Thursday, July 16, 2009

Downstream impact in a poorly communicated project

I am down with a very bad sore throat and some running nose. Saw a doctor 2 days ago and he was kind enough to give me 2 days of medical leave.

So I'm recuperating at home and was checking my company email (yes..some of us do that even while on medical leave) when I saw a series of high priority emails from my users and global counterparts sent to me saying one of my BI application system is down!!

I did some checks remotely and concluded the cause of the problem was due to changes in many of the database table fields structure that my application was accessing data from. These changes were part of the scope in an ongoing corporate datawarehouse enhancement project. This caused my application to fail.

To cut the story short, I liaised with my coverer and worked with my global counterparts to update the table fields my application is accessing and it fixed the problem.

After the problem has been resolved, I did some thinking on what went wrong in the datawarehouse enhancement project that disrupted my due rest and caused me to have to "fire-fight".

Well my conclusion was specifically zoomed down to the following planning process groups:
- an insufficient project communication plan from the Communication Planning process (Project Communications Management) and

- a poor risk register from the risk identification process (Project Risk Management)

A proper communication plan would be able to identify me as a stakeholder to be informed of the date/time where the database changes would be executed. This is so that I can align my impacted BI application to the changes and prevent any abrupt application issues such as what has happened.

A proper risk register would include my application failure as one of the identified risks involved. Even though my application failure does not affect the datawarehouse enhancement project directly, I feel the risk register should include downstream applications which will be impacted. Afterall, these downstream applications such as mine, affect the service quality of the users who belong to the same organization which the project is trying to render benefits to irregardless whatever they could be- lower maintenance cost, faster database access, etc.

So the above serves as a lesson learned for my future projects...lessons learned from a downstream application owner affected by a poorly communicated project implementation.

Now...time to go and have some rest.

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