After the end of several projects, it can be useful to come together and assess what was successful as well as the pain points that were faced. These are some of the lessons that were learned.
The first step in successful projects is defining what success should look like, understanding what the project aims to do as well as why, is key to forming this. In forming these aims, a vision is constructed of what the product will be as well as how it will interact with the client’s current business. From this vision it becomes clear what parts are necessary, which becomes a key requirement, and the core of development activities. With this area being straightforward the question moves to where this goes wrong. With a push to mobilise delivery and work in an agile way, this initial area of idea refinement can be seen as an unnecessary overhead leading to a vague notion of what is desired and worked towards. Hoping to shortcut this area is an easy mistake to make especially in an agile environment where the final requirement is not set, however this easily leads to timelines and costs spiralling, impacting client trust and creating tension in the relationship. As the consultants, we need to work to ease and accelerate this process. Instead of shortcutting it, we need to bring our knowledge and expertise, helping demonstrate the possibilities whilst showcasing a grounded approach, aiding the client in assessing and defining their requirements.
In an era of cloud computing the ease and straightforward design of portals can make creating and publishing configurations effortless and instant, however sources such as the
Rapid7 2022 Cloud Misconfigurations Report show that “breaches have causes that are easy to fix”. The simple design of the portals often masks the complex nature of the settings, configuration as well as the interfaces that connect the physical devices and the cloud infrastructure.This brings in a need for mitigating this risk. An area which is often overlooked is a strong test facility. Having a facility that enables the beginning to end testing of a cloud configuration that enables continuous testing throughout the process aids the development in several keyways – beyond security considerations. A test bed enables each stage of the project to be rapidly tested during the configuration stages which speeds up the future testing time, allowing administrators to see the direct impact of their changes and assess any impacts addressing these accordingly. The challenge faced when creating these tests beds is multiplied when faced with a global organisation that can feature local setups and distribution methods. It becomes a struggle to fully test each of these configurations, and the problem is further compounded when legacy configurations are mixed into user’s devices. All this emphasises the importance of integration testing and allowing appropriate time in the project to allow this to take place, ensuring that configuration teams are given the tools to test and affirm their work.
While Cloud has many benefits that are easy to see, it can be the difficulties that are often harder to discover and one of the major obstacles is deploying Cloud infrastructure and integrating it with existing on-premise systems. In a recent study by
MuleSoft , 90% of survey respondents claimed integration with existing systems to be a common issue. One reason this is often a cited pain point is the multiple areas that cloud services often must interface with and these can interlace across the organisation. This soon equates to substantial amounts of prerequisites that need to be met in various systems before integration takes place. To overcome this issue, emphasis needs to be placed on managing these requirements, assessing each area for compliance to ensure successful integration. This can seem like a big step to take early on, but the success of the project can hinge on these being met across the organisation.
These are just a few challenges that can be faced when undertaking a transformational project. By looking into these common areas of difficulty, and relying on an experienced team, many of these obstacles can be avoided which can mean the difference in delivering a successful project on time.
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