Recently, I have been part of a major ongoing implementation of Dynamics NAV that has required extensive on-site hours from me and some of my colleagues. In doing so, I have noted a number of striking comparisons between on-site work and office work.
When on-site, it is very easy to develop tunnel-vision for that client if you’re not careful because their requirements and requests are immediately in front of you. This can represent an advantage or disadvantage depending on organisational skills. If you have developed a strong support network with colleagues that are not on-site, their assistance can be invaluable in handling other client’s work that is just as important and at the same time make great strides in the work that you are focusing on. Conversely, if the support network is not fully utilized, then the quality of work for all clients may suffer. This makes collegial relationships extremely important for a high standard of quality of work and continuation of good client relationships across the board.
When working on-site, I have been able to interact directly with the end users, which has had an extraordinary benefit. When they’ve had concerns, I’ve been able to directly allay them with assurances that the system will help them do their job better and more easily. Also, seeing their enthusiasm when encountering a new feature that they consider particularly helpful both encourages me and gives me perspective that what I may have become familiar with, can be a significant change for others. Conversely, seeing their frustration when the system is either misunderstood or requires changes can become overwhelming if tasks are not managed properly.
There is no correct way to address urgency and demand but I have found that communicating issues with my colleagues and listing tasks yet to be performed has allowed me to prioritize and manage issues as they occur. This process has been much more critical when on-site firstly because it would otherwise be easy to lose track of verbal requests while receiving alerts through e-mail or formalized systems. Additionally, there is simply a higher quantity of issues occurring due to it being a new implementation.
Working on-site has proven to be a vastly different experience than working from Fenwick’s office. It has had its own challenges and rewards, and involved interacting with many more employees of the client than any regular maintenance or development work would. And while I look forward to returning to the office in triumph, I cannot say I haven’t enjoyed my first implementation.