/ Insights / Fixing IT’s Most Costly Mistake – Part 2 Insights Fixing IT’s Most Costly Mistake – Part 2 April 21, 2023 Randy SteinbergThis is Part 2 of a 3 part series on using the ITIL Service Lifecycle Stages to work together with development teams and safely release services into the live environment without the usual chaos and outages that take place with these activities. In Part 1, the framework shown below was presented along with key considerations that both IT development and IT operations need to consider. The framework allows both teams to work together in parallel to produce a live service solution together without the typical chaos, confusion, unplanned costs and outages that tend to take place far too many times when solutions are released into the live environment.In Part 1, we discussed what should be considered by both IT development and IT operations as the solution progresses through its development lifecycle. Checkpoint gates are conducted at the end of each stage to determine whether teams are ready to proceed to the next stage.Here, in Part 2, we present what items should be checked for at the end of each stage from an IT support operations point of view.Production Readiness Process Checkpoint GatesAs the Production Certification Process activities occur, phase gates take place at strategic points to validate that readiness is being put into place. Presented below is an inventory of what should be in place before proceeding to the next gate.Gate 1: Strategy Phase Gate – Items to check for:Timing: Just before application design beginsItems That Must Be In Place:A support strategy in place for each framework item (ITIL process area)A high level solution management tooling architecture has been builtA high level operating plan is in place for the solutionHigh level application service targets and requirements are documentedApplication business volumes have been forecastedResults from any support capabilities (process, technology, organization or skills if these were done) are documentedA high level training strategy is documentedA high level solution support sourcing strategy is documentedCost estimates and a cost model have been developed for building and operating the solution are documentedA high level deployment strategy has been documented for the solutionA project plan is in place to conduct design activities for support of the solutionGate 2: Design Phase Gate – Items to check for:Timing: Just before application build activities beginItems That Must Be In Place:A design package has been assembled and agreed that provides detailed specifications for each framework item that is in scope – examples might include:Technical tooling specificationsService descriptions/catalogsDesigned processesDesigned operational proceduresDesigned roles/responsibilitiesDesigned measurements/reportsDesigned monitoringSLA/OLA agreementsAvailability designsCapacity estimatesSecurity designsPhysical facility designsService continuity designsSupplier process and technology integrationComponent configurationsTesting requirementsDetailed transition plansDetailed training plansSolution build and operating costs have been updated and reviewed with key solution stakeholdersGate 3: Readiness Phase Gate – Items to check for:Timing: Just before application deployment activities beginItems That Must Be In Place:Detailed Transition Plans are documentedOperational Scripts are builtJob Schedules are builtRun Books have been assembledSolution Documentation is stored in knowledge baseSecurity is configured and installedAccess IDs and Passwords are in placeSolution Components are configured for productionOperational Test Results have been acceptedUsers have been trained to use the applicationSupport Staff has been trained with needed support skillsSolution Known Errors have been given to the Service DeskMonitoring Agents are installed for production useSupport Processes have been documented and staff is ready to use themSupport Staff resources have been assigned for each needed operating roleService management tools are in place and ready to support productionPhysical sites are built and environmentally ready to accept solution componentsApplication components have been secured in a staging area ready for deploymentAll required 3rd party agreements are in place for supporting the solutionUser Acceptance Results have been acceptedSolution operating costs have been updated and reviewed with stakeholdersAn operating risk assessment has been completed and accepted by IT and business stakeholdersGate 4: Cutover Phase Gate – Items to check for:Timing: Just before solution cutover to the live environmentItems That Must Be In Place:All components are in place and ready to go liveA back out/recovery plan is in place in case of any deployment failuresManagement approvals have been obtained to proceed with cutover activitiesSolution operating costs have been updated and reviewed with key solution stakeholdersGate 5: Support Phase Gate – Items to check for:Timing: Within several weeks after the application has gone liveItems That Must Be In Place:Confirmation that operational support activities are working successfully with minimal issuesConfirmation that ongoing operating costs will stay within forecasted levelsConfirmation that solution benefits are being achievedUse of the checkpoint gates can go a long way towards mitigating deployment risks and ensuring IT solutions are truly ready for production. It is hoped the checkpoint gates will help to stem the many mistakes and issues that occur as application solutions are deployed.In Part 3, we will take a look at each ITIL process area, using them as design points to be considered when building infrastructure support for application solutions that are being deployed.