Project Management

Projects to Operations: Don’t Be a Butterfingers

The product handoff to operations is often thought of like death—it is an event far in the future, and it is best to think about the here and now instead. Of course, operations and death have nothing in common; operations is where the thing you worked so hard to create finally starts its life, so it is time for project managers to spend more time acing the handoff. Elizabeth Harrin discusses this in a post for Strategy Execution.

A Product Is Born

The best way to guarantee a smooth handoff is to not wait until the last second to get in touch with the operational team. Rather, you should make a specific point during project planning of identifying relevant parties in operations with whom to maintain contact. An example Harrin gives is of teams that train users with new processes and systems; too often, these teams themselves do not receive enough contact and education on the systems from the project team. In any case, you should document the things that operational teams will need in order to best maintain your deliverable, and you should then incorporate those elements into your project requirements.

One more thing you should especially do is use operations’s handover process, if it exists:

IT teams in particular often have a process for handing a service into live. There might be a sign off checklist or a process to work through that ensures you have covered everything required in order for them to do a good job of supporting it.

If you don’t know if something like this exists, ask for it. Or perhaps help them create it with the support of your PMO? If you work in a business that regularly puts new processes and systems into production it will be very beneficial to standardise what’s required for this handover process.

Project teams must always work with operations in mind, because if operations does not fully understand what it is being handed, will anybody else understand it?

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