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Post-Production Considerations for Digital Projects

Important activities and tasks to take note of in preparation for your project transition


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Jimmy Soh

3 years ago | 3 min read

Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash

What happens after a project ends?

The transition to the post-production/maintenance phase begins. The transition primarily involves tasks and activities that span the following three broad categories:

  • People — planning for support teams (L1/L2/L3), educating end-users
  • Process — support/escalation workflow structure, service-level agreements, handover/training plans, documentation
  • Product — technical documentation, user guides, road maps

The goal is to provide assurance to the client that their business will continue to function after the departure of the project team.

I will delve into further details for each of the categories mentioned above — providing some perspectives from a project manager and client.

People

During the project transition phase, the people-related considerations are centred around these areas:

  1. Team: identify/map existing tasks and project segments to be allocated to the respective key personnel (recruit early if necessary) to facilitate knowledge and documents transfer
  2. Support: define the various support levels e.g. L1/L2/L3 and the relevant contact parties for the client to reach out in the event of any issues
  3. Education: collate a list of users, roles, and groups that require training e.g. system administrators, support personnel, end-users to craft an effective training plan so that support overheads can be reduced

As a project manager, covering these areas help to ensure that the project team members can focus on the upcoming projects instead of getting tied down to previous projects.

In this aspect, clients seek assurance that there are adequately equipped persons to help them resolve their problems.

Process

Having a structured process provides the relevant parties with clarity on the approaches and plans to facilitate project transition efforts.

Below are three process-related activities and considerations to take note of during the transition phase:

  1. Agreement: create workflows for raising production defects/enhancements together with SLAs, categorisation of issues (severity), deployment frequencies and workflows for patches and updates
  2. Handover: establish the timeline and activities for the project team’s handover to the maintenance team factoring in dependencies, location, and medium, etc.
  3. Training: craft a training plan for both end-users and takeover personnel with sufficient buffer provisioned in the timeline to cater to queries while the project team is still on the project

Clear transition processes and plans help the project team to streamline activities and reduces ambiguity.

Having a process provides clients with confidence that things are under control with proper measures in place to address risks and potential issues.

Product

The digital product has to be scalable and sustainable in the long-run; this is achieved by providing clients/users with sufficient instructions and guidance to operate and maintain the product for users to continue reaping its benefits.

The following documents are key to achieving the goal:

  1. Road map: list down the outstanding items (if any) or features for future releases in the product backlog so that there is a potential chance to give the product a new life with another project team
  2. Technical documentation: draw technical architecture diagrams, user flows, and code structure in wikis i.e. Confluence, so that people working on the product have some background and context to the product should they need to troubleshoot issues or integrate with other systems
  3. User guides: document common issues/fixes, troubleshooting techniques, recommended usage e.g. browser and screen resolution, administration guides to onboard/manage users, etc.

Having sufficient documentation can alleviate a considerable amount of communication to the project manager (who already moved onto other projects) to provide context on previous projects.

Clients seek continuity and growth of the product through enhancements and integration with other systems to create new value propositions for the business.

Key takeaways

A well-executed post-production phase provides:

  • Peace of mind — project teams can focus on their new projects and maintenance teams have sufficient knowledge to support end-users
  • Improved user experience — end-users get timely product updates with enhancements and issue fixes
  • Scalability — the product can undergo further enhancements with the essential documents in place

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Jimmy Soh

In perpetual beta—playing at the intersection between digital technology and business.


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