Looking at the Forest

On a current project I am scheduled to do training during development. As sprints come to an end and pass a light QA, the code is pushed to a staging server where the client will be trained. We use project management software and have a PM assigning tasks to the developers. Sublayouts, templates, and components are constructed to render a completed site. Generally this makes up the basic foundation for most Sitecore implementations and works well. Recently, however, it was called to my attention that this isn’t enough. I titled this blog Looking at the Forrest because as a developer I think it’s easy to get bogged down in the individual tasks assigned to you and lose site of the overall project. For the most part we work long hours and are under strict deadlines – getting our tasks completed before a sprint review is enough to keep us busy. That is missing the point, however. Inevitably, several things happen throughout development that can break parts of the site. Things that once worked no longer do because of a change, a better way to do something is found and working components are tweaked, and because we are human – sometimes we just screw up and break something without meaning to or knowing it. Enough with the excuses. I was preparing for the training I mentioned about and was clicking around on the site as I would be for the training. I saw broken links, missing layouts, unhanded errors, and a general lack of content (lorem ipsum to verify page layouts and css). I had been developing this site for weeks and had not noticed any of this, but as soon as I started looking at the site for an end user’s perspective I was disappointed. Taking a step back from the individual trees and looking at the forest is imperative in delivering a solid solution to your client. This realization has caused me to set two alarms in my calendar a week to Look at the Forrest no matter how busy I may be. Focusing on the daily tasks, it’s easy to quickly lose focus on the goal of the overall project; I recommend setting yourself some kind of reminder to keep the forest in mind.