Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Beware of bent spoons in your IT implementation!

A "bent spoon" is a very special risk I consider for any IT implementation. In this post, I reveal more about the derivation of this risk name and how to go about mitigating it. 

Project Risk - Beware of bent spoons in your IT implementation!
Before reading on you may want to look at my post on Risk Management first to understand the principles of Risks and how to manage them.

Uri Geller, the great bender of spoons

Uri Geller is a magician and self-proclaimed psychic. His TV performance which I remember involved him concentrating very hard and trying to bend spoons in every household cutlery drawer in the country. The audience was invited to phone in with the results and I was amazed that many people did. Now Uri may have skills I am not aware of but the scientist in me says that the most likely explanation was that the spoons were already bent but nobody noticed until invited to look?

Bent spoons in IT implementations

Most IT Implementations consist of a series of technical steps leading to the point in the cut-over plan when someone (typically a business person) is invited to "Live Prove" the implemented system and sign-off that all is well.

The Risk is that the live prover "spots a false problem" (i.e. a characteristic which is accepted functionality) and much time is wasted during the implementation event or worse case, this results in a "roll-back" decision. These are the bent spoons which need to be avoided if at all possible.

The Risk is most worrying (I suppose I should say highest probability!) when an existing production system is being upgraded as the old system is not available as a reference point during the upgrade process.

Mitigating the Bent Spoon Risk

My suggested approach to mitigate this Risk is to ensure that the live prover has scripted these checks to be performed as part of the Implementation plan and "tested" the script in the UAT (or other nominated) reference test environment prior to the cut over. Typically this should flush out any bent spoons before the actual cut over event with scripts modified as necessary.

So when you are planning your next IT Implementation / cut-over always think about Uri Geller and the Risk of Bent Spoons!!!

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