Monday, September 4, 2017

How to put in production an ECM 9 month project in 2 months?

This month our team delivered Athento into production for the colombian subsidiary of a large french company. An important project for us, but with very tight time constraints. Also important for our customer, since it was a core business process to improve.

If you had to guess how we did it, you could think it was done by doubling or tripling the human resources in the project. But, in our sector, it's very hard to bring people to a project in such a short period of time because it requires knowledge over specific technologies and learning takes time. So adding resources to the project was not our approach to this challenge.

These are the key elements that have let us implement a 9 month project in 2 months:

1. Prioritize that the users can do their job over any other requirement
In the first place, we prioritized that the process could be carried out taking into account and involving the end users of the system. We sacrificed some things along the way, so that everything that could be dispensable in the start up, we left for a post production phase. We made this decision because the goal was to get users to do their job and comply with internal SLAs. This is not easy because we have to do a prioritization work together with business, and get everyone to agree on what are the functionalities that are essential both technologically and operationally.

2. Onboard users to the use case development 
From the beginning we had end users doing tests, giving feedback of what we showed them, regardless of wether it would work or not. This feedback was important to know that we were doing things well and that the goal of putting a functional tool for the process was going to be met or not.

3. Prioritize product vs customized software development for each project
This is not something to be decided solely for one project. It's a company philosophy. We have been working very hard this last two years in tools that let us accelerate the product development, like Athento Rhombus, which lets you customize the document management tool without programming. Thanks to this tool we can go faster customizing the product and its maintenance.

As we told in a previous post about Requirements Gathering: 3 Lessons Learned, understanding what each customer needs is key to ensure the success of a software project. And this translates in understanding the importance that each project milestone has for the customer, both from the technical and from the business side.

In our Resources section of our website you can see how we have helped other customers transform their document processes.

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