Ascent 228 – Surviving the Implementation

ExplosivesYesterday, I wrote about supporting a migration of computer systems to a cloud environment.

Today was the first day of live use and, no matter how well you test & prepare, there is always something that didn’t take. This isn’t negativity, simply a fact of the computer era.

There are a lot of components and moving parts. Modules of program code, data tables and stores, protocols, settings, interfaces, and more. As they say in the military, there’s no substitute for a live-fire exercise. You simply can’t define what something will do until it’s deployed into it’s operating environment.

I love the writing of Gerald Weinberg – “If you can’t think of 3 things that could go wrong with your plans, then there’s something wrong with your thinking.” Contingency planning at it’s finest and being prepared for that worst case scenario.

I arrived at the office mid-morning as I knew there were some issues being worked on and I have some time before they were ready. Plus, I wanted to be around for the second shift to ensure they had a smooth start to their processing.

And then we were off! There were a myriad of issues flying around. Mostly minor albeit enough to impede the process. I was in constant communication with software companies, Users and management. Relaying the issues, conveying the status and providing frequent updates to the stakeholders. When advised things were fixed, performing a quick smoke test before releasing the system back to the business.

I think I got my workout in today as I was constantly in motion between my office and the warehouse where the applications were deployed.

We did prevail. The issues were resolved, the fires died down and at the end of this first day of live use, the new system was appropriately supporting the business. The last major issue was sorted at 7pm on the nose and I was free to get on the road and head home. A plus side of leaving this late was that the rush hour was over and I made it within 40 minutes.

The overall lesson from the experience was: Prepare & test thoroughly, plan appropriately and be ready for anything. It will be a smoother flow tomorrow.

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