The Operations Plan describes how day-to-day operations will occur when the solution is in place and the project is over. The planning principle is to “begin with the end in mind”. This definition of the end state will help you complete the identification of the Stakeholders and verify that you have the complete list of Project Objectives in the Project Charter. It provides guidance to the organization on how to successfully maintain the solution over time.
Here is a list of some things to consider (this is not necessarily the complete list of considerations; your project may have more):
• Operations Infrastructure – a comprehensive description of the environment into which the solution will be deployed and supported (including incident management).
• Service Level Agreement (SLA) – addresses up-time, performance, redundancy and disaster recovery
• Reporting Model – describes generally who will receive reports, what information they will get and on what schedule, and what source data will be used to generate the reports.
• Organization Skill and Time Requirements – identifies the job roles, associated skill requirements and work time necessary to operate the solution. This information could be placed in a matrix that identifies 1) types of operational functions, 2) the job roles that work within each function, 3) the skill requirements for each job role, and 4) the frequency and time required (i.e. “3 hours per month”). This information can be used to identify organizational impact for your Organizational Change Management Plan (more on that in future posts). Make sure you identify the Administrators and their functions.
• Software and Data Updates and Refreshes from External Sources; how often and how it will be tested and verified.
• Backup/Recovery; how often backups will occur and the process to order a restore.
• Scheduled Maintenance Times; when and how often will the system be unavailable for maintenance
• Monitoring; who is responsible for monitoring system performance; what tools will be used.
• Security – requests to add access, remove access or change roles