Headless project management creates interesting opportunities
We are seeing clients increasingly choose a headless solution instead of an all-in-one platform. However, headless has its own particularities which require slightly different strategies for project planning and set up. In this article, Leo Wessels provides insight into the different phases of a headless project and highlights where interesting opportunities emerge.
Going headless offers our clients the option of choosing a flexible and powerful best-of-breed architecture, combining the cream of the crop in SaaS services currently available on the market. This kind of architecture rests on three pillars.
- The core of the solution comprises headless services for content management, commerce, and search functionality. This enables scalability and avoids channel dependency.
- We develop with Jamstack technology. This means short development times with no compromise to the performance of your websites and apps.
- By working exclusively with SaaS solutions, each service component of headless architecture is ready to go, which significantly shortens a project’s time to market. SaaS solutions are also easily scalable and have a wide reach, and upgrades are integral to service provision.
Although headless architecture differs from the popular digital experience platforms (DXP), in broader terms, a headless project includes virtually the same steps as an all-in-one platform. For us, that means we can still deploy our tried and tested Think – Craft – Evolve methodology.
Although headless architecture differs from the popular digital experience platforms (DXP), in broader terms, a headless project includes virtually the same steps as an all-in-one platform.
The Think phase
Every project is based on a core principle: the underlying strategic objective. During the Think phase, we run several interactive sessions to work with the client on a new concept. This is when we notice a clear difference in the priorities and goals between organizations that opt for a headless approach and those that choose an all-in-one platform.
Headless focal points
With headless projects, the focus typically revolves around improving the performance of a website to gain greater conversion, as well as, for example, preventing vendor lock-in and realizing a faster development cycle. By establishing these goals at the start and quantifying them as much as possible, it enables better measurement of the extent to which they have been achieved at a later stage.
Pinpointing the services architecture is a recurring element with headless. Many decisions must be made given the endless array of SaaS services for search functionality, content management, digital asset management, personalization, customer data, e-mail marketing, and e-commerce. Which services will be the best fit when it comes to the desired functionality and available budget? The integration of the chosen cloud services is important as well. The advantage is that these services are built with integration in mind (API-first).
The Craft phase
This phase of a project starts with laying down the infrastructure, the software, and the development process. Then comes agile design, building, and testing. A simplistic summary perhaps, but it includes the most important steps. With a headless approach, the used SaaS solutions have the benefit of being directly available and there are far fewer issues with installation, scalability, and failover. All these factors significantly shorten the lead time, despite the integration of the chosen SaaS solutions requiring extra attention.
With a headless approach, the used SaaS solutions have the benefit of being directly available and there are far fewer issues with installation, scalability, and failover.
Faster and easier customization
All-in-one platforms offer a multitude of standard functionalities. Although this has many benefits, it also means that customization can be complicated and requires a longer development and roll-out process. With headless, customization can happen a lot faster. And with Jamstack, the new application is automatically built and rolled out each time there is a change. Changes can therefore be tested at an earlier stage, resulting in the efficient monitoring of project goals and objectives. One such example is the automatic testing of the Google Lighthouse score of a website after each code adjustment to keep track of performance goals.
Getting a head start with content
With a traditional all-in-one solution, text and layout are linked. You can only start inputting content when the website has been built and is ready for testing. However, with a headless CMS, as the same content is used across multiple channels, the final layout of websites, apps and social media channels does not dictate how content should appear. This means you can start inputting text and other content the minute the content model is ready. Project managers using the headless approach can thus start inputting content earlier, preventing considerable pressure at the end of a project.
Project managers using the headless approach can thus start inputting content earlier, preventing considerable pressure at the end of a project.
The Evolve phase
The Evolve phase starts as soon as the solution is launched. In this phase, the focus is on the monitoring and analysis of the results and the continued development of the solution. Think in terms of optimizing a specific marketing aspect of the website with A/B testing, SEO, or steps to increase conversion. Adding functionality, debugging, and improving speed all belong to this phase.
What will be further developed and how? A well-founded decision requires a complete overview containing all the data on usage as well as operation. For good data on usage, there are useful SaaS services that offer an integrated customer view. Operations data should be captured in a monitoring dashboard. As reliability of the data obviously depends on the successful integration of services, monitoring and data collection should be addressed in the earlier phases of the project.
Positive effect on planning and results
You will have noticed that besides the necessary similarities, there are several interesting project-related differences between a headless approach and that of an all-in-one platform. By taking these into consideration as a project manager, you can reap numerous benefits in terms of both the planning and the results of your project.
Would you like to find out more about choosing between headless and an all-in-one platform? It takes just a few minutes with our free DXP/headless wizard to gain insight into the best choice for your organization.