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Thursday, December 07, 2017

Software Transition Plan

Building a system is one thing and turning it over to production for the end users to reap it's utility is a totally different beast. Transitioning products to production involves training, documentation, support knowledge transfer, operational procedures, production readiness and end of life disposal. It is a complex process and requires good governance and leadership. A well known systems hueristic emphasizes that systems are least stable when transitioning from one governance mode to another.

Each of the areas above could require a detailed plan or set of checklists to ensure all needed actions have been considered. In this post we will focus on software products, and list below key items that should be included in a transition plan.

Training should cover all required functions by the end user, and should include special cases. emphasis should be on how to process business rules, verify transactions, run reports and review output. common artifacts used are handouts, videos, training web pages, online webinars, in person train the trainer sessions.

Documentation includes defect logs, knowledge base tip sheets, escalation procedures, notification requirements, schedules for batch jobs, lists of interfaces, details of interfaces, expected outcomes, lists of vendors, data sheets, user guides, admin guides, support levels and contacts. Requirements documents and functional specifications should also be shared with the operatonal support team for reference, manitenance and operational support puproses.

Support knowledge transfer usually takes place in progrsssive iterations in the form of meetings between the project development team and the operational transition team, it is a series of engagements of experts to transfer knowledge, review details of the software and identify all the transition requirements including the development of a transition plan and its execution.

Operational procedures are covered in the documentation above and also include run books, special processes for data archiving, licenses renewals, IT business functions and upport such as security audits, threat analysis and similar processes.

Production readiness covers the setup and installation of the software, user configuration, secuity profiles, smoke testing, functional spot checking, final hardware configuration and monirtoring systems (reportsing / dashboards) setup.

Finally end of life support should be considered at time of transition to ensure the user population understands how to dispose of the software at end of life, how to extract data and migrate into industry standard formats as needed.

The links below provide some more details and templates 

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