As any IT project approaches its implementation date, you often hear people ask, “Is the system going to be ready for Go-Live?” But this is a misleading question. Most people believe that “the system” means the application and its functionality. In reality, implementing IT software, such as a warehouse management system, involves not only using the new software program but also restructuring operational processes and changing employees’ responsibilities. For a successful Go-Live, any implementation needs an overarching deployment plan that details every required task. Then the team must battle test that plan through mock Go-Lives to make sure the entire system is truly ready.
The deployment plan should have as many tabs as project teams and detail the different activities each team member is responsible for. The plan should include by when the tasks must be executed, how long each task is expected to take and if each task has dependencies. For example, the WMS team should have a tab indicating the technical steps required to deploy the application while the operations team should have the steps required to identify and count inventory. And remember – store your plan where everyone can see it, such as in an Excel spreadsheet hosted on a SharePoint site.
Although the deployment plan may look perfect on paper, multiple mock Go-Lives are required to validate its efficacy. These tests allow you to confirm or adjust your assumptions. Your team can validate data and processes by using real life scenarios and on the ground practice with end users. A detailed deployment plan gets you far, but testing it through multiple mock Go-Lives is what will significantly increase the probability of a successful implementation.