Your project went Live – CONGRATULATIONS!
So… why are you the first person who is contacted when there’s an issue? Why are your team members constantly answering support calls? And why is your name still being tossed around as the process owner?
You’re all trying to move on from the project – you have a new project and other work to do!
When will this project be OVER?
The answer comes down to transition planning.
When we’re planning a project, our minds are focused on near-term questions like:
- When should we freeze requirements?
- Who is going to be involved in testing?
- Do we have the right level of documentation?
It’s really tough to look way down the road…past Training…past Go Live…and around the bend from Lessons Learned.
The risk is: if we don’t envision what “business as usual” will look like post-project, and plan for that, we may find ourselves supporting it forever!
Planning for this transition is done, well, during the Planning Stage of the project. It doesn’t need to be finalized at that point, but a solid draft needs to be created. As you move through the project, periodically review the plan, and finalize it during Execution, when you really understand the extent of training and support it will need.
The good news is that planning the transition is not as daunting as it seems. You have most of the information from the start. Here are a few questions to ask when you’re drafting:
- Look at the priority and purpose of the project. Is it a special one-time project like a new marketing campaign? If it’s a process that will become part of normal operations, consider what happens when a new person joins the organization – or something changes in the process?
- Is the project short term, like launching a new product, or long term, such as rolling a division into your ERP system? If it’s long-term, there may be upgrades or follow-on work to consider. Which departments need to understand the initial project work and documentation? Which pieces need extra time for knowledge transfer?
- Look at the departments assigned to the project team. Is there IT involved? What about Quality? Which business units? These departments will have a role in maintaining the new process or system after you’re Live
- Is there user training required to roll out the project? If so, you will need to consider pulling in the Training department or generating training material for new users.
- What about on-going documentation? More than project artifacts may have your team’s name (and yours) all over it. Who needs to own which documents in the future? Who updates the documentation and is there a criteria established?