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Go / No-Go

After many months of very hard work, you turn on your new system. All goes well – patient care picks up where it left off, new registrations start flowing, bills drop, meds are charted, and you find yourself standing with a large group of happy colleagues. It’s the dream of every project manager. But if things don’t go so well, you may find yourself standing alone. While it may not have been your sole decision to go live, it may seem like it if you didn’t have a formal Go / No-Go meeting.

Group Effort

EMR projects are group efforts. They don’t belong to IT and they don’t belong to the project manager. The success belongs to everyone – each department, each liaison, each analyst, each vendor rep, each director. If everyone is willing to share in the success, they must all be willing to share in the responsibility. We frequently see a team divided at the first sign of a post-activation problem. But it doesn’t have to be that way – – – provided you implement a good Project Readiness Signoff document

Project Readiness document

Set the expectation that all key team members will take part in the Go /No-Go meetings.  Prepare a Project Readiness document that involves all teams.  Schedule two meetings.  The first is a mock signing 1 week prior to the onset of Training. Everyone listed on the Project Readiness document should attend.  The question to ask at that mock signing is, “If this were the day for signing, would you be ready? If not, what do you need to do in order to be ready in 6 weeks?” This gives the PM a clear understanding of everyone’s comfort level.  It allows the PM to focus on any troubled areas so the real Go / No-Go meeting can take place without a problem.  Should you uncover a serious issue at the mock signing, you have the option to cancel the expensive effort of training before it begins.

The second meeting will be approximately one week prior to go-live. If everyone took the mock meeting seriously, this meeting should go smoothly.  The Go / No-Go signing should be a literal passing of the signoff document around the room.  Everyone should have the chance to sign among their colleagues.

Three major steps to a successful Go / No-Go meeting

  • You must have the appropriate people at the table to sign their respective sections. An IT member should not sign off for any department – the department Liaison and/or Director should.
  • The document must address each signoff area very thoroughly and clearly. Don’t simply state that “Pharmacy is ready for activation.” Instead, word the statement, “Pharmacy has been thoroughly involved in all decisions made, validated that the compendium is built properly, all meds have been tested and can generate charges, pass to charting, and cross the interface. Pharmacy agrees that the system is ready for activation and all Pharmacy personnel are familiar with the system and deem it safe for use.”
  • Include all appropriate personnel of the project (your extended project team, if you will) in the signoff process – those in charge of each involved department, the interface and conversion leader, equipment manager, help desk supervisor, training leader, activation planning crew, finance, etc.

The Value

When your extended team signs and gives their blessing to proceed to activation, they now have a stake in the outcome. And in the event that something goes wrong, the “team” is more likely to stay together and fix the problem.

The final benefit to having a quality signoff is that each person, knowing they are expected to sign, will put a little more priority on a review of the system prior to go-live. That extra bit of validation may uncover some remaining bugs before activation.

If you would like to discuss YOUR Go / No-Go meeting, please contact us at We’ll be happy to share samples of material we use and discuss other challenges you will face during this critical time.

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