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Mark Pratt

The E of ABCDE – Embed

Wow you’ve nearly made it but it’s not over till it’s over. 

So often overlooked, this section talks about the Project Partners definition of ‘done’ and how to make sure you can finally, truly claim victory.

This element of the ABCDE way is another that separates average change management from top class, ‘customer-first’ delivery.

We don’t shy away from going back to the A of ABCDE (again) and being sure the Sponsor achieved what they set out to achieve.  To get this fully completed in a thorough way, you will:

  • Share knowledge
  • Document what you know
  • Continuously improve
  • Detail what you’ve learned from delivery

At the end of this phase, you will have successfully handed over the product or service to the business. Your Sponsor will have realised benefits/improvements and achieved their why. 

It’s often these final stages of go live that sticks in people’s heads, so let’s make it a good one.  

Stage 1 – Document

You’ve gone live, switched on and in theory, you’re done. But this is not the end of the project.  

You set out to achieve something more than simply going live.  You’ve learned so much and you now need to document everything that’s happened. This way, you can get it handed over responsibly and move on to your next project.  

Time to dig out those critical success factors again and provide the data on where you got to. 

It’s also time to carry out a session of lessons learned. Here, you can evaluate how to do things better next time and how you can harness the ‘good stuff’ and make it repeatable. 

Just like we did in Aim, it’s important to ask questions here:

  • why was it so good?
  • what was the secret sauce?
  • can you bottle it and use it again?

All of this will help the Sponsor agree that you’re ready to exit the project.

Detailing the who, when, what and where of what you’ve done will set the business up to take ownership once the project closes. 

Stage 2 – Handover

How do you get all that good stuff from ‘Document’ packaged and ready to handover to the business?

A key part of this is knowledge transfer.

At Project Partners we pride ourselves on leaving a legacy, not creating a dependency.  Too often we see fab experience and knowledge walk out the door when the project closes.  It doesn’t need to be that way.

Even if you have the best intentions and hope to squeeze this in at the end, in our experience, it only happens if you plan it ahead. It’s natural for people to want to move on to the next big thing, so it’s important to be mindful of that and make it happen.  A combination of the data, documentation and knowledge transfer means you’re almost ready to make a graceful exit.

Stage 3 – Benefits

What gets measured gets done.

A bit old school but true. 

Even after the project has met its success factors and objectives, and you’ve handed it over, it can take some time fully realise benefits such as sales and adoption by customers. Benefits should be well written and fully owned by the business. That way the organisation can share successes, savings and improvements with wider business (but only if they’re tracked!)

DONE! ????

You’re finally done! Congratulations.

Time to hand stuff in, sign out and leave the building to head off to your next successful delivery. 

Good project management is both an art and a science. Practical application of ABCDE is the best way to learn.

Tempted to skip steps? 

Our experience is short cuts are a mistake and the fastest way to do it, is to do it all.  We don’t recommend it but if you really must take short cuts, at the very least take the time to ask yourself the questions from each section to consciously decide what you’re ‘not’ going to do and how that might impact. 

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