Our company’s software, supporting the go live process and release management activities, efficiently handles the work processes of complex projects’ cutover periods and covers the project sponsors’ information requirements.
Such more intricate activities can be, for example, mergers and acquisitions of banks, insurance companies and other large companies, purchase of service portfolios, replacement of IT systems, software version changes, IT release management activities, or data migration projects.
Introducing MINDSPIRE OMEGA Cutover Tool
OMEGA Cutover Tool is an application developed by MINDSPIRE Consulting, which supports go-live and release management projects and is available to registered users through a web interface. The software supporting the work processes of the cutover phase provides a common platform for the individuals responsible for the execution of the tasks and the project management coordinating the tasks associated with the go live process. The special software supporting the cutover is easy to use, transparent and secure for all participants. Our experts have extensive experience in the financial institutions sector.
Supporting the cutover tasks using the MINDSPIRE OMEGA Cutover Tool
During the cutover, a team with a significant number of employees – usually made up of members working at different locations – has to perform interrelated tasks in a specific order with a short deadline (typically in 2-3 days scheduled for a weekend).
Also, they must regularly provide information about the status of the tasks and unexpected problems to the team coordinating the go-live project.
Without dedicated system support, the administration of the execution of both the planned integration and data migration tasks and the monitoring of the cutover process is carried out in Microsoft Excel tables or, less often, in the Microsoft Project application.
In these cases, acquiring, maintaining, and reporting of status information requires significant resources.
Based on the extensive project experience of our experts, we developed a professional software soltuion supporting the go live efforts, which we named the MINDSPIRE OMEGA Cutover Tool.
Our application designed for this specific goal allows the tracking of all the tasks to be performed during the cutover phase, or serve as a release management tool.
The central Cutover team can effectively monitor the updates made by participants, and in the case of changes affecting the schedule, can intervene if necessary.
Using the MINDSPIRE OMEGA Cutover Tool, task allocation and task management become much more efficient, and project managers and PMOs have more time to perform value-creating tasks and prepare reports and statements essential for management and supervisory bodies.
Challenges in choosing a software supporting cutover activities
The solution supporting the cutover must effectively assist two main areas, planning the tasks to be performed during the go-live and monitoring the execution.
To plan and manage the activities associated with the go-live, it is recommended to choose a cutover tool that is specially designed to support such tasks.
However, in reality, Microsoft Excel or perhaps Microsoft Project applications are still used in many cases, which cannot be considered optimal tools.
Since these solutions are not built for this specific task, all changes in the task plan must be made manually in a Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Project master file, and these changes must also be continuously communicated in e-mails to the individuals responsible for the execution of the task.
This master file of the cutover plan is maintained by several experts, which, on the one hand, requires significant resources, and on the other hand, it also has a high possibility of errors. For example, this might be when an e-mail is not processed, a colleague performing a task is not notified, project management receives information about the risks late, or assignments are not handed over properly within the project management office.
In the Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Project applications, the current status and expected progress of certain tasks related to the cutover are usually visible only to the project management, which prepares regular reports and shares them with the stakeholders. This is why there is no project plan that is available to all stakeholders and always contains the latest statuses.
The shared use of Excel and Microsoft Project with the former Shared Workbooks or the current Co-authoring functions can offer a partial solution to the above problems. However, these are far from being problem-free, with strong functional limitations, and with license- and technical requirements.
Key issues and risks associated with using Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Project as a cutover tool – 1.
Key issues and risks associated with using Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Project as a cutover tool – 2.
If the Excel or Microsoft Project based cutover plan is also shared with the individuals responsible for the task execution, many stakeholders can edit the document at the same time. Because of this, on the one hand, the possibility of error increases, on the other hand, later it is difficult to review when, by which user, and what modifications were made.
In addition, when using shared Excel or Microsoft Project files, it is recommended to involve more resources so that the four-eyes principle and enhanced monitoring prevail during inspections. For this reason, this solution is rarely chosen in real-life situations.
If a Go / No-go decision situation occurs during the go-live, the project management will not be notified immediately and automatically. Although, if necessary, the decision-makers can intervene in the process after a consultation, but this is time-consuming. The execution of the tasks will be suspended until the decision is made, which in extreme cases may jeopardize the time frame intended for the complete cutover.
During the go-live, the stability and performance of Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Project can cause problems for more complex plans. The possibility of accidentally deleting links and other important data, and the associated recovery of older versions is risky and requires significant resources.
With the available resources, the decentralized collection and recording of tasks in these tools is also not really feasible.
Main functions of MINDSPIRE OMEGA Cutover Tool
Our company’s application assisting go-live and release management processes supports the following activities.
Listing of own tasks to be performed during the go-live
Setting the status of own tasks by entering actual start and end times
Listing all the tasks of the cutover phase, thus making the entire project execution process available to all participants in real-time
Hierarchical, transparent overview of the tasks of the go-live project plan
Recording comments related to own tasks and attaching documents
Automatic notification for the affected users of the tasks to be started
Automatic update of expected completion times: the expected start and end times of the remaining go-live tasks are automatically modified depending on the actual completion time of the tasks that have already been completed
Managing user data, adding a new user
The effective and immediately deployable go-live support software developed by our company provides significant assistance in managing the cutover tasks of any complex project.
Discover the capabilities and advantages of the MINDSPIRE OMEGA Cutover Tool and request an online or personal demonstration!
Main advantages of using MINDSPIRE OMEGA Cutover Tool
Simple to install and use
- Our cutover support tool and release management tool can be used immediately, the installation process and putting the application in service is simple.
- During the installation of the MINDSPIRE OMEGA Cutover Tool, client-side involvement is not required.
- The solution is based on standard technologies (Java, open-source software) and does not require special hardware or software components.
- After a short training, business users can use the software that supports the go-live process.
More efficient workflow management during the go-live phase
- Replacement of manual tasks supporting the cutover with automated and optimized processes minimizes the possibility of errors.
- On the interface of the MINDSPIRE OMEGA Cutover Tool, all stakeholders can update the status, date and time data of the tasks assigned to them, and the project management monitors the progress of the go-live centrally.
Managing the progress and dependencies of cutover projects
- In the system supporting the go-live, users can see the go-live process’s current status, which automatically reschedules the expected start and end times of additional tasks based on the actual start and end times.
- After importing the data, based on the dependencies between the tasks defined in the cutover plan, the task connections (the preceding and following tasks related to the given task) are automatically created in the system, on which the automatisms are based.
- A given task is blocked until the dependent, preceding task or tasks are completed.
- The dependencies are generally specified during the import of the project plan, where multiple preceding or following activities can be specified for a task.
- If the tasks can still be executed in parallel, they can of course, be completed at the same time after the dependency is resolved.
Automatic email notifications
- The MINDSPIRE OMEGA Cutover Tool sends an automatic notification to those who perform the given activity required for the go-live when it becomes possible to start the task.
- The solution supporting the cutover monitors the dependencies between the activities, and a task can only be started when all the previous activities have been completed.
- If a task is reopened, the system also sends a notification e-mail to those concerned.
- Project participants can join the affected cutover activities as observers, so that they can receive automatic notifications of status changes and comments on the task.
General success criteria of a go-live phase
Based on our practical experience, the following factors are of prime importance during the planning and implementation of almost every cutover project:
- Choosing the proper specific software to support the cutover.
- Listing all tasks to be performed during the go-live.
- Revealing and recording the individuals responsible for each task, their lead times, and their interdependencies.
- Involving all concerned decision-makers and resource managers of internal and external organizations, units, experts, and authorities.
- Creating a detailed schedule in the specific software supporting the cutover.
- Sharing the created and approved go-live plan with all stakeholders.
- Timely planning, coordination, and execution of the go-live test run.
- Active support of the executors and project management during the actual cutover phase with reliable specific software, continuously available online statuses, automation, documentation, deviation tracking and reporting.
Discover the capabilities and advantages of the MINDSPIRE OMEGA Cutover Tool in detail!
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MINDSPIRE OMEGA Cutover Tool
Overview of the cutover and release management concepts
What is the definition of cutover?
Different projects can have diverse goals, for example, the implementation of a new IT solution, the release management of a new software version, the migration of customer data, the execution of the legal, business and IT tasks during a merger of two organizations, or the development of more efficient sales processes.
In case of certain projects, from the point of view of reducing risks, it is recommended to carry out the tasks in several phases and to gradually implement the partial results achieved into the daily operation, which is also known as the Baby Steps approach.
However, there are projects where the result can only be put to use in a short time in one step of significant size and complexity – these are the so-called Bing Bang cutovers.
The cutover may include all tasks that may arise during the preparation, implementation, activation and initial support of a new system, IT solution, process or activity. In this sense, even a project as a whole, or the staging phases of a phased implementation, can be considered a cutover.
In practice, “cutover” is usually defined as a clearly distinguishable phase resulting in a significant change, that is intensive, lasts for a few days, is bound to a strict deadline, mainly takes place on weekends, and aims to put a new solution into daily use. The cutover is an important, often the last significant milestone of the project, the result of which will be the application of the new system, software or hardware IT solution, process or activity in daily practice.
Definition of Release Management
A release can be defined as a new or modified software, including the process of its creation. A release is a fully functional version of an application, and most developers differentiate alpha and beta versions from a final release.
Release management is a complex process covering the planning, designing, scheduling, testing, deploying, and controlling of various software releases.
The goal of release management is to effectively deliver the applications and their upgrades as required by the end users and to ensure the integrity of the current production environment.
The release management process usually consists of the following six phases: Request – Plan – Design and build – Testing – Deployment – Babysitting.
Release management activities are successful when releases are issued on time, within the set budget, with little or no negative impact on current users, while satisfying the requirements of the existing and new users.
Release management involves complex administrative tasks, including keeping track of various software platforms and environments, application testing, version control, change management, issue management, logging and more.
The process often requires a larger team to work together to ensure that the delivery of the new releases is effective and problem free.
Cutover plan: preparation for the go-live
For Big Bang projects, it is recommended to think over the tasks associated with the implementation of the software release as soon as possible, and to prepare the go-live phase with the involvement of experienced Cutover experts.
For Big Bang scenarios, a cutover test has to be carried out at least once, well before the actual go-live – which is why it is worth planning the cutover activities in the early stages of the project.
A complete, sufficiently detailed Cutover plan is essential for the project manager responsible for the execution of the tasks. This should include the activities to be carried out in the preparation, cutover and support phase, broken down to the minute if needed, the specific responsible persons and their substitutes, the dependencies of the activities, the tools used, the tasks related to documentation and notifications and all other aspects of the go-live efforts.
This may reveal that the preparation or execution of certain tasks, such as creating the legal background for the cutover, informing clients, or obtaining supervisory permits, must be started months before the go-live. Simultaneously, the resource requirements for the test and the actual go-live efforts must also be determined in the cutover plan, in consultation with the relevant internal and external contributors and their superiors regarding the expected availability. The decision-makers must approve the developed cutover scenario, and then it has to be presented to the stakeholders.
The development of the cutover plan, the monitoring of changes that occur during the process, the release management of the new IT solutions’ software versions, as well as the management and documentation of test and actual cutover activities are important tasks for the project management office, the project manager and all involved actors, which has to be executed in a suitable support tool. The functionality and maturity of this application fundamentally determines not only the activities of the project management and the project management office, but also the contribution of all the staff involved in the go-live phase, and the success of the go-live as well.
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