Going Live and Beyond

The author points out that going live is not an end to the project, merely a transition between the development phase and the "support and maintenance" phase. Generally, this also means a change in the personnel who are responsible (from a development team to the business unit that will operate the site), and a clean hand-off is essential.

Also, going live is often referred to as "flipping the switch," but it is not often that simple. Posting the site to its permanent home, making sure it works properly in that environment, and eventually directing traffic to it, may be a prolonged process. He gives a few examples, ranging from a simple DNS switch to a change-over that affects databases and back-end systems, but my sense is that each company has (or should have) a specific procedure to be followed.

Also, the development team should not immediately disengage and disperse. Often, users discover errors that the testers did not (no matter how thorough the testing process) that must be repaired in short order, and the best approach is to engage the developers in that process, as those who will be responsible for long-term support are generally not ready at this point.

The author speaks of training operations personnel and technical personnel to support the site - but (EN) it occurs to me this should have happened much earlier, so they are ready the day the site goes live.

The author speaks of monitoring the performance and mining the data that are collected by the site in the course of its normal operations - but (EN) this is something else that should have been planned in advance rather than figured out in arrears.

He mentions that Web sites are going concerns. The moment a site is launched, you will discover things that could be added or improved upon, and that each of these things becomes a follow-on project to alter or augment the existing Web site. He strongly urges that any follow-on projects be handled with the same degree of care as the initial build.