Or planning for when your Development Lead goes under a bus.
We’ve been working for the last six months on our biggest project to date which involves the redevelopment of a gym fitness application from a legacy client server app based on Windows Forms & MySql to an Amazon Cloud hosted distributed application with Mobile App, WebApp and WebAPI.
We’re midway through the first gym implementation at the moment, the database is migrated to SQL Server and live on Amazon RDS, the WebApi is live and the MobileApp is with Apple for approval.
Everything is going swimmingly at the moment, the project has been challenging because there are multiple distributed teams from different agencies, with key players in the South East, Midlands, Ireland and Taiwan which always presents challenges. But this week events have served to remind me why I’m so paranoid about good Implementation Planning.
For those unaware of my background, I spent 10 years at British Airways and while we had our fair share our IT implementation issues that caused airport chaos, implementation planning was always taken very seriously. Through the delivery of flight crew planning systems and projects supporting BA.com good implementation planning was drummed into me.
Fast forward to last Wednesday, as part of the phased implementation we were putting the WebApi live ready for the Mobile App to be sent to Apple for review. This was a critical milestone for the project, and delays would affect the critical path of the entire project. We had done our usual level of implementation planning, writing up plans to the minute with action owners, and shared on Basecamp, our project management tool.
At this point I’ll segue to a different but not unrelated story. Our Development Lead, Jacob, was at the end stages of buying his first house, with completion planned for Friday. At around 4pm, as Jacob was midway through the implementation, came a call from his solicitor; “you’ve not transferred the deposit to us, we can’t exchange without it”.
Long story short the only solution was for him to head out the office and go into the nearest branch of Nationwide to do the transfer and it had to be within the hour before they shut.
Now, this was the perfect example of project deadline fighting for precedence over personal life. However, because we had a detailed implementation plan and we’d practiced the implementation already I was able to step straight in knowing exactly where we were, roll my sleeves up and finish the deployment.
The story ended happily. The WebApp went live, the Mobile App was sent to Apple on time. More importantly for Jacob the money was transferred and he completed the purchase of the house last Friday.
The moral of the story is, detailed implementation planning is needed for every worthwhile, meaningful project. It should have instructions so clear that no thinking is needed while typing, and it should be possible to handover at any point to a competent partner.
If you’d like to work with an agency as focussed on getting implementation right first time, every time. Then why not come and talk to us.