Whether applications reside in the enterprise or the cloud, managing user identities and access to key resources is a critical function for IT organizations. It’s especially critical for CIOs who are under increasing pressure to cut operating costs, demonstrate continuous compliance and support business initiatives.
All of the above constitute excellent reasons for prioritizing proper planning in these domains.
If you’re using a waterfall approach, even the most comprehensive plan must allow for flexibility, as there’s always give and take as new business objectives and challenges come to light. On Monday, the client may say that the requirement is X and on Thursday, they’ll go with X plus Y, having determined in our meetings that Y is a priority.
With agile deployments, which CA Services is doing more frequently, planning sprints and continuous improvement are in the nature of the model, cycling repeatedly throughout the project. The goal is to constantly show incremental progress.
Ongoing planning is so important that we usually spend 35% of each day in at least two or three one-hour planning meetings. That’s our time to work through workflows with various players on the implementation team, including the sponsoring manager and technical leads from the client side, business analysts and occasionally infrastructure people. One or two senior consultants then spend the rest of each day executing the plan. They report back daily on their progress, challenges, and things they need, particularly from the client.
Another major aspect of planning is having the right skill sets on both sides of the team—and knowing where those resources will come from well before they are needed. Often we supplement the blended team with a larger, collaborative team to deal with certain challenges, so we identify where we need that extended collaboration and get that done expeditiously.
A viable plan is essential, but just as essential is communicating the plan—and progress against the plan—to all stakeholders, including executive management, the project team and end users, among others. Sometimes executive management doesn’t receive enough updates on the day-to-day aspects of the project. You don’t want to surprise them at the last minute with a request for a couple more weeks.
That, in a nutshell, is the power of planning.