Just last week I visited with a past customer with a possible new project. Actually I was there primarily discussing implementing Globalyzer, and they brought up the possibility of having our team provide services for them.
The situation was not unusual in that they had clear high-level directives (as in get it done yesterday) for the internationalization effort, but hadn’t figured out the how part of the equation. As is often the case, the first request was to do an extensive assessment and architectural document. I told them what I’m going to tell you here. We’ve found projects that start with detailed technical assessments and documentation, often end up stalled for a year or more.
While assessing and architecting are essential activities, they don’t give executives the Return on Investment (ROI) answers, nor the teams involved the picture they need to initiate development. After seeing many projects flounder, we’ve changed our approach with our customers to first perform a quick budget analysis and project plan. We do this through a combination of interviewing technical staff and management to quickly gain architectural knowledge, while leading discussions on requirements.
In parallel, we perform a detailed code analysis using Globalyzer to create an accurate inventory of code-level issues including embedded strings, locale-support-limiting methods and functions and analysis of the database schema. By combining our methodologies with Globalyzer’s broad power, we can get a quick picture of what must be done, even over very large and complex code bases.
This in turn gives our customers a set of numbers, requirements and time frames from which they can align budgeting, resources and global sales and marketing efforts. Once that’s taken care of, more detailed design and implementation is ready to begin.
Take the time to read our Globalization ROI whitepaper in our download library. It provides example ROI formulas to help you think and present software globalization in terms your CFO or other executive members will appreciate. For him or her, approval will be first about presenting returns and a clear path to success, rather than interest in the detailed technical issues covered in an architectural document.