The visual guide to the integration lifecycle
Integrations are one of the best parts of being a consultant. Each project is different, and presents you with new challenges, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring a few tricks with you to the next project. Here is a quick visual summary of a few things you can reference when tackling your next integration.
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Waterfall or Agile Approach?
Your company may tend to lean toward one approach over the other, but always make sure that you choose a path that works best for the client. Every project is different and has different needs!
What are the users saying?
Get your information from the people who get their hands dirty on a daily basis. User stories are critical to building a foundation for your plan of attack.
Required or out of scope?
Sometimes clients want you to deliver them the impossible, and as much as we would like to deliver, that isn’t always the case. Make sure to keep both sides in check.
Value or complexity?
Time costs money. Some clients only have so much money, and you may only have so much time. Make sure you give clients options for both and give them enough information for both so they may make an educated choice.
Define your process.
An architect doesn’t start building a skyscraper without blueprints. Prepare from the ground up, not halfway through the project.
Build your plan of attack.
A war general doesn’t send in his troops without a battle plan. Put your resources where they will perform best.
Due diligence. Take control of data.
You’re the expert here. Look under the engine and see what needs a tune up. A client who has been trying to manage their own database may have put a few things in the wrong place. Make them aware! Helping them fix past errors may fit your scope or future phases and earn you more money.
Test your changes, and then test again.
Testing is very important. Nobody wants to deliver a finished project that hasn’t gone through rigorous testing. Without testing problems are guaranteed to show up.
Get your executives to buy in.
User adoption starts at the top. Get the tip of the spear to buy into what you are doing and the users are sure to follow.
Show the value. Share the “why”.
Nobody likes changes. Showing users WHY changes are being made will help the long tail of adoption.
Help users succeed. Train and adopt.
You built this shiny new product that you have had your hands on for months. To the users it might as well be an alien lifeform. Having a training agenda is critical to help them understand and learn.
Thorough testing = Clean deployment
Having a smooth deployment makes a client very happy, and makes you look good. Make sure your delivery arrives without any dents or scratches.
Continue training = Continue adoption
Nobody ever learned in a day. Stay on top of user training post-delivery and your imprint will make a long lasting impact.
Learn from mistakes = Learn to succeed
Nobody is perfect. Not every project goes the way you want it to. Learning from each project makes you better at what you do, and increases your value.
A good impression = A lasting impression
Show clients they invested wisely. Show them you’re made with the good stuff. Leaving clients happy will bring you more business and in return keep you happy!