Why Does Transition to Operation Carry So Much Risk?

Talking to practitioners in the sector, we always find it interesting that organisations spend millions of person-hours and millions of pounds on project delivery, yet the transition to business operations has limited focus.

This is despite the transition to business operations putting the project investment and the smooth running of the operation at risk; 80% of incidents in live are due to change or projects.

According to our research, there are three reasons for this:

1. Ownership Chasm

Ownership across the transition is tricky. Projects teams feel like it's the end of the line for them and it's easy to lose interests. Operations teams feel that Projects teams are throwing capability across the transom and hoping. Which party is held accountable for the transition to business operations?

2. Role Definition

The concept of "Release Manager" is poorly defined in many organisations. The responsibilities of a Release Manager are often given to the Project Manager as a side project, without enough time to do the job properly. The role is often relied upon as a source of personal heroics.

3. Coordination Costs

Releases require planning and execution coordination in real time. Release managers are left to achieve this by manually integrating a lowest common denominator solution of spreadsheets, lots of phone calls and lots of manual effort and stress.

Various mitigation strategies exist for the above but all of them include some aspect of addressing Release Management as a key competitive advantage to reduce the risk and cost of executing on strategy.