For each project the end user must be identified. This is normally the operations department of the Project Sponsor’s organisation but may not be (for example, the owner may engage an operation and maintenance contractor).
The end user is responsible for:
- Ensuring that the operational organisation is mobilised such that there can be a smooth transition from the project execution phase into the operational phase.
- Participating effectively in the commissioning and handover phase.
- Negotiating the terms of any operation and maintenance agreements, as part of an overall contracting process.
- Feeding operational experience into the plant specification.
The end user and the Project Manager must agree on a project handover protocol following the principles agreed in the Project Execution Plan
It is vital to get the end user engaged in the project as soon as possible. They can then get comfortable with what is being provided at an early stage. If they are brought in late in the day, they will not be bought-into the details of the plant and will have numerous objections about its operability and maintainability.
Projects which have been successful in execution can lose their reputation for excellence if there is a poor transition into the operational phase. Heathrow Terminal 5 is a good example of a project where there was a poor transition into the operational phase. I understand that on the new Terminal 2 project, planning started with the commissioning and handover to avoid this problem recurring.