Saturday, July 24, 2010

Minimum requirements for a good on site working environment

In the past, when a software solution needs to be developed, my team build the solution in the office, tested it in the office and only when everything is built and ready, we would go to the clients offices to install and configure the final solution.



These days, it’s more common to deploy the entire team onsite (clients’ offices) right from the start of the project, and while on site they do all the development, testing and configuring directly on the clients servers.


This results in easy accessibility of the team, better focus, commitment and dedication from the team which ultimately means faster more accurate delivery of the solution.


But the team is moving away from an environment they are comfortable with to the clients’ environment which may not be designed for this purpose, and if a few basic requirements are not in place, delivery of the solution is compromised.


So if you are looking at getting an outsourced team to work in your office to deliver a solution, make sure these minimum requirements are in place.


Free, safe and close by parking – Not providing this is de-motivating to the team – so if it can be provided, do it; it makes it easier for the team to work late at night if needed.


Access Cards/Tags – If security is controlled by access cards or tags provide the team with the necessary, staff without access cards usually have to go through additional security checks which is time consuming, it also restricts move ability in and out of the building.


Proper Desk and Comfortable Chair – They going to be working there for the majority of the day, don’t give them that broken down desk lying in the store room – give them a comfortable environment, a chair with a high back and wheels if possible – you will see the results in the delivery.


Network access – Access to the network allows the team to build a solution that will work on your network – it’s one of the reasons why they are on site in the first place.


Internet Access – This is important for delivery, developing software solutions involve frequent access to the internet for trouble shooting and software updates – it also allows the team to communicate with subject matter experts and gain access to knowledge based content.


Email Access – An email account provided by the business, makes it easy for the team to communicate with the organisation and vice versa, it’s a frequently used communication channel that needs to be in place right at the start of the project.


Telephone Access – another communication channel that can speed up delivery.


Shared Folder Access - I should be saying SharePoint, but we are usually on site, installing SharePoint, what’s needed is a space for the team and other business members to easily share files and reports.


Printer Access (including colour printer if solutions include design work) – The solutions we provide involve documentation that requires sign off, as well as user manuals – we need a printer to deliver this.


Meeting room with projector Access – We will need to present our work to key decision makers, so access to meeting rooms with projectors is important, even access to small meeting rooms for team discussions is needed.


Microwave Oven Access – some of us bring food from home, help us enjoy that meal.


Drinks/Coffee/Snacks Access – If the team can get the things they like without leaving the building, the team will leave the building less, allowing more time for delivery.


Toilet Access – Easy and convenient access to toilets is something you desperately miss when you don’t have it.


Full Access to Development and Staging server – These servers are used for proof of concepts, initial design, development and testing. Full access to this environment is required for the team to work out the best solution.


Access to Production server – We understand that access to the production server is more strictly controlled, so a clearly defined change control process will be useful when defined at the beginning of the project – so we can factor in the time required and plan accordingly.


Access to people responsible for network and sever support – We are on site for a short period of time, our timelines are planned on the assumptions that all systems provided by the business is running smoothly, if not, we will require quick resolution.


A “Driver” from the Business – Since our stay is short, we are seen by many in the organisation as strangers – meaning that when we approach them without assistance from the business for information and support, we usually don’t get the information we require, with someone from the business that can drive support from the rest of the organisation – delivery is much more faster.


Failure to provide the following will affect speed and accuracy of delivery, as the team may not have sufficient tools to complete the required tasks or the work environment, provided by the business, is not comfortable enough to get the team to focus properly.

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