The Components of a Retail Deployment Design

A Retail Deployment Design is a document that outlines exactly how all tasks included in the Retail Deployment Plan will be executed. It is a written document that covers every aspect of the Who, What, When, Where, and How of the deployment. The collection of all these details are usually collected as part of the Deployment Design Workshop.

Once the Deployment Design Workshop has been conducted, all the open issues and questions have been closed out there will be a mountain of documentation to organize. All that information gets pulled together into the final Deployment Design. The Deployment Design details the workflow and the specific steps that will be used to deliver the deployment. This design may be presented as a workflow document, as a written document, or as a combination of both, but it should provide all the information that every member of the Deployment Team will need to execute a successful deployment.

Here are some key aspects to consider when creating the Design Deployment:

  • The document should be arranged in categories that make sense for the type of deployment being conducted. Make sure that everything is easy to read and follow. At a minimum, make sure to include the following categories:
    • Scope Definition
    • Resources
    • Logistics
    • Scheduling
    • Execution
    • Support
  • The use of swim lanes or RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) Charts can be very beneficial, especially when there are numerous hand-offs between different groups during a workflow.
  • Be consistent with the terms used throughout the Deployment Design. For example, if the resources that handle the logistics are referred to as ‘Logistics Coordinators’ make sure to always refer to them as such. Don’t refer to the resources as ‘Logistics Managers’ or just ‘Logistics’ later in the document.
  • People are the most important aspect of the Deployment Design, so it can be very helpful to include a roles and responsibilities matrix or an organizational chart and to include the specific names of the resources assigned for clarity.


  • One important element that many people overlook when designing a deployment is to include the assumptions used for the Deployment Design. Inevitably, someone will ask why something wasn’t included or why certain elements are designed the way they are—the assumptions will explain why. This is important when working with a third-party provider on the deployment. All assumptions can be placed in one section or align them to the various topics they apply to throughout the Deployment Design. Here are some examples of the types of assumptions that might be a part of the Deployment Design:
    • The third-party provider has complete control of which stores are scheduled if they are inside the project start and end dates as directed by the Retailer.
    • No Technician training will be required.
    • Equipment will be confirmed prior to Deployment Technician arrival.
    • Retailer will provide tracking information for shipments to ensure a reschedule fee is not incurred due to delayed equipment.
    • If equipment is not at the store upon Deployment Technician arrival, the store deployment will be rescheduled at the earliest time available.


  • The Deployment Technician time to task in-store does not include:
    • Confirmation of equipment serial numbers.
    • Looking for old equipment in the store.
    • Testing of new equipment.
    • Repackaging of old equipment.
  • All detailed deployment and test documentation will be provided, and version controlled.
  • Documentation will be provided five days prior to its required use.
  • Wait periods or troubleshooting of more than 15 minutes will be considered out-of-scope.
  • Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) instructions will be provided if any equipment is found to be defective out-of-box.
  • Retailer will provide all packaging material required to return old equipment.
  • Retailer will provide pre-paid return label to return old equipment.
  • There is a FedEx drop-off location within 10 miles of the scheduled store.
  • Stores cancelled with less than 48 hours’ notice will be charged a reschedule fee.
  • There will be three holidays when deployments will not occur.
  • Technician training will be provided remotely and will only require one hour to complete.
  • Sign-off sheets will be provided electronically within five (5) business days of completed deployment.
  • No additional deliverables will be provided beyond the sign-off sheet.


  • Implement document version control, and make sure every page of the document indicates the version number.
  • Mark as confidential and ensure that it is secured properly, as it can contain very sensitive information that must be controlled at all times. It should only be shared with the appropriate people at the appropriate time. Old versions should be shredded when no longer needed.
  • Include a Change Log (at the end of the document) and maintain throughout the Deployment Design’s life. The Change Log should track all of changes to the document once the baseline is approved by the Project Sponsor or Executive. Each change should include the following elements:
    • Date of the change.
    • Who requested the change.
    • Who made the change.
    • Description of the change.
  • Each page should be numbered and have a confidentiality reference.
  • If using logos in the Deployment Design document, have permission to do so, and, if so, follow all the branding guidelines required (including trademark references).

Once the Deployment Design is completed, it should be presented to the Project Sponsors and Executives for final approval and acceptance. While the Deployment Design will be continually updated throughout the life of the deployment, it is critical to have a baseline Deployment Design approved. This aligns expectations properly and places the deployment down the path of continuous improvement.

After approval is received and the baseline is set, the Deployment Design should be turned over to the Project Management Team for execution. They are responsible for the proper implementation and ongoing maintenance of the design as a part of their overall Deployment Plan.

The most important thing to keep in mind when creating the Retail Deployment Design is to include every single detail possible. There is no detail too small or too insignificant. Everything counts when designing for retail success!


With over 30 years of experience in the technology field, Lisa Cook is a thought leader. Specializing in overcoming the challenges associated with complex, multi-site technology deployments, especially with retailers. Her proven approach of designing deployments, rather than just planning them, has led to over 30,000 successful deployments for national and global clients such as Walgreens, Ulta Beauty, Office Max, Walmart, American Eagle, Blockbuster, Chrysler, Simon Property Group, and CBL & Associates.

As Founder of OPL Technologies she is focused on helping Retail Technology Leaders eliminate the challenges of multi-site deployments by creating Deployment Designs that save money and ensure the deployment is done right the first time. She is the author of the recently released book Designing Retail Success: A Blueprint for Designing Retail Technology Deployments.