Tips to Transitioning New Projects to Business as Usual (BAU)

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Handing off a new service or tool from one department to another, even within the same organization, is harder than it looks. Often times great ideas that lead to good initiatives are not properly adopted, understood or communicated by the groups tasked with running their day to day operations. For the company and strategic-facing development groups, this inability to hand off projects successfully often results in productivity loss, revenue loss and projects that often die too soon after they’re born.

In many firms the term transitioning to “BAU,” or Business as Usual, is what they call moving a new service and tool to a new group or team. Lots of factors add to this inability for companies to transition new technologies to BAU. The transition planning for the newly created technology is often addressed too late in the project lifecycle, or the purpose of the tech is commonly misunderstood.

A lack of proper communication planning, change management and executive sponsorship often hinder this transition. In addition, project managers often misunderstand the actual cost of training and operational costs associated with maintaining the tool or service.

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), three tips to successfully guarantee a smooth transition to BAU are:

1. Ensure that everyone involved has clear roles and responsibilities.

This is THE MOST important action you can take as a manager. This includes everyone from the people that manage a piece of the process to the business owners. One good tip from the PMI is to get the key stakeholders together in a room. Walk then through the process of what it means to be in a BAU state. Ensure that they understand and document the roles and responsibilities of each person and group.

2. Establish the proper communication channels.

Moving to BAU can change seemingly mundane things like the reporting audience. Over-communicating to groups like business owners therefore grows in importance. Also, too often project managers don’t leverage enough enterprise-wide and department-wide monthly meetings to showcase the new technology. Lastly, budget should be allocated within the communication plan to allow for the creation of a video presentation that covers the “who, what, where, when and how” of the initiative and technology.

3. Have a User Acceptance Testing (UAT) plan in place for any system changes or modifications that might take place after a project goes live.

According to the same PMI article, it’s important to consider who is going to be comfortable with any future changes, bug fixes or enhancements that will be made to the system once it goes live. The stakeholders will usually want to be involved in UAT so that they are comfortable knowing that nothing will be broken when new code or other changes are put in place.

Finally, have the right technology in place.

One last tip to helping drive a successful BAU transition is having the right technology in place. Often, vendors play a huge role in this transition. For example, as is the case with oil and gas or advanced scientific research, the vendors provide the ability for everything and everyone at the transitioning business to work remotely.

This Blog was brought to you by Hypersocket and its CEO, Lee David Painter. With over 20 years of industry experience as a pioneer in IT Security, Lee developed the world’s first OpenSource browser-based SSL VPN (SSL-Explorer). Today Lee runs Hypersocket, a leader in virtual private network technology.
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