Last week we just finished covering the user acceptance testing stage so the next step is to cover is how do we actually go live with the sale performance management system. The stage that gets us there is the deployment phase. Like many other phases, work on this stage actually starts before the preceding one finishes.
There are a number of items that must be planned or set up ahead of time related to deployment that must take place before the actual process of making the production environment ready, turning the on the environment, and commencing to use it on a go forward basis.
To start with the production environment should have been commissioned. In a cloud based implementation that means getting with the vendor of the software and making sure they have set up a pristine new production environment for your project team to work with.
Data, we have talked about it before but we must know what data we are going to load in, where it is coming from, and when are we going to do the load. In some cases, data must be loaded in specific orders for the system to function properly. Having this data available prior to commencing with deployment is critical to keeping the deployment stage on track and avoiding rework during this stage.
Plans and Rules
Plans and Rules (one of the key results of the configuration) need to be finalized or very close to finalized before deployment begins. Prior to the User Acceptance Testing phase most of the plans and rules related to those plans would have been in pretty solid shape in the development environment. Through the User Acceptance Testing some tweaks and changes would have been made. Those changes should have been documented and whatever plans and rules were in the development environment, that the project team deems are production ready, need to be made available for deployment.
When can we actually begin deployment?
Okay, so we have conducted the User Acceptance Training and all Critical and High priority issues (if any were discovered) have been addressed. Assuming any remaining issues are low to medium and can be tolerated once in production then the project team can begin the deployment process.
From a pure system perspective, any time after the production environment is actually commissioned work can begin on the act of configuration of that environment. The team should proceed with caution though, because they want to avoid introducing data, plans, rules, and organizational configuration items that are difficult to remove after the fact. Typically, the project team puts together a deployment list and that list identifies in order what tasks need to be conducted to complete the deployment. Part of that list would include the addition of data, plans, rules, and organizational configuration items into the production environment.
Once all the tasks have been completed the users have a shiny new sales performance management system to work with.
Other things to consider
Other things that should have been planned for involved the end of life of the outgoing systems. If they were spreadsheet based then that is one thing; however, if they were more complicated systems, perhaps developed in house, then a plan must be developed to deal with when those systems will be turned off. Also the plan must address how that data will be stored and accessed if the need arises. While that is out of the scope of this topic for the week, it is something that the project team should consider prior to the beginning of deployment and beyond go live.