After doing this for the past 4 years, I have come to observe this :
1. Logistics takes a long time.
Scheduling an office move, application/server/lease line cutover requires some form of a notice period. This can take a few days to weeks.
2. Always have a plan.
We don’t plan to fail but often we fail to plan. Don’t forget milestones for major phases.
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Up down and sideways.
Over-communicate is always better than under-communicate. Their mailbox quota is not your problem. It is better to have someone on the cc list pointing it might be a good day to do this than finding it out personally.
4. Before starting always walk through with the customer and sales on the deliverables. This way any promises by sales will show up. Remember 5 clients deployments means 5 clients only!
5. Watch out for scope creep.
6. Prevent delayed items from destroying delivered.
Usually, we try to prevent stuff like “we need to wait for a hotfix from the supplier” from happening, but it does. Freezing what was delivered can sometimes be a challenge. So it may be prudent to have the customer sign off on the UAT.
7. The project timeline always less than 1 month.
No matter how enterprise the solution is, it must be projected, completed and signoff within 30 days. Why 30 days? That is the credit terms you typically have with your suppliers. Drag over, the bosses and bean counters will come knocking.
8. Document every conversation and visit with an email. Include details on what was agreed and what was done.
9. Send regular project updates based on the schedule. Customer don’t have Microsoft Project? Convert to PDF for best portability.
10. Remember to check for interface compatibility! Most servers have PCI-e slots, whereas backup tape bundle comes with PCI-X cards.