Rollout is when the geographical spread of a system changes
from a small section testing the system, to everyone who will use the system.
Rollout may involve installing the system on the users machine, its also the provision of
training to all the users.
In planning the rollout, consider:
- Rollout should happen when the testing has already been completed.
The first thing to do after rollout is more testing.
This is to check for issues that might not have been apparent in the previous testing.
For example you can now test on bigger data sets, using slower networks, with more users...
- Physical Distance issues, are your new users scattered over a large area.
- Plan for transport costs and time taken for travel. Now that computer architecture
has moved somewhat back to the server centric model, there may be no need to go to
each workstation to install programs, but the users still need training.
- It may cost less to send one trainer to each remote office, than to bring the staff
to a central point.
- Make sure well in advance that the remote training location is ready and that the trainees
have been well informed.
- If your new system requires networking, and most newer systems do require networking
make sure that there is sufficient bandwidth available.
- If there is going to be a server at remote offices, and especially if its the first time
that a they have had a server there, make sure there is someone who can do backups etc
at the remote site. Plenty of companies with clean neat maintenance/backup plans at the
central office, are a little lax at the remote offices.
- If you need to install components on remote PC's, try and automate it. Some will fail
because some usually do, but it leaves you less to manage. Bear in mind however that
automating software rollout involves using a software tool, that should its self be tested.
- Rollout issues have become far, far simpler since we started using Internet technologies.
In fairness to other OS's, Windows PC's definitely produced some of the most irritating
rollout complications, largely because although they look the same, no two PC's are
really exactly the same except when they are brand new.
- Before rollout, the team using the new system should have got very familiar and comfortable
with the new system. They may even have forgotten their initial difficulties.
Be prepared for the unexpected (in as much as that is philosophically possible)
from the new users.
- If you have developed an Internet type application for your company, and therefore do not need
to install anything on the users machine, make sure the users have an easily accessible
link/shortcut to get to the system. Not all users can remember a URL.