11 Sep 3 recommendations to mitigate the risk of Integration to your projects
I was recently assigned to a project deploying a Human Capital Management system for a Dutch multinational. During project kick-off it became apparent that 20% of the team considered Integration as the highest risk to the project.
In this blog I’ll provide 3 recommendations to mitigate Integration as a risk.
First let’s see which challenges Integration brings to a project:
- The Integration domain is highly technical and your project members struggle to understand how Integration fits within the project, and how it affects them
- Implementation of even the simplest integration scenario quickly becomes complex as business applications, integration platforms and network components need to be orchestrated to comprise an end-to-end solution
In this blog I’ll refer to an Integration Expert as a person knowledgeable on Integration architecture and solutions in the context of your organization. This role is often fulfilled by an Solution Architect but this may differ and depends on your IT organization.
Let’s continue to my recommendations:
1 – Assign an Integration Expert for the duration of your project
Make sure to engage an Integration Expert also in the early stages of the project.
If product selection is part of the project the Integration Expert assesses candidate products to gain insight into the Integration complexity and technical fit to your organization. This provides insight into Integration efforts and identifies the need for additional Integration tooling early in the project.
Project kick-off provides an opportunity for the expert to explain Integration and address concerns. Having this early on in the project also improves collaboration.
The Integration Expert participates in workshops to help refine the project goals. Integration has many touch points and expectations on solutions versus cost and complexity are best managed during refinement. The workshops also provide the expert with the business context and terminology.
2 – Plan your realization phase in detail
Integration scenario’s consist of diverse systems which together orchestrate end-to-end solutions. Each system is governed by internal or external parties which engage differently on your project.
Your Integration Expert is dependent on these parties to design end-to-end solutions. During solution implementation each party delivers part of the solution where dependencies are unavoidable.
Careful planning is required to make sure the resources are available when required and critical paths are avoided. The lead time for business contracts and statements of work must be factored into the planning.
3 – Delegate implementation to an Integration Consultant
Projects define separate implementation tracks for better governance, Integration usually has its own track.
I recommend to fully delegate the implementation of solutions on this track to an Integration Consultant. This consultant reports directly into project management on progress or impediments. The consultant’s Integration knowledge and experience help to fast-track the implementation. For efficiency the consultant must be trusted to directly manage internal and external parties.
Note that the Integration Expert can take up the role of Integration Consultant to manage the implementation, this depends however on your IT organization.
This concludes my recommendations, please let me know if your found this useful and share a comment.
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