Project Management Adds Value to Operational IT Departments

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Categories: IT

The structured approach of project management can add value to operational IT departments. What makes this work is the approach that the project management office (PMO) or the project management team defines in its project management methodology for release of the systems into production environments.

Operational departments should execute with a process often referred to as "steady state transfer." This process gives the project team the opportunity to validate all the key production processes such as the support, maintenance cycle, systems restore and sanity testing, which is the basic testing of the system functionality.

Project teams launch the steady state transfer after successful tests show the systems are ready to be released into the production environment.

This validation step -- to ensure that the system processes are well mapped between various support departments -- adds value to the operations teams. The validation step is done during project execution using the steady state transfer process -- and without generating special projects.

This validation step in the project management practice guarantees process interface manuals are updated with any changes to the processes and the test results.

The operational departments work with the project team to complete this task and thus make a smooth transition into the "steady state" of operation.

What processes does your organization use to achieve the same results?

See more posts on IT.
Read more from Dmitri.

Posted by Dmitri Ivanenko PMP ITIL on: March 21, 2012 02:15 PM | Permalink

Comments (3)

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Bruce -
I always liked the notion that releases/projects could be seamlessly integrated into an operational environment. While I've not seen it work seamlessly, I've seen it work well when done incrementally. The key seemed to be that the operational team got use to regular updates and releases and so became quite good at picking up each new change to the system. When we did it less often and more "big bang" it was always a bit of a mess.

I was visiting one customer who had picked up our new software release. I was watching them do their job and noticed they were using an older method and not our newest software. I asked them why not and he said it was because the software didn't work.

A bit alarmed, I asked if he could show me. He pulled up our software. Looked at it a bit and said, oh this looks like a new version, I've not tried it yet.

I asked him how he got alerted to new versions of software. He said it was easy. No one alerted anyone. Everyone just knew there was a new software release when the whole system became unstable!

I never realized that by improving our quality (and delivery) we took away the "built in" notification of new releases!

So, be prepared for some unusual reactions when you finally get to the point of seamless release and integration!

Good subject.


Shannon Gaw
I have also seen this referred to as "production acceptance." The challenge for IT operations groups is not only to define specific entrance and exit requirements, but also to maintain enough knowledge about the application suite to understand how compatible a new release is with the existing production environment. Having the production DBA role on staff and maintaining strong relationships with the QA/Testing function is critical in this regard.

Shannon Gaw

We are using PMP for project management and ITIL for our IT Operation.

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