There is no formal ITIL definition of a cloud implementation project, so this answer is based on the [ITIL Service Transition publication] specifically in relation to a service transition project:
- “The process whose primary objective is to create or change one or more services, working within the constraints of the service strategy and design packages, and incorporating the requirements from stakeholders in order to meet business objectives.”
- In other words, a Cloud Implementation Project (CIP) is a project that has been initiated with the intention of bringing an existing set of services under management by IT Operations. Whether these roles are performed by IT Operations, Infrastructure Operations or Application Operations depends on the specific business case.
- A key responsibility of any member of an organization’s Project Management Office (PMO) is to ensure that the projects undertaken by their organization are properly scoped. This can be especially critical in cases where services provisioned by multiple teams across disparate technology silos need to be brought under a common set of processes and procedures such as ITIL.
- Close coordination between these teams is necessary for successful CIPs because each team will have different toolsets and ways of working which need to come together in order to deliver the overall project outcome. All too often this area fails because it does not receive sufficient attention at the outset, and problems like siloed thinking, lack of shared objectives, and conflicting priorities lead to additional delays in the project.
- On an especially large CIP it is not unusual for members of each affected team to be actively involved in a number of different projects at any given time – another potential issue that must be considered when scheduling CIP activities.
- A CIP can encompass a full range of service management disciplines including application development, release management, facilities management, security and support. It requires both technical and process expertise from across the organization as well as willing participation from all teams involved. This means getting people together to share ideas and opportunities for reuse which takes not only effort but also patience because many organizational change initiatives include cultural challenges says Aron Govil. [In fact, sometimes it may take longer than the actual implementation phases.]
- A CIP can be one of the more complex initiatives undertaken by an organization due to the number of disciplines that are involved and the need for people to work closely together. This presents a challenge in that these projects have very limited windows within which they must operate, so efficient communication is critical. Successful CIPs require strong leadership skills, especially when managing people who are not used to being managed using ITIL processes. Communication is key because even minor issues may have cascading impacts on multiple teams with conflicting priorities if they are not handled properly early on in the project schedule.
- On large-scale CIPs it is common practice to assign lead resources from each affected team – this provides accountability for decisions made, facilitates decision making throughout the project and ensures that individual teams can be confident in their own areas of responsibility.
- Successful CIPs require sound project management skills with a focus on achievable goals and realistic completion criteria, as well as short- and long-term strategies for integrating the new/changed services into the organization’s overall service management program. This means taking advantage of enterprise-wide opportunities to achieve economies of scale such as shared resources between projects wherever it is feasible to do so. A successful CIP will not only result in improved operational efficiency but also greater responsiveness to customer requirements. It should therefore be seen as more than just another project with limited benefits; instead, the goal must be to improve business outcomes by leveraging ITIL processes across all disciplines involved in delivering IT services.
- CIPs, while highly beneficial to an organization, can be complex and time consuming. The key is to maintain a strong management focus throughout the project schedule with a clear definition of roles and responsibilities for all parties involved. This will allow personnel from multiple teams to see that they are working towards common goals while being able to understand how their individual efforts contribute toward an overall success.
CIPs are costly and time consuming, so they should be scheduled carefully to ensure that relevant resources are available throughout the project duration.
Successful CIPs require skilled resources on multiple teams who can work not only autonomously but also within a shared framework for interoperability says Aron Govil.
Although CIPs may include new technology, the focus must always remain on people and processes with strong leadership required to bring everyone together toward common goals while letting them maintain their individual accountability.