Managing Packaging Projects – Audit & Rationalisation

Managing Packaging Projects – Audit & Rationalisation


Many desktop transformation projects start off with a Project Manager a Desktop Engineer and the sudden revelation that there are over “3000 Applications” to package in just under 6 months otherwise the World's going to end.  This of course isn’t the case but it often takes a while to understand this.  The large number of applications often comes from a misunderstood report produced by desktop configuration management software such as Microsoft’s SCCM. 

Unfortunately this sort of analysis often leads to panic at the start of a project: the project manager realizes that they have no chance in completing what they have set out to do. It’s only at the end of the project that they learn that there were only 700 applications and the report they were using at the start of the project was actually a list of all the executable files installed on every computer.

This is probably my most repeated phrase about packaging projects: “Do your Audit at the start of the project and not at the end when you think you are ready to migrate your users.”

I know it seems a ridiculous thing to say but it happens every time.  The programme manager will come out with all sorts of excuses as to why its too early to do an audit when: they are nowhere near ready to migrate the users; the business won't want to be disturbed, it costs too much, everybody’s requirements will have changed by the time we are ready etc...


To take each application through the full transformation process will cost the project around £1000. That seems like a lot of money so lets do a quick analysis: 

To discover how the application is configured, document and test on the new operating system will take on average of one day. Another day to package, document and ensure it works. Then on to QA, User Acceptance Testing, any remediation, and finally, release to live will take the best part of another day. At £350 per day for contractors that full process adds up to £1050. It might seem a little loose but once you take into account the running around and scheduling users and techies it's about right. 

If you think it’s going to be cheaper by outsourcing to an offshore company then think again. You still have to manage the process interfaces and managing the quality becomes a real cat and mouse game.

So, back to audit, you think you have 3000 applications and you have just budgeted £3m for effort. You have also just worked out that at three days per app it’s going to take you 9000 days effort (plus time for holidays - they do happen!) If you cram that into six months then you’re talking about a team of at least 75 people: and that’s starting at day one.

Can you start to see the problem here? We’ve just geared our organisation up to complete a packaging project in six months at a burn rate of at least £26k per day (75*£350) and have no idea where the first application is coming from, who really uses it and whether it is suitable for your new environment.

Of course we’ll still look like heroes because, as I said earlier there will only really be about 700 applications to do. We’ll come in on time, within budget and will have only wasted £2.3M on resources we never really needed ...

It takes time to do an audit, it takes resource and it looks like you're not achieving much: but in the long run it’s going to save you money - lots of money. 


At AppTracker we have thought about every step of the packaging process so that you can define, manage and deliver your application transformation projects in the most cost effective way.

An Audit should be broken down into manageable units. If you think you're going to be migrating users based on Business Area, Office, Building, or Country then drive your audit in the same way. At AppTracker we call these BluePrints as they help define the plans for migration. 

Once you have defined your BluePrints you can import your audit results into AppTracker and manage the application rationalization process. Once the BluePrint owner is happy that they have all the applications they need you can get sign off and move them into the packaging process.

In this way you have a signed off set of deliverables for a specific migration unit. Your costs are being managed and your time-scales can be set.