A good project plan is imperative to the successful release of high-quality software to the market. Most of the times, the project managers and stakeholders focus on planning for the development and implementation phase of the project. They miss out on planning for the most important aspect post-implementation i.e. is maintenance. For a smooth transition from the implementation phase to the maintenance phase, all you need is a good project transition plan.
What is a project transition plan?
A project transition plan is a document that layout the task and activities to be performed to efficiently transition the project from the implementation phase to the maintenance phase. The transition plan identifies the team responsible for a successful transition, the tools, techniques, and methodologies required. It also includes contingency planning and risk mitigation. An impact statement is formulated in the plan that outlines the potential impact of the transition to the existing infrastructure, operations and support team, and to the users.
For the maintenance of your application, you may go for a new vendor for the maintenance activities. The transition plan comes handy in the situation such as these.
Transition plan- Knowledge transfer
The effective knowledge transfer is critical for the smooth transition from implementation to maintenance. The knowledge transfer will incorporate the following sources of information:
There should be documentation of all the project requirements. The document should include latest version of the specification as it will help the team responsible for maintenance to get all the background information about the project. This will also be helpful in case you decide to go for a different vendor for maintenance of your project.
A well-documented code not only speeds up the transition process but also makes the new team comfortable with your project.
This will include any mockups, design files or other assets that will facilitate a smooth transfer.
You will need to hand over the tools and their credentials of the project repository to the team responsible for maintenance. You may need to create new accounts and deactivate the old ones.
Deploying the updates to the live application is not a good strategy. The maintenance team should be well aware of the specifics of the deployment process.
Any other technical information
Any other technical information relevant to the project should be available for the maintenance team.
Steps for project transition
Following steps are involved in transitioning from implementation to maintenance:
Identify resources for the maintenance
You need to first identify the resources responsible for the maintenance of the application. Depending on the amount of work, you can decide to have dedicated or shared resources.
Establish a maintenance status meeting with business partners and IT stakeholders
The focus of the maintenance status meeting is to focus on the results of the maintenance activities delivered for the business. The business and IT management team will review the performance of the application as per specification.
Establish production issues and incidents meeting with product owners & the technical team
In this separate meeting, the issues and bugs that need immediate action are discussed. The bugs and issues are selected as per the maintenance team’s goals and objectives.
Establish a change control board
The change control board will establish a method to request changes to the application without deterring the maintenance team from their intended goals. The maintenance team is looped in to ensure there are no impacts or conflicts.
Communicate the governance model
The maintenance governance model is communicated and reviewed by the business and IT stakeholders. A solution is presented on how issues, changes, and maintenance status will be reviewed.
Provide knowledge transfer between project team and maintenance team
The most important part is knowledge transfer between project team and maintenance team. In certain cases, project team members will be part of the maintenance team. There may be instances when a new team is set up for maintenance. The transition documents help to bridge the knowledge gap between development and maintenance. The transition documents include batch schedules, help desk coordination, escalation contacts, known problems and solutions, and disaster recovery procedures.
Project Transition checklist
The below checklist will help you to ensure a successful transition.
- Has the client accepted the entire product or service deliverables?
- Are there any conditions or contingencies related to acceptance? If so, what are those?
- Has the application met the performance goal established in the project performance plan?
- Has the actual cost of the project been compared to the approved cost?
- Are all the changes to the cost identified and their impact documented?
- What is the actual completion date as compared to scheduled completion date?
- Has all the project scope changes been identified and their impact on the performance, cost, and schedule baselines documented?
- Has operations management formally accepted responsibility for operating and maintaining the product(s) or service(s) delivered by the project?
- Has the documentation relating to maintenance of the product(s) or service(s) been delivered to, and accepted by, operations management?
- Has training and knowledge transfer been completed?
- Does the projected annual cost to maintain the software is as per the estimate provided in the project proposal? If no, note down the difference.
- Has the project documentation been archived or otherwise disposed by the previous vendor responsible for implementation?
- Has the date for the post-implementation review been set?
- Who will be responsible for conducting the post-implementation review?
Right tools to manage the project transition
There are many Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools available in the market to support transition but the right tool will provide a comprehensive solution.
A good ALM tool will have the following features:
Creating a centralized repository for gathering, organizing and managing requirements is helpful for the effective transition. A good requirement management tool will allow the business team as well as the operations team to keep track of the requirements.
It’s important to keep track of all the bugs that were raised in the development phase along with any new bugs that are reported in the maintenance phase. A bug tracking tool will help to prioritize bug focusing on business objectives and goals.
The test cases written for the development phase will be equally important while performing maintenance activities, especially for regression testing.
ReQtest is one of the leading Application Lifecycle Management tools with more than 10,000 users throughout Europe. The modules in ReQtest include requirement management, agile board, test management and bug tracking and reporting. Business analysts, test managers, product owners, developers and customers use ReQtest as a platform for collaboration. It helps you in finding and fixing all the bugs during maintenance.
Through ReQtest’s integrated test module, test managers can easily assign test cases to the testers and notify them instantly. In this tool, the whole test management process is quite intuitive.
Project Transition Governance
To ensure the successful transition, a well-defined transition governance model should be in place. The governance model provides a clear guidance for the migration of work and control of critical issues. The transition governance model defines the following:
Transition steering team
The transition steering team has the following responsibilities
- Transition planning
- Formulate the transition start date
- Approve any deviations from the transition schedule
- Approve change requests raised during migration
- Monitor and keep a track of the progress of the transition
- Informed the stakeholders about the transition status
- Address any escalated issues
Transition Management Team
The role of transition management team is to focus on reviewing transition plans, monitoring progress, provide the resources required, issue resolution and escalation management. This team also assesses the quality, status reporting, and project change control.
Transition sub-project team
The transition sub-project teams perform the day-to-day transition activities.
The success of the maintenance activities is dependent on the success of the transition process. Along with a sound transition plan, you will require the right tool to ensure the transition plan is successfully executed.