How do you prepare the users and maintenance team that is vital for project success? When moving from development to production, the project is entering a new “life”. It is easy to underestimate the effort that is needed. A smooth transition will often require funding and resource investment both before and after launch.

Preparation of users may be relatively simple communication and training task but could also be a complex task requiring a multiple change management initiatives

Handover to the maintenance team is often started too late and is given little priority. Especially the period right after a launch is critical. This is usually where the need for user support is biggest.

Make initial assessment of change to culture and habits
Create plan for organizational implementation
Define responsibilities for organizational implementation
Identify relevant user groups, impact and initiatives
Involve receiving organization early
Assign sufficient funds for stabilization after go-live
Identify other initiatives that can impact implementation
Execute implementation plan
Prepare communication material
Create a training plan
Follow-up on usage and feedback
Establish plan for hand-over to maintenance
Define maintenance/operations organization to take over from the project
Define activities needed to prepare maintenance organization
Identify criteria for hand-over to operations
Plan to involve maintenance organization early
Assign sufficient funds for stabilization after go-live
Execute plan for knowledge transfer to maintenance organization
Prepare solution documentation
Document hand-over to operations
The solution has not proven stable before hand over to operations

Problem: Due to lack of testing, poor test results or other reasons, the solution is not stable and well-functioning before hand over to operations.

Consequence: Operations are unlikely to be successful, business usage will be negatively impacted. It may require a long stabilization period to get things right.

The maintenance organization is defined/involved too late

Problem: There is little time available to get the operational setup in place. Important input may be missed from the people operating the solution after go-live.

Consequence: It may not be possible to close the project. The solution may end up being too difficult or expensive to support.

No or weak maintenance organization to take over from the project

Problem: No organization is available to take on key tasks like end user and technical support.

Consequence: It may not be possible to close the project. Users of the new product or solution may not be able to use the solution.

The project introduces significant change to culture and habits

Problem: There is a risk that existing culture and habits will clash with the new solution.

Consequence: It may require a significant investment to change the culture, or the project may not generate the expected benefits.

The project lacks attention in the receiving organization

Problem: It is difficult to secure the required resources and other factors needed for successful implementation (e.g., management attention and prompt decision making).

Consequence: Benefits may not be realized and extra effort is required to succeed.

The task of organizational implementation is underestimated

Problem: The organizational implementation task is underestimated and lacks funding and resources.

Consequence: Business value of the project may be negatively impacted since the new product is not used, partly used or usage is being delayed