3 Ways Brands Give Themselves AEM Upgrade Headaches

After the city of Denver upgraded their web infrastructure to AEM, they saw a 28% increase in monthly visitors and a 52% decrease in the number of support tickets and received numerous awards from the Center for Digital Government, Best of the Web Awards, and Adobe Government Creativity Awards, among others. This success story did not happen overnight. The city had to analyze 12,000 web pages across fifty-five agencies and with over 300 authors. They cut those numbers down to 4,400 pages and 100 authors in order to streamline content and deliver a better experience for their visitors. The effort was worth it because in the end, they reduced technical support tickets and increased their traffic. This upgrade was a complete overhaul, which required more effort and planning than a standard AEM upgrade. Still, there are many pitfalls you can fall into when updating your AEM version. Let’s go over three ways that brands give themselves headaches when upgrading their AEM version.

Not properly scoping out requirements

Poor scoping of requirements can lead to frustration, budget changes, timeline changes, failed projects, and unmet expectations. Do you know exactly what needs to be done by when and by whom and which stakeholders are involved? These questions are imperative to get right before any work begins. Delivering the news to your developers or authors that things have changed after they started working generally has no positive outcomes. If you are looking to start an AEM upgrade, make sure you have all the knowledge that you need. This means knowing what features are available, what version you’re upgrading to, what needs to be changed, the people involved, and every detail about the upgrade. Otherwise, you’ll be facing scope creep and requirement changes, which can lead to dissatisfaction for everyone involved in the project. You can avoid the headache of planning an upgrade and potentially risking scope creep by working with an AEM expert, preferably one who has led multiple upgrades in the past so they know exactly what needs to be done and how to deliver a successful project. They should have the foresight to maneuver around pitfalls toward a smooth delivery.

Not testing code

Code can be fragile or robust. The difference between the two is as simple as adding tests. Since AEM upgrades rely on code for its infrastructure, having high-quality code makes a huge difference in the reliability of your projects. When you don’t invest in writing high-quality code from the start, you’ll eventually end up with technical debt. Technical debt is code that isn’t written with the future in mind. It simply works at the moment and does its job but isn’t easy to change or integrate with other code later on. The time you save by hastily writing code will be insignificant compared to the time you’ll lose when you eventually need to make changes or work with that code again. One way to futureproof your code is to write tests. Testing code isn’t something that most developers enjoy doing, but it’s a disciplined approach to writing robust software. You must write with the future and the end goal in mind, knowing that you have to write reliable code or else your tests will fail. Writing tests will save you headaches down the line. Invest in the future of your infrastructure so you don’t have to deal with technical debt.

Not following best practices

It’s tempting to design your technical architecture in your own vision. You’re the expert in your needs, so why not build AEM accordingly? The answer is that AEM is not a creative project. Adobe has created guides in their documentation about best practices for development and deployment. Save your creative experiments for personal projects. When it comes to your business and the content and digital experiences that you deliver for your customers, it’s wiser to use the best practices from Adobe. Who else knows best how to use and design their product? In the guides, Adobe shows you the best way to do many tasks in development and deployment. Topics like development practices, content architecture, software architecture, coding tips, and coding pitfalls are discussed in depth. Again, this is about spending the time up front to save time later, as well as building more efficient and reliable infrastructure.

Final thoughts

Starting an AEM upgrade can be a great source of excitement and potential for your content and digital experience creators. Your developers, authors, and other team members can look forward to enjoying all the new features that Adobe creates. This excitement, however, can turn into frustration if upgrades go wrong. You can avoid such headaches by knowing what troubles to watch and plan for accordingly. Scoping out requirements in perfect detail is essential for the success of any project. Testing code is an investment in the future of your digital infrastructure and will help avoid any technical debt, which is a major source of frustration for developers. Following best practice guidelines from Adobe will help you build a quality infrastructure that lays the foundation for all projects in the future. Atypical Digital is an Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) Preferred Partner specializing in helping enterprise brands leverage Adobe’s AEM platform to optimize their platforms for productivity and efficiency, free up IT-related tasks to make teams more productive, and maximize AEM stability and security. To see how Atypical Digital can help your brand improve its backend foundation to reduce critical errors during AEM upgrades, contact our knowledgeable team of AEM upgrade specialists today!


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