Have you been challenged with performing a high-risk task like upgrading a prominent server, for example?
Here’s an execution plan template that you can use to guide you.
I. Executive Summary
Brief overview of intended event.
II. Review of Discovery
Details of what efforts were made to research what is listed in the following sections. Meetings, Vendor consultations, OnLine Resources, and Conventional Wisdom can be included.
III. Pre-Upgrade Procedures
Steps identified to be taken before the event.
IV. Upgrade Procedures
Steps identified to be taken during the event.
V. Post-Upgrade Procedures
Steps identified to be taken after the event.
VI. Test Plan
Verification procedures to confirm the event was a success. This section should define the success criteria.
VII. Rollback Plan
In case the worst happens, what to do.
IIX. Situational Awareness Plan
After-the-event steps to validate the success of the event with the system’s business users. This would include a two-way communication between your group and the business users, announcing the success, and providing contact information for them to contact you in case there is still a problem.
IX. Risk-Management plan
A plan listing risks associated with the steps above and recommendations as to how to lower those risks.
If the event spans many hours or days, you may want to draft a schedule for the benefit of all involved. Include on the schedule the ‘rollback point,’ which would be the latest time a rollback could be successfully performed. Your success criteria whould have to be met by this point to avoid a rollback.
Be sure the Execution Plan is in a checklist format, not a bullet-list format. Require participants in the event to ’check’ completed checklist items and sign-off sections they are responsible for.
For critical areas of high-risk, (ie: setting up replication), for example, you may want to require two individuals to perform the checklist steps and sign their names when that section is complete.
If you like, add a ‘lessons learned’ section to be completed later, and keep a copy of the execution plan for historical purposes.
Mike J. Berry