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Topics: IT Project Management, PMO, Strategy
Best ways to plan and execute a complex IT Go Live?
What have people found are the best strategies to plan and execute a major IT project Cutover and Go Live? Typically projects involve multiple tech and business groups to collaborate for a successful implementation.

- One large project plan with all the details?
- Hourly call ins to a bridge to provide status updates to the PM?
- Multiple plans with key linking update activities?
- Use of other visuals like Visio or process flow diagrams?

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I would treat it as a program, considering multiple plans with key linking update activities

Hi Anonymus,

what is complex for you? Could you give us some information? I led multiple IT Cut over and Go-Lives and complex usually very subjective.

from my experience and based on the less information i would echo Rhandsaissem here ...

Hi Anonymous,

Could you be more specific. I see this as more process oriented.

Hi Anonymous,
In addition to what was posted so far, you should build a chane architecture for this kind of projects.

- One large project plan with all the details?
You as project manager will want to have this information, obviously and it is good that everybody has access to it, but it will be an overkill for the rest of the team. Therefor, it is important that you make sure each area has the correct information they need (don't trust they read the whole thing).
- Hourly call ins to a bridge to provide status updates to the PM?
Yes, but careful here, make a disaster planning: who decides on the roll back, what are the triggers, what are the timings, what are the margins. In case of outages, make sure you have the technicians working the problem, not getting onto escalation calls.
- Multiple plans with key linking update activities?
Each area will have its own MOP, previously tested. Other probably will be less interested, but I always found it important they are aware what others are doing. (Avoiding the "Oh, but nobody told me that ...")
- Use of other visuals like Visio or process flow diagrams?
Ideally you have a web tool that everybody can check about the status

Make sure you prepare the team, the tasks and the who does what. Also make sure that during cut over, only the tasks specifically written down in the MOP should be executed. People should not need to think, make this clear. If something goes beyond the book: roll back.

For our HANA on CRM implementation, I had a master project plan, a roadmap created in Visio used for communicating the plan and progress to others, and I created a separate cutover plan for go-live weekend. Having a separate cutover plan made it easier to visualize work that needed to be done by multiple people at different locations, at different times.

For the cutover plan, in addition to an outline of the weekend's activities, in Word, I used Excel and created a spreadsheet where I grouped work into columns by user, functional area, and time zone, and used formulas for the time that the work was to be performed.

I had a communication plan specific to the weekend, separate from the project communication plan, that included communication to the business. I also did walk-throughs with multiple teams, prior to the weekend, to go over the plan for the weekend and the support plan for the weeks immediately following go-live.

For the first part of the cutover, there were just a few of us onsite and I would check in with them. Once we started validation, I started a conference bridge. Most people stayed on, muted until they ran into an issue.

We did something similar when we rolled CRM to Japan, and are doing something similar for the upcoming ECC upgrade. This is just a brief summary of the cutover weekend. I'd need another page to cover the whole project.

A complex IT GO Live would be needing a bit of all that you have mentioned in order to be a success...
It should have a good plan, fallback plan, a nice visio diagram with all the business group mentioned. Also at the time of execution, communication management plan with status updates are a must.

Go Live plan is a complex process, in large projects.

The crucial meeting which some managers fail to set up is the Go Live Meeting, that covers everything required for Go live, and discussed by every project team member's presence. The Summary of Tasks, assigned to each team member, is reviewed, re-checked and a fall back plan at a granular level, so the visibility of any problems can be easily picked up.

At the meeting, the players, understand their role and requirement in the Go Live.

Communication plan for Go Live is very essential.

A stage wise progress monitoring plan, to monitor each stage of go live, so a roll back can be easier and troubleshooting easier.

Yes, used all of the above. Based on the project a variety of teams may need various outputs.

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