Stabilizing

During the Stabilizing Phase, the Operations Readiness feature team implements the training program developed previously, and then takes the lead in implementing related operational tasks associated with deploying the pilot. At the end of the Stabilizing Phase, the Operations Readiness feature team conducts a deployment readiness review, which is the last opportunity to make a decision about whether to deploy the solution across the organization.

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Roles and Responsibilities Roles and Responsibilities
Integrating IT Operations Integrating IT Operations
Deployment Readiness Review Deployment Readiness Review
Milestone: Operations Readiness Review Milestone: Operations Readiness Review

Roles and Responsibilities

During the Stabilizing Phase, the team is focused on deploying the pilot and training the operations staff. Table 6 describes the specific responsibilities for each team role.

Table 6. Roles and Responsibilities During the Stabilizing Phase

Roles

Responsibilities

Release manager

  • Manages the overall release process

  • Develops detailed release plans

  • Coordinates all project teams associated with the release

  • Acts as a liaison to appropriate management

  • Manages the evaluation process upon completion of the project

  • Forms a release team to manage the many required activities (selects team members and assigns team roles and responsibilities)

  • Facilitates team communication to ensure that releases are implemented according to schedule

Change owner

  • Manages the planning and coordination of the pilot staging and organization-wide implementations

  • Develops implementation plans and determines site locations for pilot rollouts

  • Establishes implementation schedules

  • Identifies and communicates problems and schedule changes based on feedback from release team coordinators

  • Ensures that the rollout team is properly trained

  • Validates rollout and backout plans during release testing

Training coordinator

  • Identifies user competency to use the release

  • Performs gap analysis against target competencies and skill requirements

  • Identifies individuals to be trained to meet goals and objectives of the release

  • Selects training methodologies best suited for content and audience

  • Designs, builds, and implements the training strategy

  • Communicates training plan to audience

  • Manages and coordinates daily training activities

  • Collects and analyzes feedback from trainees for effectiveness of training methodology and content

Communications coordinator

  • Develops and manages the communications plan

  • Develops content based on input from all project members

  • Finalizes and distributes content

  • Determines the channels of information dissemination

  • Develops feedback mechanisms and a collection database for user comments

  • Ensures that issue resolution is communicated in a timely and effective manner

  • Evaluates and updates the communications plan to maintain its effectiveness throughout the release process

  • Communicates release goals and scope to users

  • Communicates release status, progress, and issues to appropriate groups

Documentation coordinator

  • Assesses current user guides, administrator guides, and reference manuals

  • Defines purpose and use of required documentation

  • Identifies required documentation from developers and users

  • Identifies documentation options and formats that meet the users’ needs

  • Designs, develops, and proofs documentation

  • Tests and validates documentation with users

  • Manages the modification of existing documentation to support the release

  • Disseminates documentation to appropriate personnel

Testing coordinator

  • Designs, builds, and maintains the test environment

  • Prepares tests and procedures and executes testing strategies

  • Identifies testers and assigns testing responsibilities

  • Develops and manages testing schedule

  • Documents test procedures and problems

  • Manages problem resolution and retesting

  • Gathers, documents, and analyzes test results

  • Communicates results and provides recommendations to appropriate parties

  • Validates readiness of release package to be integrated into the production environment

Integrating IT Operations

As part of the release management process, the Deployment feature team will work in conjunction with key stakeholders and business partners within IT Operations to create a test plan that enables these business partners to develop confidence in the release and its ability to perform in a production environment. During the pilot, the Deployment feature team will perform these tests jointly with members of IT Operations, who should be actively involved with the release and long-term support of the release.

After the release is deployed in the pilot environment, users and administrative staff can monitor and evaluate performance based on real-world conditions. If this process leads to the conclusion that the release does not meet expectations, it should be backed out. The Operations Readiness feature team will provide feedback directly to the Release Management Role Cluster regarding the successes or failures encountered during the pilot of a release. All test results will be documented and verified against the expected results. Testing failures should be investigated and evaluated to determine whether the failure is acceptable or whether components in the release need to be reworked. The pilot is also helpful in determining the level of operational support that will be needed after full implementation.

After the pilot is complete, the next step is to evaluate the test results and determine the action to be taken: Move forward with the release, or return to the change owner or release manager for additional work. The release manager, the change manager, and the change owner are the primary participants in this discussion, but it may also involve representatives from the operational support teams. If there were issues identified during the testing that affect the user community or service levels, it is necessary to discuss workarounds and expected problems with the service desk representatives and to ensure that the workarounds will be available to the service desk before deployment.

Deployment Readiness Review

The deployment readiness review is the final operations management checkpoint and approval step before rollout. It should not be confused with the readiness review described in the “Developing a Training Program” section, which is more limited in scope and is only intended to gauge the proficiency levels of the operations staff who will maintain the solution.

The deployment readiness review ensures the readiness of the release for deployment and includes the operability and supportability of the release, as well as the readiness of the target production environment to support and operate the deployed release. This release readiness review decides whether to deploy the release. Delegates from each the feature team, the management team, and key stakeholder groups should participate in the review. The core MOF documentation, available at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/itsolutions/cits/mo/mof/rlsrdy10.mspx, provides details about the release readiness review.

Milestone: Operations Readiness Review

Table 7 shows all deliverables, and their descriptions, that should be completed at the conclusion of this phase.

Milestones are synchronization points for the overall solution. For more information, see the Plan, Build, and Deploy Guide.

Table 7. Deliverables

Deliverable ID

Description

Deployment Readiness Review

The review is the final operations management checkpoint and approval step before rollout.

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