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Template for an

IT Operations Manual / IT Systems Handbook / Application Run Book PDF-icon

Summary and Scope

This document is primarily designed as template for an Operations Manual / Systems-Handbook
  1. to help that nothing is forgotten and
  2. a common handbook structure is used throughout all systems. This will support easy cross-system troubleshooting and documentation.
The resulting Operations Manual / Systems-Handbook is an important deliverable of the overall system for
  • compliance with documentation-requirements for systems and processes required by internal QA-department or internal auditing department or external auditors or other organizations and laws
and it is an essential source of information to support
  • daily operations by clearly description of all active and proactive tasks to keep the system running and prevent unplanned outages and by providing all information required
  • special operations e.g. outage planning and all special tasks from shutdown to startup
  • troubleshooting by ensuring that all required information is immediately available. Especially in case of problems this document should contain all information required by internal staff or especially by external experts to analyze the problem
  • all other active and proactive tasks (e.g. Hardware / Software / License upgrades / extensions to cover increasing usage) required to keep the system running within the expected performance limits and prevent unplanned outages (e.g. because of an expired license key or exceeding the license limit)


Development Manager

This template supports the efficient creation of an Operations Manual which is an important part of the delivery.

Operations Manager

The operations manager should customize this template according to the requirements of his team and afterwards communicate those customized document to the Development Manager.

QA Manager

This template allows the QA Manager to check the Operations Manuals delivered for completeness.

If you think that you don't need this template,

because ...... you have already Operations Handbooks for your Systems ?

  • Use this comprehensive template to cross-check if your current Operations Handbooks are complete !... you store all information in an comprehensive Configuration Management Database (CMDB) ?

  • Use this comprehensive template to cross-check if your CMDB covers all types of information! ... you outsourced development and you expect the operations and system handbook as part of the delivery

  • Use this template in the contract specifications to clearly express what you expect thus to avoid “misunderstanding” between vendor and you about the content of the operations handbook. Using this template for this purpose is much cheaper than solving a single dispute with the vendor. ...it's much work to write the handbook and your systems are running without it

because ...... the system runs even without Operations Manual. One member of your staff has that in his head.

  • But the second person (who shares on-call duty with the main person) might know the most important details how to re-start after a crash but might not be aware of all e.g. monthly tasks. And latest at the first hand-over to a new main responsible person, the new person will have to write down everything the former person tells. If the person just knowing it leaves unexpected then all the information must be re-engineered - definitely much more work than the initial documentation. Huge money was spent in the area of “Knowledge Management” - not writing a Systems and Operations Handbook means not even documenting required knowledge, making “Knowledge Management” impossible.

  • A comprehensive System- and Operations Handbook is an important part of the Operations / Production Managers “Job Insurance”. Without such a documentation he can in case of an audit not proof that all tasks are assigned and checked for execution.


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