Updated: Feb 14
So you’ve gotten your project all the way through design, development and acceptance testing and are now ready to take it live. To do your cutover you’re going to need a comprehensive plan with no detail left out. A great way to achieve this is by building a cutover checklist. Here’s some important aspects to developing and executing on your go live checklist.
Like any plan, it’s crucial that the cutover checklist be developed collaboratively with everyone who is participating in the work. Walking through the entire process and documenting step by step what needs to happen is vital to the success of your cutover and makes sure that every aspect is examined. And as with all plans that are developed collaboratively, the more that people have input to the plan, the higher the buy-in is. As part of your plan development you should also be including planned timings for each task. Normally cutovers are done after hours or on a weekend so you will have a finite window of time to execute your plan so it is good to validate the total time needed to execute.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Like all good plans, it’s good to ensure that all your bases are covered but there’s nothing that will validate your plan like a mock run. Depending on the nature of your rollout this may or may not be feasible but it’s always a good idea to do a trial run of your plan to check a couple of things. Firstly – does your plan work? Have you covered off everything? What was left out? What needs to change? Next – how are your timings? When doing a mock run-through of your plan you need to capture the actual timings to compare to the planned timings and see if your plan holds water in terms of getting done on time.
One Source of Truth
This is probably the most important (and often overlooked) aspect of putting together a good cutover checklist. Have one plan and store it centrally for everyone to access. There is nothing worse or more difficult to sort out mid-cutover than where you truly are in the progression of the plan if there are multiple versions of it floating around that people are (or are not) updating. Something as simple as an Excel checklist stored on SharePoint can be a viable solution. Everyone can make updates as they complete their tasks and just as importantly, everyone else can see at any point in time where things are at and what is happening.