This articles covers the eight (8) critical roles (a.k.a. hats or job functions) that need to be filled for any integration project using the CIMcloud API. It includes a list of the role and their responsibilities, tactics to fill the roles, the three most common & costly mistakes that occur on integration projects (all three are role-related). These roles are particularly critical for complex integration projects.
It covers the following topics:
- The 8 Critical Roles to Fill
- Assigning the Roles
- People Filling Multiple Roles
- The Three (3) Most Common & Costly Mistakes
Part of a Series of Articles
The article you are currently reading is part of a series of articles that are all organized and summarized in this Integration Reference Guide (Using the CIMcloud API).
Critical for Complex Integrations
The concepts presented in this article are particularly critical for complex integration projects.
Audience (for This Article)
The intended audience for this article is CIMcloud customers (and their contractors / partners) that are considering building and/or managing / supporting an integration between CIMcloud and any other software system.
The video walks through the content presented in this article. It also includes additional context and commentary.
The 8 Critical Roles to Fill
This section covers the eight (8) critical roles (or “hats” / “job functions”) that must be filled to make an integration project work.
The roles (listed) are:
- Program Manager
- Solution Architect (“SA”)
- Technical Planner
- Lead Project Planner
- Lead Project Manager
- CIMcloud Consultant
- <Other Software Platform> Consultant
The following includes additional details on each of the roles.
- This is the business sponsor of the project (with budget authority) that is responsible for making sure the 1) the project team is complete (critical roles are filled) and 2) the business gets ROI on the project.
- This article provides more details on the Program Manager Role & Responsibilities.
Solution Architect (“SA”)
- The Solution Architect designs the “target” (goal) for the project.
- This role designs a strategy that will work (factoring in the platforms being integrated, business goals, the technical complexities, the many tradeoffs, etc). It’s tricky. It’s required. And it’s the absolute foundation for success.
- This is the single most critical role for an integration project. You can NOT miss when filling this role (it is a must get right assignment).
- This must be filled by 1 and only 1 person.
- This article products more details on The Solution Architect Role.
- The Technical Planner builds a plan to get/build the tech that will hit the “target”.
- This is the technical guru that 1) receives the data mapping sheet from the Solution Architect (this is the what to do), and decides and documents how the integration work will be done (decides how to do it). This includes the 1) the technology / tools that will be used, configured, and/or developed, 2) the testing plan that will be executed, and 3) the ongoing operations and support plan that will be needed to make the integration work (and keep it working).
- The Technical Planner will produce a plan document that will be used by the developers to complete, test, roll-out, stabilize, run, and support the integration work / sync tool.
- The Technical Planner should have significant prior experience in using APIs to integrate software applications. This experience should include planning, developing, going live with, and supporting live integrations. Good judgement comes from battle scars and experience.
Lead Project Planner
- This role builds a project plan / task list (also called a work breakdown structure) that will deliver the project scope on-time and on-budget.
- There should be 1 and only 1 Lead Project Planner.
- The Lead Project Planner must have experience planning (and ideally managing) technical / integration projects like the one being executed and/or needs to seek advice and input (and confirmation of the plan) from people that have the experience. A realistic project plan can not be built without having significant experience with similar projects. An experienced project planner will reduce or eliminate the blind spots & omissions from the plan that negatively impact quality, lead-time, and budget/costs.
- That plan will be used and maintained by the Project Manager.
Lead Project Manager
- This role is responsible for delivering the project scope / outcome on-time and on-budget.
- There should be 1 and only 1 Lead Project Manager.
- This article covers the Project Manager Role (along with lots of additional resources).
- This is a technical resource with deep subject-matter expertise on the CIMCloud platform.
- They will be used by the Solution Architect to help the SA gain a deep understanding of the data structure and business logic (of the CIMcloud platform) involved in the integration project. They support the SA’s effort to accurately create the Data Mapping Sheet and the Live Data Take-over Plan.
- They will also be used by the technical resources on the project (Technical Planner and Developers writing the integration) for technical support related to the use of the CIMcloud API.
<Other Software Platform> Consultant
- This is a technical resource with deep subject-matter expertise on the software platform that is being integrated with CIMcloud.
- They will be used by the Solution Architect to help the SA gain a deep understanding of the data structure and business logic (of that platform) involved in the integration project. They support the SA’s effort to accurately create the Data Mapping Sheet and the Live Data Take-over Plan.
- They will also be used by the technical resources on the project (Technical Planner and Developers writing the integration) for technical support related to the use of SDKs, APIs, or any other technical integration strategies that will be leveraged to integrate with that platform.
- Developers will actually complete the technical coding / configuration, testing, roll-out, stabilization, and support work.
- They will use the technical plan as a guide and consult with the Lead Project Planner, Solution Architect, and software platform Consultants as needed.
Assigning the Roles
The Program Manager is accountable for making sure the roles getting properly assigned. The following two items are critical (“must do’s”) when setting up your integration project team.
- Fill out the Role Assignment Sheet with real people / names.
- This must be in writing.
- All team members & stakeholders must have access to it / be aware of it.
- Make sure each person GWC’s the role(s) they have.
- This article provides and explanation on GWC (Gets it, Wants it, has Capacity to do it).
People Filling Multiple Roles
Depending on the size and scope of the project, these roles may require a full-time (for some period during the project) or part-time effort. While some roles need to only be filled by one person (i.e. the Lead Solution Architect and the Lead Project Manager), it is common and acceptable for the same person to fill more than one role.
The Three (3) Most Common & Costly Mistakes
The three (3) most common mistakes made on integration projects are all role-assignment related. Understanding these mistakes, and how to avoid them, can help you dramatically reduce your risks on a complex integration project. These are the top three mistakes:
- Mistake #1 – The Solution Architect is not assigned or is not qualified
- Most typically, this role is completely overlooked by the business stakeholders who green-lighted the project (called the Program Manager) a results in them assuming “our developer is supposed to handle that stuff”. Sometimes experienced developers, who also have & exercise good business judgement (tempered through experience with software integration projects), naturally fill in and perform this role… but it is less common.
- Negative Result: An accurate Data Mapping Sheet is either 1) not created at all, or 2) will not actually work when implemented.
- Solution: Understand the role and specifically assign it to someone who 1) understands the role and deliverables (the Data Mapping Sheet + the Live Data Take-over Plan), and 2) is experienced enough to do it well.
- Mistake #2 – The Lead Project Manager is not assigned or has poor project management skills
- Most typically, this role is either 1) not explicitly assigned by the Program Manager, or 2) loosely assign to 2 or more people (“we are going to share this role”) which results in no-one taking responsibility, or 3) is assigned to someone that has no idea what the project manager’s responsibilities and/or is a weak fit (in skills / experience) to fill the role.
- Negative Result: 1) people are not held accountable to getting their work done on-time, 2) issues that come up (they always do) are not collected, discussed, and solved in a timeline fashion, and 3) bigger risks and changes (to scope, lead-time, and/or budget) are not communicated to business stakeholders.
- Solution: Understand the role and specifically assign it to one and only one person that can and will do the job.
- Mistake #3 – The Lead Project Planner is not assigned or does not have the experience needed.
- Most typically, this role is not explicitly assigned and and accurate plan never gets drafted / written. Sometimes a planner is assigned (or the Project Manager knows they need a plan and drafts one), but their lack of experience in projects like there cause them to draft a plan and timeline that is unrealistic. This is then communicated to business stakeholders (having never had a chance to be delivered on) and will result in missed expectations (because the on the job learning / learning curve negatively impacts quality, lead-time, and/or costs).
- Negative Result: There is not written project plan (task list) and/or the plan drafted is not realistic (because of the planner’s lack of experience in projects like this one).
- Solution: Get someone in the role that is battle-tested at drafting plans for projects like this or make sure your planner gets engaged input and validation (on the plan / task list) from someone who does have experience.