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Cutover is, by definition, the final step of project management ensuring the transition of a business unit or whole organisation from an old system to a new one. Cutover revolves around having all activities being planned, managed and executed in time. 

Cutover definition by drkv

Impact of Cutover

While on paper, cutover seems rather easy; reality differs. Cutover impacts the corporation, its employees and – if applicable – its customers in several ways. We have recreated a summary of the table presented during our event: 

To ensure a smooth cutover, three aspects are key:

1. Transparency

The planning and managing of the cutover must be shared with the entire team involved. It is important to define and to agree on every action and what it means to be ready (more information on the definition of done: here). All information should be summarised on 1 Pager – something longer is unessential. 

2. Communication

As cutover impacts the whole organisation, it is essential to host town hall meetings including the wider stakeholders, not just the teams managing the cutover. Why are townhalls meeting so important? As all employees and customers will experience the effects of cutover, it is essentials to mitigate all concerns to ensure smooth sailing and to validate the actions taken. 

Another aspect of communication is to define attendance clearly. Usually, cutover is “done’’ over the course of a day or a weekend. It is essential to communicate to the appropriate team members the requirements, to check their availability and to have a business contingency plan always ready. This will avoid conflict and reduce the cutover stress.

3. Aftercare

Cutover doesn’t end until aftercare in applied. This does not entail warranty, but timely check-ins on how the transition is performing: Are issues arising? Is the data migration causing extra delays? How are the stakeholders coping with the cutover? Etc.

Stabilisation usually takes 4-6 weeks after the transition, so the weeks following the cutover day are still part of the whole cutover process. Until the team settle an annual meeting, cutover should not be considered done. 

Conclusion

We have shown how to address key issues in the final phase of a project, which we call cutover. Once transparency, communication and aftercare are addressed appropriately so that the project management and the cutover management can concentrate on unforeseeable issues. The quality of planning and preparation determines the result of any project and especially the cutover. Get in touch if you want to know more. 

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