint plan. Use the on-line documentation and sample code provided by Vindicia as well as the tutorials for each use case to help complete the integration. When you have questions or need additional information reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Execute Test Plan: If you have been doing user acceptance testing at the end of each sprint then you may not require a separate testing step. At Vindicia we’ve found a lot of merchants like to do an end to end systems integration test following the completion of all the development effort. This is something you may want to consider doing as well.
- Certification: Prior to providing you access to our production environment Vindicia will conduct a certification test during which we will review your use of the Subscribe APIs to ensure they comply with the design and Vindicia best practices. This is not a code review. Neither is this a functional test. Rather certification is focused solely on how your Subscribe API calls are structured and used. At the start of the project, you’ll receive a Certification Plan. We’ll ask you to provide the Request IDs for API calls related to specific use cases. All you need to do is provide those Request IDs. We’ll do the rest.
- Production Setup: Once certification has been completed you will be given access to the Subscribe production environment. This includes Subscribe portal as well as API access. The first thing you’ll want to do is set up your products in production. This is the same process as you used to set them up in the sandbox only this time you’ll only want to set up the products you intend to actually offer to your customers.
- Go-Live: Go-live is the term Vindicia uses to indicate when a merchant starts to use the Subscribe production environment. Whether you’re using it for full commercial operations, just for beta testing or for a limited offering to just friends and family or for some other purpose. If you are using Subscribe production Vindicia considers you live on Subscribe. To help get you live Vindicia will work with your team to conduct a “smoke test”. This is a small set of test cases that we will ask you to run in production. They are designed to ensure that your Subscribe system is configured correctly and ready for production use.