PNW Drupal Summit Session: You've Launched - Now What?

This session led by Amye Scavarda, a project manager at Acquia, focused on how to switch gears after a project launch to support the project lifecycle and how to build support into projects. Read on for some of the key takeaways.

Universal pitfalls and unexpected complexity in projects

  • Scope changes, budget cuts, stakeholder changes, pixel-perfect design requirements, developer changes, and more project manager pain!
  • Theming challenges, version control snafus, SSL Certificates, Hosting migration and deployment, multiple DNS providers, and other technical roadblocks!

You've made it past those challenges to launch, and now, welcome to maintenance mode. You did plan for maintenance in the original proposal/contract, right?

  • Discovery should still occur in maintenance mode. Clear requirements should be gathered to ensure that actionable items are created for continuing support.
  • Internal documentation during initial development and at launch will help projects be successful long-term in maintenance mode as clients are passed between developers and knowledge is lost along the way.
  • Important distinction: maintenance mode is NOT phase 2. Set expectations with clients on how quickly clients can expect development and support to react to requests and fires.

Support!

  • It's really hard to hire for support. Support is not exciting to developers compared to new projects. That said, have developers primarily focused on support. Rotate developers in and out of support roles.
  • Code rot: Keep your client's modules and sites up to date and patched. Keep them secure. Make the case to clients for why this is vital and worth the cost.
  • Project managing support is difficult unless you can see the future. Fires will always come up, so try plan resources with room for fires.
  • Draw a clear line between development and support with the client

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