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Configuring Yourself Out of a Problem

Dave Lennon, Business Consulting Team Lead for North America, FINEOS

When the project go-live date looms large on the horizon, end user problems sometimes appear that need to be resolved right away in order for a successful go-live to occur.  This can result in everyone from Project Sponsors to Developers being on edge. These problems are sometimes complex in nature, but don’t have to be complex in solution. Due to time and budget constraints, coding sometimes just isn’t an option, and simple, thoughtful configuration provided by the Business Consultancy team can be the solution.

A lot of people in this scenario automatically go to the term ‘workaround’ simply because of deadlines and budgets, and the feeling that only code can provide a solution. The first question to be asked here is why do we use the term workaround? Is it simply because no code will be involved in the solution or is it because we do not fully understand the issue? By taking a step back from the problem and analysing the core requirement we can apply configuration solutions to resolve the issue that may be better than the solutions provided by code. This is not to say configuration is the panacea for all ills, however, it’s also false to say that the configuration solution should always be flagged for replacement by code when timelines and budgets free up.

Analysis of the issue is the key here.  We need to draw a deep breath and ensure that we all understand the requirement and issue at hand.  In many cases, we all think that we know the issue, only to find out later that a more simple and cheaper configuration solution could have been utilised if that understanding had been there in the first place.

During projects, no matter how hard we try, some issues slip through the cracks and inevitably we end up in a situation similar to above.  Past experiences for me as a Business Consultant for FINEOS have been around security and a realization that certain users can see or complete too much within the application. Rather than using code we turned to the flexibility that configuration offers in order to solve our issue, this resulted in a win win situation for the project.

The solution that is needed has to be effective and efficient in its implementation, so all fingers should initially point to configuration to come up with a way of doing this. The configurable solution may be that short term filler but may also be the best and most effective way to solve our problem.