Meet Magento NY 2023: A New York Discovery

Let’s start with one of my favourite quotes! 🙂

Start by doing what’s necessary,

then do what’s possible,

and suddenly you are doing the impossible!

Francis of Assisi

If you do everything in life with courage, passion and belief, then I honestly believe you can achieve the impossible! 🙂

Meet Magento New York City 2023 was an event I’ll never forget. Why?

  • Our amazing community showed up in full force from around the world.
  • We had healthy and lively debates about the future of our platform.
  • I met so many new and inspiring people.
  • I got the chance to speak about something I love.
  • Learning. Always learning! 
  • New York, of course! 🙂 

It has been a lifetime dream of mine to visit New York. Wow! It did not disappoint. And to combine it with such a prestigious Magento event, I still can’t believe it. If you have not been please, go! 

When I say “A New York Discovery” well, it truly was a discovery of all kinds. Not only was it my virgin trip to the Big Apple, my presentation also discussed the very important topic of project discovery.

Challenges to getting started

Monsoon Consulting specialises in B2B and B2C. We live and breathe Adobe Commerce / Magento Open Source. The beginning of an eCommerce project can be daunting for the client. That could be a platform migration, a platform upgrade or the start of the digital transformation journey.

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.

Nicole Donnelly

The above quote can definitely be easier said than done. Nicole Donnelly in her keynote speech at #MM23NYC spoke very openly about the internal challenges to moving online with her company US Air Filtration. The classic “Resistance to Change”. Some common reasons are:

  • Too much uncertainty
  • Threat to job security
  • Fear of failure
  • Forced change
  • Loss of control

So, how can we overcome these challenges? Well, this is a very interesting topic that deserves its own blog post. From our experience, successful digital transformations include, supportive and empathetic leadership, clear communication, phased implementation, targeted training, regular team catch ups, and are 100% inclusive where everyone has an important role to play. 

Discussing Project Discovery

One of my inspirations for my talk at #MM23NYC was watching Simon Sinek’s TEDx talk “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”. Well worth a watch. If you as a company can explain successfully the “why” to your project vision and goals, you’re well on your way to implementing a great solution. Bring all of your team with you on the journey! 🙂

So, we’re at the beginning of the project. We need to define the Phase 1 Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Let’s execute a discovery! Here’s a nice definition:

Through a combination of fact-finding workshops, research and stakeholder meetings the ‘Discovery Phase’ is designed to create a strong mutual foundation of understanding of the client’s eCommerce project; defining the goals and vision of the project along with documented outputs.

A key word in the above definition is “research”. It’s vitally important you understand everything about your customer users. Qualitative user research focuses on observational findings based on user interviews, focus groups, customer feedback, contextual enquiry (field study), open ended survey / questionnaire (i.e. not quantitative questions).

A typical project “discovery” can involve some or all of the following workshops:

  • Project/Product Vision
  • End to End User Journey
  • B2C/B2B Specific Features
  • Catalogue & Integrations
  • Customer & Self Service
  • Checkout & Fulfilment
  • Content Management
  • Design
  • Prioritisation Session
  • Proposal Session (with discovery outputs)

We could deep dive into each of the above sessions but we’ll leave that for another day. If you’re interested in finding out more, why not reach out to us? Always happy to have a wee chat. We’re community driven! 🙂

At the end of discovery, it’s important you have a clear and well defined project path. One output document we like to build is an engagement pack. This pack outlines how the client and Monsoon Consulting will work together throughout project build. 

The foundation for long-term collaboration

Another significant bonus of performing a thorough project discovery is that both parties already know each other very well before the actual build commences. We like to involve many departments in the discovery process including design, infrastructure, consulting, backend, frontend, and the sales team.

A project build is a collaborative effort. It’s the start of a fruitful long term relationship with the client. It extends way beyond the initial Phase 1 MVP. Quite often the prioritised backlog defines post go-live phase 2 & 3 features. 

Here are some tips on how to deliver a great discovery:

  • Plan your workshops properly. Set out clear agendas. Only invite the people that really matter to each session.

  • Strict time keeping. To keep to the agenda you must always keep an eye on the clock. We recommend 2 to 3 hours maximum. Take breaks. Be firm but fair when it’s time to move on to the next topic.

  • Everybody’s opinion counts! If the right people are in the room then all opinions are relevant and equal. Ask people to listen to each other. Respond rather than react.

  • Show empathy. For the Systems Integrator this may be familiar territory. But it may not be for the client. Show respect and kindness. This could be the start of a challenging journey for them.

Remember the solution is being built for the end user. Their needs are of utmost importance. In the boardroom it can get a little side-tracked. Just be mindful of this.

Creating a key for each lock

We love working with new clients small, medium or large. There’s a solution that can work for everyone. That’s why Magento Open Source / Adobe Commerce is a fantastic platform to accelerate your online presence. Most established digital platform agencies will have a well rehearsed formula for success. We are no different. 

On a personal level I’m fascinated about “Brand”. All our clients are a Brand in their own right. Brand is about meaning. To borrow some wise words from Simon Middleton:

Your brand is the sum total of all the meanings that all your possible audiences carry around about you in their heads and in their hearts.

Your brand is everything that your customers and prospective customers think, feel, say, hear, read, watch, imagine, suspect and even hope about your product, service or organisation.


There’s a lot more that can be discussed here. But it’s time for Irish Stew on a cold Sunday evening. The fire is on. A Guinness in the hand. Ah sure, that’s grand.

In summary, I can’t wait to go back to New York again! I am grateful to be given the opportunity to speak on stage. Our Magento community is strong and resilient. 

This Meet Magento event was pretty special. No event can be a success without generous sponsors and an amazing team to pull it all together. Thank you to everyone at Above The Fray. 

The motto in New York was #CommunityForward. I wholeheartedly 100% agree. Roll on 2024! 🙂

Here are a small selection of photos from #MM23NYC:

Thank you to the following people for their continued wisdom, information and expert advice that help me in my pursuit of excellence both at work and at home. Many are referenced in this article:

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