Sometimes in high school, we were allowed to trade papers with our neighbor to grade each other’s tests, reports, or quizzes. When that happened, I magically got all A’s. Other times, we could grade our own papers. When that happened, I got A+’s!  The rest of the time, our papers were graded by the actual teachers. When that happened, I got straight C’s (or worse).

But, then I got wise…

Instead of reading books, I learned to read people. Instead of studying the subject, I studied the teachers themselves. Understanding how the teacher prepared their lectures and graded our material provided me with great insight into how to prepare for quizzes, tests, and exams to achieve top scores. It isn’t cheating, it’s simply understanding the evaluation criteria and details of what good looks like. When I figured out this secret, my grades changed drastically.

Why do you suppose my self-evaluated grades differed so greatly from my instructor-evaluated work? According to me and my lenient peers, I was on course for an Ivy League life. But, according to 100% of the Michigan colleges that didn’t agree with my D’s-get-degrees philosophy, I was on course for a life as a train-hopping hobo.

The difference is, as a self-reviewer, you have personal stake and pride-in-ownership, which leads to overlooking the small details and errors. These ultimately add up to large errors when aggregated and break the proverbial camel’s back.

“So what does all this have to do with Adobe AEM project success?” you may ask. It illustrates why having an impartial reviewer is so important.

Make the Grade
As Intouch’s Adobe consultants, we’re often called upon to evaluate a client’s Adobe AEM platform to determine how flexible, scalable, and (re-)usable it truly is. We effectively get to grade their homework, and we do it thoroughly and impartially. Unfortunately, this engagement usually happens after the fact, when the platform is already live in production. So, the remediation of the findings often remains unattended, or fixing them causes significant refactoring of code and regression testing of the platform until it becomes entirely unusable, unmaintainable, and is scrapped entirely.  

Throughout our consulting engagements, we’ve seen clients who have created hundreds of components when the industry standard recommends about 20 or less. We’ve seen clients with styles, colors, and brand-specific functionality integrated in their templates, making them completely inflexible for the next brand, thus requiring yet another template to be developed. We’ve seen little (or no) emphasis given to the content-authoring experience, workflow and publishing processes, integrated SEO optimization, platform extensibility, security, or performance tuning. And as a result, we’ve seen clients who have thrown away two-and-a-half years of work and started over because their platform became completely unmanageable. All of this could have been avoided if they had an impartial reviewer who knew the criteria of a best-in-class Adobe AEM implementation before they crossed point of no return; that is, if they had access to a team of Adobe experts who knew the definition of good as defined by industry and Adobe best practices to evaluate their platform before it was too late.

Start. Right. Now.
Intouch can evaluate your AEM platform now to ensure its success in the future. We will provide a thorough audit and recommendation for more than 40 common design and execution pitfalls that will limit your success. This includes a review of component and template documentation, architecture, and code to validate its capacity for reuse and ensure the platform’s readiness for the creation of additional sites. We also do a deep-dive into the platform to validate SEO best practices, and we’ll give special attention to the content-authoring experience to ensure the end-users — the people who use the tool on a day-to-day basis — can do their jobs quickly and easily.

But be forewarned, due to the rigid guidelines we follow in our own implementations, the highest grade given to a client has been a C. And no, we won’t let you grade your own paper.

How well will your platform perform? Give us a call and find out.