“Begin with the end in mind”
~ Steven Covey, “The 7 habits of highly effective people”
|This article is a precious part of the hybris Project Patterns series.|
A Software solution, as other meaningful things, is constructed twice – first, as an Idea, and second, as a Realization.
It takes both an inspiration and a vision to create an Idea about the future solution. The people who take over the Idea and distill from it implementable requirements are the Functional Consultants, also known as Business Analysts (BA).
Is has been proven that depending on the BA skills, you would get either “a” solution or a “great” solution.
You can choose which one you prefer. I would merely share few ideas how to cover the difference…
Projects often rely only on general BA capacity and misjudge the need of a skilled hybris functional Consultant. This, effectively, leads to underestimating the need of having people who know the platform inside-out. The outcome: a lack of proper functional guidance for the Business and redundant specification of common requirements.
Ensure the project features a specialized hybris Functional Consultant, who would guarantee suitable functional introduction and utilization of the hybris platform.
The importance of a hybris Functional Consultant
And here we are: at the beginning of the project. Next step would be to gather the team and start from the requirements.
For the hybris Client, a major drive to select hybris – as a future base of their (e-)Commercial strategy – is the fact that hybris provides “a lot by default”.
Moreover, one of the main objectives in the project is to stay close to the default proposition and “keep it simple” – because the hybris suite is solid, proven and offers valuable business usability.
This assumes utilization of the underlying framework as much as possible. Hence, it comes natural, that a Business Client would want to receive guidance how to map their requirements to the hybris features.
Often, I observe that hybris Partners and Clients focus on assembling teams with strong technical hybris skills, but forget to furnish the team with a functional consultant with hybris skills.
The common belief is that an all-purpose BA would be able to handle the requirements and feed them to the development street.
Frequently, a generalist BA would start describing features and workflows, with little knowledge of what the hybris suite offers. Thus, the hybris-specific “functional” expertise is neglected, and with it all that the hybris Accelerators and Back-office workflows can offer.
As a result, out-the-box use cases and features get re-defined, causing swelled project specification and – later – unnecessary custom development.
As suggested in the pattern Overall Consulting Guidance the role of the Consultant goes beyond the simple advisory and is targeted towards a more guided approach where hybris is put in perspective.
A hybris-savvy Functional Consultant would be able to match – in early stages – the Client’s requirements with the hybris capabilities. She can recommend workflows and functionality, which support the requirements, and help establishing the level of completeness needed for a PIM/e-Commence project.
The more experienced the hybris Functional Consultant is the more a project can benefit from the built-in hybris offering – hence saving specification and Visual Design efforts, usage descriptions and implementation of features.
How to discover a good candidate?
Acquiring sufficient hybris skills requires steep learning curve and experience, which involves mastering several disciplines. Finding the right person for the job might be a challenging task, given the magnitude of skills required.
Here is a petite recipe of how to find the right Functional profile for a hybris project:
|First, a good functional candidate should have a decent BA background in Requirements Management and Business Analysis, so that she would be able to construct functional specifications grounded on business needs. Moreover, this person should possess basic Consulting abilities like analytical, presentation and story-telling skills, didactical and negotiation talents, which would allow her to engage the Business people in workshops and collaborations.|
|Second, the candidate should have solid e-commerce / PIM expertise in order to explain and apply core concepts, used in regular e-commerce projects. In this aspect, knowledge in End-User experience, B2B and B2C strategies, Marketing principles and Data Governance is critical. Writing functional specs with those in mind makes the Requirements Gathering a controlled and guided process. Hence, mastering a certain e-commerce Domain Methodology is essential for this skill level.|
|Finally, the professional, should have a decent experience with the hybris platform – at least from a capability point of view. This includes – but not limited to – having knowledge in fundamental hybris concepts, ability to explain default workflows and capacity to make demonstrations. The know-how of doing gap-analysis between desired- versus default-hybris functionality is critical for this skill level.|
Without those qualifications a Functional Consultant would have hard time to guide and advice in a complex hybris project.
From a profile-development point of view, one can imagine the evolution of the needed abilities as shown on the sketch: where each inner skill-set is a fundamental prerequisite for the outer one.
Naturally, searching for the right profile does not stop here, and – depending on you ambitions – the selection criteria could extend further in choosing even a finer hybris BA competence, like the one below.
Core values and responsibilities
To summarize, if we list the main duties of a hybris Functional Consultant, those would be:
- Acting as an agile Product Owner
- Participating in discovery and scoping workshops, where requirements are discussed
- Advising on out-of-the-box functionality – concepts, features and workflows
- Explaining functional gaps (desired vs. hybris standard) and suggest solutions
- Demonstrating default platform functionality
- Creating functional specifications
- Prioritizing requirements based on a business value, time-to-market and complexity
- Being able to configure hybris suite and prepare Proof-Of-Concepts
- Defining Acceptance criteria for the implementable requirements
- Reviewing the delivered functional features
- Designing and Creating of User guides
- Participating in delivering end-user trainings
What we infer, with a certainty, is that a hybris project requires a competent hybris BA. Such as constructing bridges requires specific building skills, a hybris project requires certain functional hybris expertise to succeed.
The good news is: it depends on you, to ensure that such an invaluable profile exist in your team.
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