A successful project ends with a controlled close to make sure that the solution transitions to its operational business use as seamlessly as possible. In the BABOK® Guide, the Solution Assessment and Validation knowledge area focuses on ensuring a solution is successfully implemented. After all, if we can’t produce the desired end result of our project, we have not been successful!
One way to make sure this happens is to develop transition requirements for your project. These requirements describe the solution capabilities required to transition from the current organizational state to the future state. The good news about transition requirements is that they should be no longer needed once the transition to the new solution is complete. The bad news about transition requirements is that many project teams do not develop them and then wonder why their solution implementation was so rocky and painful.
In a nutshell, your project’s transition requirements define what needs to be done to transition from the existing situation to your new solution. The capabilities defined in the transition requirements target making a smooth transition from the old to the new.
There are three key elements that must be considered when developing the transition requirements for your project. It is very important that you understand what is going on with the current, deployed solution. Key sources to consider when defining your transition requirements include data, ongoing work and organizational change. Let’s take a closer look at each of these sources.
Data. Be sure to have a look at the data coming into and used by the existing solution. Some data may need to be archived while other data may need to be migrated to the new solution. Migrated data might require conversion or reformatting in order to be used by the new solution. The business rules governing data usage should also be revisited to see if they require revision or replacement.
Ongoing work. Stakeholders typically need to continue working with the existing or old solution while the new solution is being implemented. You will need to decide how to handle their need to get work done and decide what happens when the new solution is up and running. Balancing the need to do work and your need to get the new solution in place can be quite tricky.
Organizational change. Often you will find yourself creating a process for managing the changes your new solution brings to the people who will use it. Job functions may change as a result of the new solution. New information may now be available to stakeholders and new skills may be required in order to use the new solution effectively. You may need to develop user guides, online help screens and training materials to help people learn to use the new capabilities the solution will provide to them.
According to the BABOK® Guide, a successful transition period on a project includes one of all of the following tasks:
- Operating the old capabilities and the new solutions in parallel
- Migrating information between the old and new solutions
- Conducting stakeholder training on the new solution
- Developing new capabilities to support the transition period from old to new
We all know from our current and previous projects that transitioning to a new solution can be very challenging. It is essential that the team develop comprehensive implementation plans to make sure we did the job right and didn’t forget anything. Transition requirements allow us to do exactly that.
Happy transition from old to new!
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