Yes, the end is near – the end of the project, I mean. Hey, you didn’t expect to read a blog focused on laboratory informatics projects that talked about the end of the world, did you? No, it’s much more exciting than that, because projects don’t end as often as we’d like.  😉

The Mechanics of Ending
Part of finishing-off the project or even a phase of a project includes a testing phase where we can work through bugs or unexpected events. It includes testing the procedures to move all the development (“configuration” if you’re squeamish about calling it “development”) forward to eventually become part of the production system. Redoing the move if it fails is important and deciding what requires a re-move is an important decision. If the failure is for one piece of static data that involves just a list or some small item doesn’t require a re-move, but a major misstep where things need to be done in a new order probably does.

Remember to leave enough time at the end of testing to be allowed to really good-up the initial move, learn from it, and redo it at least once and I think that’s a safe bet. After all, there are all sorts of things that can happen along the way. If you even forget to get all your permissions on directories in shape before the move, that can affect it. Here’s a scenario: what if the move is done off-hours, you don’t have your permissions quite right, and at that time, there’s no-one with the ability to fix the permissions so that you can continue? Yes, that means the move fails. It’s a simple thing but not an uncommon mistake. Thus, leave some extra time for things like this.

The Realities of Ending
I was just looking at my customer’s to-do list for the end of the project and making a final cutover to production. I wasn’t on it. This means a few things to me.

First of all, it means I did my job. As much as we all might like to have ongoing project work from a customer, it’s a consultant’s job to make ourselves obsolete so that customers can operate without us and not have to keep paying outside consulting fees. When I get a customer to the point that they’re self-sufficient, I know I did my job.

On the other hand, getting to the end is a bit sad. I’m used to it, it’s part of my job, but it’s a little sad when you know you might never see a customer again. I’ll admit it. While I’m used to it and it’s part of my job and I’m hardened to it, to an extent, I don’t want customers to think I just walk away and never think of them or their projects, again. That’s definitely not the case. I often think of past customer, hope they’re doing well, think of specific things that we built-into the project and hope that those things served the maintenance of the project.

So, yes, the end of the project is here and it’s time for me to move along, once again. As usual, I hope I added value and left the project in a better state than I found it. 🙂

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises