5 Steps to Ensure Your Project Is an Operational Success
Often, projects fail because the organisation and its people are not ready for project completion. When your state of preparedness is lacking, project risks escalate – and usually this is because of a disconnect between the project work itself and the deployment of the completed project. This is particularly the case in IT projects, where the project team is separate from the delivery team.
Being project ready should encompass the entire lifecycle of the project – including delivery, implementation and operation.
Here are five project-critical factors that your organisation should consider before closing a project.
1. Project Completion Preparation Costs Are Included in the Business Case
When composing the project’s business case, preparedness costs must be included. Training costs can amount to a significant proportion of overall costs. This may influence the decision to proceed. Resources will need to be allocated.
Unless this need and resource is included as a project cost, the benefits of the project cannot be accurately quantified. Any ensuing, unbudgeted cost may lead to reduced productivity and quality – and the qualification of the project as a failure.
2. End Users Are Prepared for Operational Roll-Out
Due consideration must be given to existing and required competencies of the users of the project’s solutions. Assessment of training needs must be made, support processes and documentation put in place, and new procedures identified and explained.
You must also decide on who will maintain the project’s solutions after roll-out, and how operations will be managed and monitored in the new environment.
3. Prepare for Operational Risks
Consider how your organisation will manage when the new systems and procedures are in place if there is a system outage or critical issue identified when in operation. End users must own the processes, be able to identify issues, and put into action real-time solutions such as disaster recovery and contingency plans.
4. Include Project Completion Preparation in Quality Management
It should not be enough for completion of the project to be accepted without project completion preparation included in your quality control and quality assurance criteria.
It is good project management practice to ensure that preparedness is tested early and often. This will allow gaps in knowledge or skills to be identified and rectified as the project progresses and thus make certain that when the project is complete it can be delivered into a prepared environment.
5. Project Completion Preparedness Risks Must Be Included in Project Governance
- Evaluate the current and future state
- Take direction from the plans, strategies and policies associated with the specific project
- Monitor and control the project facets
By doing this, the PM can assess consequences in terms of costs and quality and provide solutions to expected current shortfalls in preparedness as the project proceeds.
Only if the end users and other stakeholders are prepared for project completion can the project roll out with success. If they are unprepared, then the new solutions, processes and procedures required are likely to require a costly onboarding process.
A good project manager will ensure that all preparation needs are considered and costed – including needs and costs in the project plan – to ensure that a smooth transition from completion to operation is made.
The time to assess if your organisation is prepared for project completion is during the creation of the business plan and project planning.
For project management that ensures your organisation is fully prepared to reap the project’s benefits, contact Your Project Manager: