3 min read

How to Know Whether Your Project is a Go

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One of the most stressful points in a project lifecycle happens weeks before anything is actually pushed live. There comes a point, usually four to six weeks from the scheduled launch date, where a company must decide before the point of no return whether it is ready to launch on the scheduled date, or if the project timeline needs to be extended.

This is what we refer to as a go/no-go decision. And organizations often feel trepidation around it. Part of that is due to uncertainty regarding whether the project is ready and part of it can be driven by misconceptions.  

In this post, we want to address both of those and help companies better prepare for their go/no-go decision.

Factors to Consider Before Knowing You’re Ready

With just a month or two remaining in a major IT or business-process solution project, a number of moving parts are working together to keep the project moving forward. This is part of what causes leaders to stress and question whether the project will be ready in time.

These moving parts can include (but are not limited to):

  • Design
  • Training and support
  • Data migration and availability
  • Change management and communication
  • Numerous aspects of testing

One area specifically where companies fall short in their preparedness is in user-acceptance testing. Your employees or customers have been using the old system this whole time and now you are focusing on making sure the new system performs how it should in real-world situations. This is where bugs and issues bubble to the surface, but often companies aren’t devoting the proper time and energy into this area of the project.

Complete a Readiness Checklist

The best way to ensure you have all the information necessary to make an informed go/no-go decision is through a readiness checklist. This checklist allows you to ask yourself a series of questions around these moving parts mentioned above and answer if you are ready or not. Each area can contain a different weight to the score based on importance, and a completed checklist helps provide a visual indication of how close the project is from being successful.

Before we get any further, I want to point out that this is not a one-size-fits-all approach. And there is no one right or wrong answer. The components of the checklist should be customized to your specific project and goals, and the company’s risk factor may come into play regarding if the checklist’s responses meet the threshold for moving forward.

At Veracity, we have developed Green Light, Veracity’s go-live readiness assessment, which is our checklist that can be customized to help our clients make an informed go/no-go decision. Learn more about the assessment here and fill out the form for a customized step-by-step approach.

A No-Go is Not a Failure

Project dates are a fascinating topic. Launch dates are usually set a year or more before the solution is projected to go live. This date is a specific datapoint in a time where the project is everything but specific. Developers and PMs like myself are predicting the project could be wrapped up by that date, given what we know, but there are so many factors and unpredictable road bumps impacting that date that it’s impossible to know for sure.

Which is why I can’t say this enough: don’t get too hung up on a launch date when the project is just beginning. Realizing that the project likely won’t be ready in time – or at least at the standards of quality it needs to be – isn’t a failure or stain on your business legacy.

Things happen, business changes, and leaders are forced to adapt. Adapting – in this case, pushing a launch until it’s ready – is the right move. The worst mistake a company can make is shortening or cutting valuable testing and change management time just to see a project go live on an arbitrary date set back when the information you have today wasn’t available.

If you miss a date, the business isn’t going to remember. If you hit the date but have a poor implementation or a solution that doesn’t properly work, everyone will remember.

The best you can do is arm yourself with all the information needed – through a readiness checklist or similar document – and make a decision that is going to be best for your company and users in the long term.