Managing Projects Across Platforms – Platform Saturation

Managing Projects Across Platforms – Platform Saturation

by Lou Chapman - August 23, 2019

During our latest focus group, we discussed using too many platforms/products in a single project lifecycle. An issue that has become a more pervasive problem for development organizations. While using specialized products can be helpful in solving problems, it can lead to confusion or more work. 

We asked our focus group to comment on how they felt about the number of products their organization uses. Of 11 organizations represented, more than half indicated they use at least 5 different products [platforms] during a project’s lifecycle. Additionally, 8 of the organizations indicated that they use too many products [platforms] while working on projects. 

Managing projects across multiple platforms, Azure, GitHub, Jira, OS Ticket, etc. can be difficult. Having all of these platforms can create many problems and/or bottlenecks. Creating more work in updating all the platforms for a project when there are changes. Then there are the problems with duplicate systems, usually supporting new and legacy platforms. Hosting with AWS or Azure while also hosting with a legacy server whether in-house or elsewhere can double workload and delay projects. 

While it is important to be able to service clients’ needs, making sure work is getting done effectively and efficiently is also critical. Adding on too many products can create longer workflows and add more time than they are supposed to save. In this post, we are going to focus on the problems with excessive platforms in a single project lifecycle.

So Many Platforms, One Lifecycle

As we mentioned, most development projects can use at least 5 different products or platforms throughout their lifecycle. Server management tools, version controlling, hosting platforms, quality assurance tracking, and project management services, are all examples of platforms that might be used. While designed to help teams work together and efficiently, these platforms might lose some of their time savings when all added together. 

For example, when a development team hires on a new member. While this is great news for the organization, it creates a long list of access permission tickets and security protocols. Bringing this new developer up to speed on projects, clients, products, and company policy’s is hard enough. But the added work of creating accounts for all the tools, portals, servers, repositories, etc. will take a lot of time out of any admins day.

Along the same lines, if a development team loses a developer it creates the same problem but in reverse. Now an admin needs to remove all of the accounts and permissions to portals, tools, servers, repositories, etc. While these examples may seem like rare occurrences, our latest focus group found the opposite. 8 of the 11 represented companies indicated that permissions change at least 3 times during a project’s lifecycle. Meaning they either had to add or remove permissions while working on a project at least 3 times. 

Furthermore, of those 8 organizations, 7 indicated that they need to change permissions to at least 4 different systems. That means throughout a project’s lifecycle an admin may need to change permissions at least 12 times. While some changes are quick, others could require several steps and confirmations to complete. 

That’s Only Half Of It

This example doesn’t even cover the problems with managing the platforms’ themselves. Updates, changes, and integrations are examples of regular maintenance for platforms. These types of changes could be another full-time job. Another downside of multiple platforms is security risks.

When you have to constantly add and remove permissions to your platforms you increase their security risk. This is something that customers often worry about when deciding on service providers. We will talk about these issues more in a later post.

What Can We Do About It

While it may seem like an unfixable problem, something that just comes with this type of work, there are ways to reduce wasted time. Finding tools that do multiple tasks inside a single platform is the best way. Some platforms like Azure and AWS have started to implement different features. Adding things like improved database solutions, role management, and new search frameworks will help their users reduce the number of platforms they use. Creating less work for users and simplifying workflows.

Another way to help control the number of hours wasted in managing platforms is through integrated solutions. These solutions will vary by service and platform. To get a more‌ ‌focused recommendation as what services are best for your needs, contact Arcane Strategies today.