How do we measure success? This seems like it should be an easy question to answer but is it? Success itself is a dynamic variable that can be defined in several different ways from a promotion or even recognition from your peers. Now what about a successful cloud implementation or implementation in general? How would you define success? The true definition of implementing is to fulfill; perform; carry out: or to put into effect according to or by means of a definite plan or procedure. How do we apply this definition?

  • The design and implementation team, success could be defined by the completed installation design, deployment and verification testing of all functionality as defined in the statement of work.
  • The Steady-State team would have a completely different measure of success since their starting point would not begin until the deployment implementation was actually completed and signed off and their version of implementation would be to fulfill a role of maintaining the environment. A Project Manager may not consider things a success until the infrastructure has been built as well as the servers, desktops and or applications have been populated.

What about the people at the top of the food chain?

  • The CTO or the CIO, how would they define a successful deployment or implementation? Wouldn’t the C-Level executives consider the complete lifecycle from build up to the tear down or hardware refresh?

I have personally have been involved with all sorts of projects and different roles over the years. I have done the design and implementation for one client, Steady-State for another client, Project Management for a different client and each implementation was measuring success in a completely different way from each other.  One measurement of success, for me personally, was performing a major release upgrade to an environment and being asked days after the upgrade was complete, “when are you going to get started on the upgrade and will there be an outage?”.

I am going to say a successful implementation is going to be measured over the complete life-cycle of the technology that would be graded on all the projects and tasks performed on the infrastructure during the complete life-cycle of the deployment. Is that to broad of a timeline to get a clear picture of success or failure? Should we refrain from using the term “successful implementation” and focus the idea of success or failure on all the different projects, change control and SLA’s combined?

What would be your definition of success?  Inquiring minds want to know.

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Steve Beaver (155 Posts)

Stephen Beaver is the co-author of VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center and Scripting VMware Power Tools: Automating Virtual Infrastructure Administration as well as being contributing author of Mastering VMware vSphere 4 and How to Cheat at Configuring VMware ESX Server. Stephen is an IT Veteran with over 15 years experience in the industry. Stephen is a moderator on the VMware Communities Forum and was elected vExpert for 2009 and 2010. Stephen can also be seen regularly presenting on different topics at national and international virtualization conferences.

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1 comment for “What is your Definition of a Successful Implementation?

  1. May 18, 2012 at 7:20 AM

    Just like we may win the battles, success is measured by phases, but if the system is unstable 6 months to 3 years down the road, a postmortem could show that the failure was in the design or architecture, which implies those phases were not successful. I agree success is measured by the life-cycle not the phases, we should be continually improving virtual and cloud environments based on continual monitoring of performance, security, and usability. Success is a moving target because the end point is a moving target.

    We should not be so ready to claim success and move onto the next project (consultants are a bit different given the constraints of the statement-of-work), but be willing to go back and rethink/redo/update as necessary.

    — Edward aka Texiwill

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