IT Projects – What’s Most Important

I just finished a project to upgrade a state university to Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (formerly XenApp & XenDesktop) v7.15 LTSR CU5 and Citrix ADC (formerly NetScaler) v12.11.55.

We follow a engagement methodology we refer to as A.D.I.M.E.. An acronym for Asses, Design, Implement & Evolve. Obviously some engagements are heavier on some of these phases, and lighter in others; however EVERY engagement will have each one of these phases to some degree.

Our customer came to us with this project stating their business need to upgrade their entire Citrix deployment. They are a returning customer to us so naturally we’re glad to work with them.

As we do with every engagement we start out with the “A” for assessment around the customers stated business need and put a Statement of Work (SoW) document specifying some engagement milestones. At this point we have a good idea of how much work (and perhaps product) will be needed and the customer knows how much the work costs and can schedule around it as needed.

Great! Everyone knows exactly what to expect and is getting what they want out of the engagement for agreeable consideration. All is fine right?

Except in the real world, the customer says :

“we think it should only take half the time”

WHAT?!?! I thought we were in agreement!

OK, regroup, perhaps we had differing pre-conceived notions. Go back to the customer and find out which milestones the customer can do without in order to cut the time in half. after that conversation the customer comes back with :

 “we still want to get it all done, just in half the time”

Ah. I get it now. the customer has time constraints or a deadline to meet. No problem, we can work with that. We’ll assign a second resource or another person to get twice as much work done in the same amount of time. OK! we’re all good with that. Now in this third exchange the customer gets to the point with :

“we only want to do this for half the price”

Grrrr….. regroup, perhaps we again disconnected on proprieties here. We like business, we like to keep busy, heck we certainly like to have customers. We can make this work. After all, half of something is always better than all of nothing. I got it. let us push out the schedule to a time when we’re slow anyway or have resources sitting on a bench – unutilized. Lets get back with the customer and see how flexible they can be. Of course, guess what we get back in return :

“we need it done right away”

What the…!?!?!? We started out so good with everyone in agreement – didn’t we?

So let me summarize. We have to get everything done in half the time, for half the price, done right away – right? That’s not too much to ask is it? no mention yet of the quality of the work. No worries if we deliver on time and on budget, but the system falls apart in 10-days.

Naturally our quality is our reputation – so we cannot compromise on that. Even if no one has considered it once in the course of this conversation.

So how did this engagement go for this university? We got it all done on time and it will last.

So what was lost? A) a lot of hair (as it was pulled out from stress) – both for the customer and the consultant. Moreover the assessment, design & evolve in the A.D.I.M.E methodology was stricken from the list – no time for it.

Foraging ahead to get this done meant working with blinders on. Ignore anything not directly related to the objective. See a misconfiguration, determine relevance to the objective and ignore it if none. Documentation, knowledge transfer – skip it. Recommendation for improvements – no time.

Even when you know exactly what you are getting for your money, you will never know what you’re compromising with the savings.

– by “The Resource”