As a client of a service bureau for most of my professional life, I was constantly tortured by my vendors with things that I think they (as a matter of course) take for granted. As a vendor now, It’s time to articulate and repeatedly reinforce these things with my organization and emphasize the need to put common sense practices into place.
Here are my top items:
1. Just say NO to production environment updates: No production updates, EVER, EVER, EVER without partner approval in advance. No one is even allowed to “BREATHE” on the production environment……Not (EVER)….Say it with me…. E-V-E-R!!!
- No applications changes without partner approval in advance. E-V-E-R!
- No database changes without partner approval in advance. E-V-E-R!
- No changes to production reports without partner approval in advance. E-V-E-R!
2. Provide regular status updates: Partners are only going to bug you, call you or hunt you down if you don’t communicate (and they won’t be happy doing it either). If they know what’s going on, they can fend off their angry users and will not have to bite our heads off later. Status update means 5 bullet points in email….it does NOT mean ‘War and Peace’ on a special 50 page status form.
3. Check the integrations: It’s technology…. if you touch one thing, everything else breaks. Make sure you are talking to all the other developers that code could impact. Consider all the other touch points in the system as you code.
4. Test it first: Unit test and integration test before handing it over. If it doesn’t successfully take a sales order or enrollment, put it in the database and it shows up on the internal and field facing reporting in all account classes…. DON’T SEND IT TO THE PARTNER FOR TESTING.
5. It’s not done until there’s a report and a UI: There isn’t a piece of code that will be written that doesn’t require or impact a report either for internal use or for the field. Factor this into development every single time.
6. Partners “heart” SQL: When analyzing or auditting, send the partner raw SQL to show how it was done. If we don’t have a report written, just send the SQL to the partner who can turn it into a report themselves. Watch out for over-writing any existing reports.
7. We “heart” questions: If you don’t know something or have a question about how to do something…. ASK!!!! Don’t assume you know what the partner wants (that would be just too scary!!)