Discovery – Not restricted to Christopher Columbus

When Columbus launched his boats on his now very famous voyage, he had no idea what he would discover.  What he did know was that planning was required.  You can’t go on a voyage that monumental with no planning.  What would happen if they ran out of food or fresh water half way across the Atlantic?

Planning means understanding the objectives, the boundaries and the resources at your disposal.  In particular, working with the key stakeholders (the King in this case) to satisfy their needs as in the end they pay the bills.

In a unified communications project the objectives, boundaries and resources are known – and you know the king!  So why do so many IT projects go off the rails?  Easy – the discovery process is flawed.  Discovery is the process in which the key variables – the objectives, the boundaries, resources and stakeholders are all documented.  Once documented then firstly a review can occur which will compare the proposed solution to the gathered information.  If gaps exist they can be fixed easily at the start of the project.

Once Discovery is complete, a detailed project management plan can be put in place to make sure that the project is delivered to the specified objectives, staying within the defined boundaries, using the available resources and with happy stakeholders.

A Microsoft Lync project has many variables, many stakeholders (commercial, technical, operational), usually has limited resources and a high view on objectives.  These can be achieved if the process is started correctly.  The key is having a well documented and thorough process for defining and managing the success of your Lync project.  Successful Discovery is something that requires substantial skills in areas as diverse as voice/PBX, change management, Microsoft Exchange, Active Directory, SQL Server, project management, user training and finally Microsoft Lync.

Columbus’s real discovery journey was his preparation – which allowed him his other discovery, the one for which he is a little better known.