In my previous entry I mentioned the scale of this project - 15 sites, 50 servers, 2000 users and six days. The only way that this could be achieved was using Rapid Deployment.
Most projects are broken down into a number of key areas; at a high level these are:
1. Requirements Analysis
2. Proof of Concept (resulting in initial design)
3. Detailed Design
4. Lab / Pilot implementation
5. Design updates
6. Live pilot implementation
7. Go Live
For Rapid Deployment a number of these steps are removed. No, scratch that: most of the steps are removed. In most cases a Rapid Deployment will involve only steps 6 & 7.
And this is RISKY. With a capital R.. I.. S.. K.. and Y!
Why is it this risky? Well, in short the risk is because for a Rapid Deployment you will be working 'live'. This means that any changes made during the project can have direct impact on day-to-day use of the systems. Also, any problems encountered during a Rapid Deployment will need to be sorted 'on the fly' - options for troubleshooting are greatly reduced with the absence of a lab to test in.
So, are there any guidelines for a successful Rapid Deployment? Yes. In my opinion there are.
a. A stable environment. Ensure that the network/servers/workstations are all up to date with the latest patches and updates
b. Knowledge of the environment. This is critical. There should be people on the project who know the systems inside-out. In my opinion this was one of the major contributors to the success of the project
c. Knowledge of the new product being deployed. You will need experienced consultants/specialists who know their products from the ground up and are experienced in deployment.
d. People with the ability to think on their feet. There will be problems and design changes during a Rapid Deployment. The team need to be albe to think outside of the box to overcome these challenges.
If you have all this lot then you should (notice I don't say 'will') have a successful project.
So, now with that out of the way - see it as a kind of disclaimer - we can get onto what happened. My next three posts will be a day-by-day account of the project and how it went.