Impact Insights

Cutover: The Missing Link for a Successful Go-Live

Kevin Weston

With all the excitement of planning a new project, time is spent focusing on the implementation team, end-user support and even the command center location, however, I think we can all agree, that not until recently, focus was never placed on cutover. Cutover is the process of bringing a system, application or interface live into an environment which can include steps such as moving build or repointing interfaces from a non-production to production environment. Previously cutover was tasked to the go-live coordinator to confirm that each team had an individual plan in place the night of go-live, but that is not the case anymore.

By not having a Cutover Plan there will be—and usually are—missed steps that cause additional, unexpected downtime. There are many build steps within the Cutover Plan that are dependent on other application builds being done and technical resources that have to be identified to deal with build glitches. Not taking the time to understand the dependent steps and resource availability could put the go-live at risk.

A well-written and rehearsed Cutover Plan can lead to a very successful go-live. It not only assists in timings the night of go-live for end user downtime, but also can help orchestrate schedules of those preforming the tasks as well as working locations. As software upgrades or replacements increase, organizations are now seeing the value of a Cutover Plan for not only analysts, but executives and end users as well. It takes a dedicated resource many months prior to go-live to not only create the Cutover Plan but to also rehearse it multiple times. Here are a few points that can make for successful cutover and even a more successful go-live:

• Begin planning well ahead of go-live and testing.
• The cutover document can either make or break the go-live.
• Review the document weekly with all team members involved.
• Don’t account for every single task being done.
• Recognize technical and system limitations early on to define the rehearsals that will take place.
• Only have one owner.
• Good communication helps execute a good plan.

Depending on the activities going on, a Cutover Plan can span anywhere from two hours to nineteen hours. Keeping in mind these few simple guidelines, a nineteen-hour Cutover Plan can run smoothly, efficiently and even be ahead of schedule. A document that is well-organized, well-sequenced and well-rehearsed will lead to no surprises the night of cutover. For complete details regarding Cutover Plan development, rehearsal, and communication, please see Impact Advisor’s whitepaper on cutover.

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