The Support Plan describes how the solution will be supported once operational. This includes a description of the support personnel and their roles as well as the processes to resolve problems arising within the solution boundaries.
Implementing a Support Plan is an important piece of Project close-out. The operational Stakeholders must be self-sufficient once the solution is live and no longer dependent on the Project Manager. Lack of a Support Plan is the primary cause of Project Managers being attached to projects for a long period of time after go-live.
Here is a list of some things to consider when building your Support Plan (this is not necessarily the complete list of considerations; your project may have more):
- Support Resources, Roles, Responsibilities
- Support model – define who will function as level 1, 2 & 3 support, how they will be contacted, and their staffing needs
- Service Level Agreements (e.g. system availability, up-time, response time, etc)
- Help Desk support
- Vendor Support (support that will be purchased from the vendor) including naming the Stakeholders that will be the vendor support point of contact
- Specialists (describe circumstances in which in-depth knowledge of the solution requires engaging specialists)
- Product Updates – Who is responsible? Software vendors typically release updates multiple times a year. How often do we plan to apply them? How will it be tested? What is the roll-back plan? Who will monitor changes in platform support?
- Include both one-time and ongoing costs for the items listed above