Part IX – To start at the beginning goto Part I
For three months we shopped the walking deck with anyone at TWLER (The World’s Largest Electronics Retailer) who would listen. We were seeking support and feedback on the direction. We were ensuring, at the least, that people had heard of us and knew we were actively pursuing a rewrite of TWLER.com. As we knew, there were three other teams that were trying to gain the necessary momentum to do the rewrite themselves, and we had to stand out and move faster. We made progress, occasionally teams would actually ask us to come review our plans for TWLER.com, or recommend others to hear the story.
I said I was bad at Power Point and now I’ll prove it. Here’s one of the first drawings of what we termed our Agile Ecommerce Platform made in 2011. Gradients seemed to be a thing in 2011 and the Platform drawing made great use of them.
There were other similarly horrible slides that animated the move from monolith to component based system deployed into a cloud. Here’s one of the slides that showed the changes, sorry that the animations aren’t available and the translation to newer PPT didn’t work well.
Overall the quality of the slides didn’t matter, the ideas mattered and more importantly, the credibility of the presenters was what ultimately made the difference.
GOTO Part X
Part VIII – To start at the beginning goto Part I.
I’ll admit it, the deck I made was terrible, I’m not a master of Power Point, and the color scheme left a lot to be desired. I had crude animations showing how we would shift our monolithic application into the cloud, while retaining the customer data and checkout processes in the datacenter.
For about three weeks I worked mainly with another architect to take the many ideas we had discussed over the last year, and what we’d learned about operating in a cloud, and turn that into an architecture vision and implementation plan. We settled on three years to transform the ATG system to a distributed service oriented layered cloud architecture. The deck outlined the current issues with the ATG system, the future state architecture and how we would get there, and the cost of the first year of development.
My colleague urged me to begin presenting the deck to interested parties to get feedback and learn what resonated with the various digital teams. He was instrumental in networking across the organization and arranging meetings with Directors, Senior Directors and VPs in Digital and Business teams.
The first presentations did not go well, the business leaders didn’t get much from a highly technical deck with $13M of capital tied to it in the first year. Mostly the feedback was that we’ve heard this pitch multiple times over the last ten years, why should we believe you? They had a point, numerous consulting firms had been through with grand plans to rewrite TWLER.com. It had already been attempted twice, the last attempt a failed implementation of the Microsoft Commerce system that was relegated to powering the Canadian site and failing miserably even at that effort.
We regrouped and tried to determine what would make this a better presentation. We knew many of the core problems with the site and that the business teams had been unable to make changes in the homepage or product detail pages (PDPs) for years. There were a few decks kicking around that defined the UX driven future of TWLER.com that would never be implemented due to technology failure. We decided to modify the deck and highlight that in the first year we would transform the homepage and PDPs into a new architecture that would allow fast changes and high scale utilizing the CDN for more caching and isolating all calls to the cloud layer. In that way we would severely limit the number of calls making it back to the ATG commerce system running in the datacenter allowing it to scale by relegating it to the Cart and Checkout functions.
There wasn’t anything we could find that outlined a similar architecture so, as far as we knew, we were embarking on a bold new way to use clouds at scale.
GOTO Part IX