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Digital Transformation

12 Things You Can Do to Get Your Portal to Production Quickly: Part 1 – Dependency Management

Welcome to part 1 of Mike Porter’s and my 12 part series on getting your portal solution to production quickly.  Each business day over the next two and a half weeks we will bring you real world approaches or best practices to help get your portal solution to production quickly.  Without any further delay, on to our first step.

Dependency Management

Portal is all about integration and bringing content, applications, and services together and to do that you need to have a solid infrastructure in place, engage many different teams, align schedules, procure vendors, involve legal and compliance, engage the security team, and the list goes on.  This introduces complexities that can stall any project as different teams on the critical delivery path may be on different release schedules and have different priorities.  You MUST manage these dependencies if you are going to have any chance of delivering on time.   Here are a few key things you should do to make sure your project stays on track:

  • Clearly identify all possible team and technology impacts when sizing potential scope items. Engage those teams early so they can provide sizing, schedule, and feasibility estimates.  This must be done at the high level scope and planning phase before a single requirement is ever written.
  • Align schedules.  I cannot stress this enough and schedule alignment does not just mean an end date in production.  If for example you are delivering an employee intranet and require a service from the ERP team to make pay stubs available, you need that service available long before the UI development is complete.
  • Do not under estimate complexity working with third party vendors.  Third party vendors can provide great value; however, there is intrinsic overhead in working with one as you are not managing their efforts and if their dates slip or priorities change you can be left helpless.  If for example you have a health insurance member portal and you rely on a third party to manage your Health Savings Account and require a web service from your vendor, you need to clearly agree on dates for design, delivery to test, and production.  You also need to have a support and escalation plan in place.  There are no amount of resources or hours you can work to make up for a third party missing their dates.
  • Never forget about legal, compliance, or security.  When in doubt, invite them to meetings anyways.  Either of these three groups can instantly pull the plug on your project; or even worse, cause you to take down a portal already in production.
  • Manage scope.  If dependencies slip, you need to make the hard decision and reduce scope.  While this usually isn’t easy for business to swallow, given the alternatives of spending more money or pushing out the production date, reducing scope is often very appealing.

Well I could probably go on for a few more pages on this topic but since there are 11 more speed to market topics, I think this is enough for now.  Check back tomorrow for our next topic.


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Glenn Kline

Area Vice President, Custom Development and Mobile Solutions

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