When GraysOnline sought to re-develop their website, they were referred to Readify to help architect and develop the solution.
GraysOnline sought to augment their successful auction business with a range of fixed price "buy now" products.
This required a significant update to their existing web property to support the new sales model, providing an opportunity to revamp the existing website at the same time.
With the move into fixed price retailing, a key requirement of the solution was to provide a system upon which GraysOnline could rapidly develop and refine their offering.
The solution was an e-Commerce system that encompassed everything from the internet website to back-end tools and integration components.
The result was a rich front-end application supporting auction and fixed price offerings to provide GraysOnline customers with a unified and satisfying experience when purchasing goods. It allows users to keep track of items they are bidding on in the same way a traditional retail website allows users to manage their cart.
The back-end tools provide the ability to manage products, users and marketing on the website. Business users utilise the standard business tools that are provided out of the box by Commerce Server, along with custom tools built during development to ensure the website runs smoothly with the provided content.
The integration components communicate events to other systems inside the GraysOnline ecosystem. Components were built to manage communication between Commerce Server and the existing warehousing and inventory systems, which were primarily built around auction principles.
The GraysOnline website is a great example of Readify's front-end engineering experience, combined with deep technical skills required to make a site of this magnitude perform.
Stewart McGrath, Chief Information Officer, GraysOnline commented, "Readify has been exceptionally flexible and adaptable to meet our needs and their core strength has been in the capability of its people".
Part of this engagement was the introduction of the SCRUM methodology to GraysOnline. Readify Principal Consultant, Richard Banks, was involved in training the developers and managers to comply with the SCRUM methodology. Team Foundation Server (TFS) and the Conchango SCRUM template were used to manage the User Stories, Sprints, Tasks and Bugs, thereby providing an integrated experience with Visual Studio and reporting tools to allow management to track the product development process.
Several quality indicators and were also automated. The use of TFS allowed for the setup of Continuous Integration builds that provided reporting on indicators such as unit test coverage and standards compliance. Deployments were automated in order to provide quick verification of build stability and ease of transition from one environment to another.
Over the lifetime of the project the team has had to adapt to changes in business drivers. While the website was in the initial phase of development, sprints were organised into two week iterations of work. During this phase the team grew to ten developers so it was split into two teams. Work was split amongst these two teams depending on the areas of expertise of developers.
Each of the development teams was provided with one or two testers depending on the size of the team at the time. The usual ratio of developers to testers was 2:1. This allowed for ongoing quality assurance.
Once the solution was deployed, feature development continued at a slower rate as stabilisation was the primary concern. Sprint durations were cut to one week in order to provide a quick turn-around on priority issues.
During development, it was necessary to maintain the classic site side-by-side in order to provide a smooth transition from one system to another. This also meant that GraysOnline could expose the new system to a select group of loyal customers to allow the opportunity of collecting feedback on the progression of the new concept.
It was also necessary to ensure the existing back-end systems, such as warehousing, inventory management and reporting, continued to function once the retail system was put in place. In order to achieve this, new back-end systems were created to foster the communication of events that occurred between the retail system and the existing back-end systems.
Implementing the retail solution using Commerce Server 2007 allowed the development team to quickly produce a fully functional e-commerce framework by utilising the catalogue, ordering, profiling and marketing sub-systems that it provides out of the box. This meant that development efforts could be focused on delivering a rich front-end experience to combine both the auction and retail businesses and give customers an interactive shopping experience - whether bidding or buying.
Readify delivered benefits to the partnership through the full lifecycle of the project in the form of SCRUM methodology coaching, requirement scoping, solution architecture, development and go-live transition management. Use of a strong SCRUM methodology allowed the project to adapt to and deliver upon a complex and changing scope.
"Readify has helped us execute code cutting, architecture, development processes and performance testing. We look forward to Readify's continued support", says McGrath.
The new GraysOnline site is a significant asset and is allowing Grays to expand into other business areas. Using Readify's ALM experience it is now possible for GraysOnline to easily maintain the solution and roll it out to production.
For More Information
For more information about GraysOnline, visit the website at http://www.graysonline.com/.
GraysOnline CEO Blog: http://www.graysonline.com/CEO-Blog.aspx.
For more information about Readify services, call +61 3 9600 2339 or 1300 666 274 (within Australia) or visit our website at http://www.readify.net/.