Deploy Early and Often
Deployment and Installation processes are often put off til close to the end of a project. In some projects writing installation tools is delegated to a "release" person who take on the task as a "necessary evil." The installation process is the first thing that the customer sees, and a simple installation process is the first step to having a reliable (or at least easy to debug) production environment.
By starting you project with an installation process, you have time to evolve the the process as you move through the product development cycle, and the change to make changes to the application code to make the installation easier. Running and testing the installation process on a clean environment periodically also provides a check that you have not made assumptions in the code that rely on the development or test environments.
The installation process is essential to the productivity of your customers (or your professional serices team) so you should be testing and refacting this process as you go, much as you treat code.
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