AEM, Blog, Technical Development

Third Party Troubles? Get the Most out of Your AEM Team!

Let’s face it, choosing Adobe Experience Manager (AEM/CQ5) as your company’s CMS has a tremendous upside (see any of our countless blog posts on the subject).  It also can require help from an implementation partner, such as Blue Acorn iCi, to make sure your site runs smoothly and fulfills your business needs.
Whether you are starting fresh with AEM, need to make changes to your existing site, adding a microsite, or upgrading to AEM 6.0, Blue Acorn iCi is a great way to fill in gaps you may have internally.  But how do you know if your organization will get the most out of the team once the contracts have been signed?
Let’s take a look at what your company can do to get the most out of the talented people you just hired to help get the project done right, on time and on budget.

Getting To Know You

The contracts are signed, the teams have been assigned and now it’s time for the Day Zero Kick Off of your new project.  Kickoff can be both an exciting and stressful time for some.  Not only are you delivering the finalized requirements to the internal development team, but you are also incorporating new members to the team.
Turns out, this is the perfect time to get everyone together (in person or virtually) so that your staff can put a name to a face (or avatar) and vice versa.
This meeting should include internal developers, project managers, scrum masters, QA plus the business and marketing teams. This way “Jim in marketing”, who asked for a feature enhancement to the image carousel component, doesn’t miss an email or IM from “Pam the consultant” about a requirement question.
Many different companies will handle the above in different ways. The key is to start the project with the idea of open communication, create familiarity and at least a base level of camaraderie.  Every great project should pursue communication excellence and the only way your project will achieve this is by setting the example from Kick Off.

Funny Thing About People, They’re Human…

Sure it reads like a catchy blog headline, but it’s true.   Doesn’t everyone make mistakes?  It’s inevitable, nobody is perfect. There will be an occasion when someone will go down the wrong path.  This is true for anyone on your team.  The key is addressing these obstacles early.  When a matter is discovered, bring it up.  Maintain professionalism, be courteous and objective, but be clear when presenting your point.
On the flip side, if the resource is just killing it with great ideas, and practices, share with your team as fast as you can.  Think “early and often” when it comes to providing encouragement, ego stroking, and general feedback (both positive and negative).  Remember, we are all people!

It’s Your Team Now. Take Advantage of it.

Even though they are contracted employees, don’t forget that the word “employee” is in there.  By no means does this entail sharing trade secrets, gossiping or general over sharing.  Simply put, feel free to include the consultants in any professional conversation.  Heck, you cannot spell consultant without c-o-n-s-u-l-t.  If you have chosen a company like Blue Acorn iCi, where the resources provide both AEM knowledge and thought leadership in web development, take advantage of this extra brain power.  Include them in your discussions around processes, development best practices, and code reviews.
In addition to letting your new team provide feedback, put their talent toward your most obvious gaps.  Especially when you’re dealing with resources who are as adaptable as they are knowledgeable.  Let them modify out-of-the-box (OOTB) components, handle custom OSGi configurations, and write selenium automated testing scripts.

Quick hits

There are a couple of basic tips that will keep the ship moving in the right direction.

  • Be there – Lead by example, keep visibility and availability at the forefront
  • Be strict with deadlines – Basic quality for project management
  • Recognize success – Classic positive reinforcement goes a long way
  • Regular updates – Provide a regular update to the project stakeholders, good or bad
  • Lunch – Did I mention we love lunch?

According to Fred Brooks, there is no silver bullet for software engineering or managerial techniques to get your project done on time, on budget and correctly.  It takes a blend of resource integration, inclusion, and delegation that will take your project across the finish line.  When working with a highly qualified third party technical team, keep all of these ideas in mind, and you can expect success.

Brian Hayes
Brian is a Software QA Engineer focusing mainly on web development, specifically Adobe Experience Manager. His development experience includes Java, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Adobe CQ5. He has also experience as an Account Executive helping to facilitate business planning, sales and training. When he is not providing QA, Brian enjoys running, being outside, traveling and spending time with his wife, daughter and two dogs.
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