Most programs we deliver at Perficient Digital follow the Plan, Build, Run methodology for our work and client delivery. We chose this methodology for how it aligns with how we execute programs as consultants to our clients.
Even with the defined phases of Plan, Build, Run, teams run into challenges. Especially, as a program moves between the phases and different handoffs occur between and within the teams.
Some of the most common challenges include:
- Design / Architecture teams designing a solution in the "ivory tower" that can't be executed
- Implementation teams not understanding the business goals and building something that works... but doesn't meet the business needs
- Lack of knowledge / handoff to the support teams supporting the solution
As an end-to-end solution provider, Perficient Digital helps guide clients through these challenging transition points to deliver a successful program. Here are some thoughts to help your team navigate these transition points.
The Three Transition Points
The three primary transition points between project phases are:
- Conception to Plan - when a project is first getting kicked off, the challenge is to capture the needs and requirements of the business and design a solution to resolve the need and still be possible to implement
- Plan to Build - having requirements is one thing, executing then is something else. Any solution build has its challenges, but a failed transition between planning and building is fatal
- Build to Run - whether the same team or another team builds the application, transitioning from build to run requires a different set of skills and operational processes. Not transitioning completely or cleanly leads to an unreliable application or knowledge gaps
Managing the Transitions
Successfully transitioning between project phases usually comes down to two things:
As you transition across project phases, you will need different skills sets. Successful projects have a "core team" of skilled people to ensure the team develops and cultivates tribal knowledge. The core team should include the dream team and a Project Owner to provide a vision for the project's success.
Having consistent people is important, but the team must also follow consistent process and best practices. This includes:
- Documenting Decisions
- Documenting the Solution
- Documenting Work / Tasks
- Creating new Team Member Onboarding
- Creating Tests of Deliverables
- Creating and Following Development Best Practices
- Automating Quality with CI/CD
- Creating and Performing Training
As a project goes on and transitions between the project phases, different people will need to roll on and off the project. Effective communication is vital to ensure that new core and supplemental team members have a clear vision of the project goals.
Although project transitions are already chaotic and busy, communication is even more vital. Project teams need to spend the time communicating with the new team members and transitioning out to ensure a clean transfer of knowledge.