New Sitecore implementations now have multiple options for the development approach. In addition to the traditional “MVC” (Model, View, Contoller) build, implementers now have the options of either a front-end-centric (headless) approach in JSS, and an accelerated “framework” approach with Sitecore Experience Accelerator or SXA (Read more about other Sitecore 9 enhancements). Let’s examine how SXA might be a good fit.
“SXA allocates more budget to optimize towards business goals”
Chris Spears, CMTO, Arke
An SXA approach solves many organizational challenges:
- Time to launch: With over 80 out-of-the-box presentation components, the bulk of most site presentation requirements are ready on day 1.
- Ease of use: Drag-and-drop page assembly makes building pages a breeze. Wireframing is done directly in Sitecore. Designers and editors can create both prototypes and real content “in flight” during visual design and styling, and validate evolving design by applying it to content in real time.
- Conformance to best practices: When using SXA, best practices are baked in. Every site is “scaffolded” in a fully Helix-compliant structure. Because Helix is a widely-adopted, Sitecore-supported standard, helix-trained personnel work together more harmoniously, and new players can on-board quickly.
- Team alignment: The SXA pattern includes prescriptive processes that define the roles and tasks for all the disciplines on the team, clarifying team expectations.
A development project is often judged by “time to market”, the time it took to launch. But the real value of a Sitecore XP site is in the personalization, automation and optimization. In a conventional, linear build, these activities often get pushed to a mythical “phase 2” because the development phase takes up most of the time and budget.
Using SXA, parts of the workload shift between roles, and the work is much more parallel. The rapid prototyping and parallel build features mean that the launch date is dramatically accelerated, leaving room for value-bearing optimization work to take shape during the “phase 1” timeline.
There’s more sharing of responsibility for things that were once highly siloed into specific roles. For example, most presentation structures are developed directly within Sitecore, not in code. While this still requires a “technical thinker”, the parallel team climate of an SXA project means that some of those skills can cross-pollenate to business analysts and UX designers, allowing them to share in the build and reduce cross-discipline inefficiency. Front-end development, visual design, optimization and UX become similarly intermingled.
To be successful with SXA, organizations need a new approach to people and processes. There’s a different way of thinking behind SXA, which drives that shorter timeline. Organizations need to adopt new tactics and processes, which will affect developers of all stripes, designers of all kinds, strategists, business users, project managers, and QA specialists.
For more in-depth information on Sitecore SXA, read Andy Uzick’s SXA deep dive.