Keep calm and carry on – How to run a data migration in the middle of lockdown webinar, 20 October 2020
Senior Manager –
Keep Calm and
Carry On -
How to manage
a Data Migration
An introduction to me
Joined YBS in 2016 as Programme Manager, promoted to Portfolio Delivery
management in 2017. Delivered the integration of the Norwich &
Peterborough Building Society and is leading the rollout of Digital services
as well as the ongoing development of change talent from within the
began at Halifax in
1998, moving from
Project Manager to
through HBOS and
Born in London,
moved to Bradford
for University in
1989 and very
happily living in
Worked in Financial Services since 1998, always
as a Business side change lead, experienced in
product and proposition development, software
procurement, M&A, data integration and
migration, regulatory compliance and
Outside of work,
music and trying
to balance my love
of good food and
drink with some
control of my
waistline are my
An introduction to YBS and the Project
• Currently 3rd in the Top 10 Building Societies
• Head Office locations in Bradford, Leeds and Peterborough, although currently approx 25% of the
workforce are working remotely
• Product offerings include Residential and Commercial Mortgages, Buy to Let, Savings, and Shareplans
• Key Communication channels – Digital App, Online and Phone
• 249 YBS outlets for face to face help across the UK offering Real Help for Real Lives
The work we will be discussing today was a 2+ year programme to outsource the ongoing administration of a
part of our Mortgage business. Completing this work required us to oversight the Extract, Transform and
Load of Customer, Account and Transactional Data to an appointed 3rd party.
The size of the activity fell within the Financial Conduct Authority’s definition of a ‘Material Outsource’,
requiring YBS to apply the highest standards of care and due diligence to ensure the protection of customer
The entity receiving the data and taking responsibility for running the service were not geographically
located close to YBS, meaning that the joint project team had operated in an environment where they were
travelling regularly to conduct face to face workshops for all key activities from requirements gathering
through solution design and definition and into the delivery phase.
Data Migration is a core Project Management skill
Organisations will evolve and re-
➢ Mergers & Acquisitions
➢ Buy Outs
➢ Restructuring / Outsourcing
➢ Legacy Modernisation
➢ Technology Upgrade
➢ Data re-modelling
Cross Sector Business Drivers Critical Success Factors Tools & Methodologies
Common themes that must be
➢ Clarity on Business Outcomes
➢ Data harmonisation / cleansing
➢ Understanding the ‘To Be’
➢ Levels of customisation
➢ Adopt or Adapt the environment
➢ Build or Buy the solution
Managing requires core change
disciplines and specialist skills:
➢ Structured approach to creating
➢ Strong relationships with Analysts
➢ Familiarity with Software build
and test processes
➢ Leadership & Communication
➢ Experience of the operating
All data migration projects have a ‘big bang’ weekend at which point the formal extract, reconciliation and
transfer of data takes place from the host to receiving organisation or platform. This is a hugely time sensitive
activity, and traditionally would always be done with the teams being co-located to maximise efficiency.
So how do you do that in the middle of lockdown…?
This programme of work faced challenges that will be recognised by any change professional:
➢ Adopt not adapt the
➢ Management of internal
➢ Late identification of
➢ Changes to roles and
➢ Milestones driven by the
need to manage large scale
➢ An integrated deliverable
within a Portfolio of work
with multiple dependencies
➢ Supplier teams scheduled to
move to other assignments
➢ Critical path slippages
➢ Delivery quality challenges
➢ High levels of demand for
➢ Issues with discreet parts of
the technical solution
➢ Squeeze of testing durations
➢ Budget construction driven
by commercial agreement
➢ Minimal contingency
➢ Circa 60 Change Requests
➢ Benefit deliverables baked
into corporate plan
• Completion of all
• 2 x Dress Rehearsals
each with a 4 day
end to end span
• Revise resource plan
• Issue of Customer
• Regulatory approval
• Less than 10%
• Less than 10%
• Colleague exit
• Lock in Supplier
• Lock in Internal
• Business Case
• Transparent MI
• Control of Change
X Cessation of face
to face working
X Business travel
X Quarantine if ill
X Schools closed
X Minimal access to
Teams / web
• Minimal plan
• Completion of
• Readiness to
enter route to
DEC JAN FEB MAR APR MAY
• Delivery Plan
How did we do it?
1. Customer Outcomes come first
It’s easy to say that you put Customer needs and outcomes at the centre of
what you are delivering, but often that is a lot harder to do in practice.
A few themes that were kept in mind:
1. Be completely clear on what Customers will experience through the
transition, and where that may be a problem. Revisit that position on a
2. As you do so, ensure that your supplier remains clear about how you
expect Customers to be treated
3. Know where your milestones are for Customer Communication and be
unambiguous on the Quality tolerances that have to be achieved before
you will release any information or notice to them
Lockdown and furlough created huge levels of uncertainty for Customers, many of whom were suddenly put
into a position where they were applying for Mortgage payment holidays.
The Programme had to be confident that it understood how changes in the external environment impacted
its proposed scheme of work, and could assure the Organisation that there would be no customer detriment.
All customer communications were reviewed, re-worded and re-approved via internal governance, and when
issued, resulted in lower than forecast levels of customer contact.
How did we do it?
2. Manage the Plan
It’s an obvious statement, but a properly managed plan underpins your success.
➢ Understand your plan at the lowest level of detail
➢ Be absolutely clear who owns the plan
➢ Assign unambiguous ownership of tasks and make sure it’s not you!
➢ Walk it through as many times as you need to ensure that everyone knows
what is expected of them
➢ What is your contingency plan
➢ Have you thought through the unhappy path scenarios and made allowance
for them in your planning
➢ What is your escalation pathway when you hit issues
➢ Rehearse your plan
➢ Make every minute count
➢ Ensure that you know where you have contingency and where your
critical path is
➢ Be flexible and creative
➢ Fail fast and fix forward
➢ Use your Dress Rehearsals to remove as much ambiguity as you can
How did we do it?
3. Trust and Empower your team
Lockdown imposed a new way of working for us all overnight. When we take on cultural and behavioural
change, we generally don’t plan for it to be enacted at such short notice. But when those situations happen,
you will rely on the team around you to be their best selves.
We adopted some basic principles:
➢ Allow your colleagues to be as flexible as
they need to in order to manage their own
➢ You must ensure that roles and
responsibilities are clear and unambiguous,
particularly where a supplier is involved
➢ Identify and Protect your key resources –
those people who you cannot do without.
Give them support and space to operate
➢ Know who is on your Bench – if you lose key
resources, who can backfill?
How did we do it?
4. Absolute clarity on your communication
➢ Removing 25% of your
capacity to communicate
means that you have to
increase focus on the other
We use 4 methods to communicate, but when one of those is removed, what do you do to compensate?
➢ You have to keep a laser focus
to ensure that:
➢ all actions are recorded
➢ All commitments made
are followed through
➢ Your plan remains
accurate and up to date
➢ Adopt the most appropriate
tools that are available and
reliable and stick with them –
consistency is your friend
➢ Be ready to deal with conflict
– take accountability, take
ownership and always
remember the bigger picture
➢ Be aware of the impact of
losing visual clues and ensure
your team are thinking in the
➢ Move quickly through the
change curve – encourage the
team to take the lead in
How did we do it?
5. Get your organisation behind you
Your single biggest support network should be the organisation you are working for. Any piece of work like
this represents a significant financial investment, and should be expected to deliver material benefits.
They have a vested interest in making it happen, so get them working for you.
1. We worked closely with internal Audit, first and second line assurance to ensure that they understood
the work we were leading, the risks we were managing and the things we needed to enable success
2. Your Executive Sponsor has to be close to the detail. If they are not, it is your job to bring them in.
They have a critical role in influencing both within the Organisation and outside. They need to be in
tune with you, and you need to be in tune with them, to make them your biggest advocate.
3. Your Executive Committee are accountable to the Board for investment spend and benefit realisation. We
ensured that they were aware of the additional pressures that the external environment had created
How did we do it?
6. Work seamlessly with your supplier
Any delivery programme where realisation of your outcomes is dependent upon collaboration of a 3rd party
supplier (or suppliers) requires you to build a strong ‘one team’ ethos to succeed.
This scenario perfectly showcases how we use conflict resolution as a technique within change management.
When two different organisations work together there will always be the potential for tensions to be
uncovered, which will become much more marked as available time reduces. That was amplified with the
imposed changes in working patterns through Lockdown.
We consciously increased the focus in this area, with 3 questions and one Red Line in mind:
1. Is your level of trust sufficient to allow them to lead you? If not, what will you do and when will you
2. Who are your trusted partners within their organisation?
3. Are you cheerleading for the standardisation of processes and practices?
4. When it comes to Quality, ‘just about OK’ is not good enough
You will always need to apply additional levels of oversight if you are working with Third Parties. Our
experience in Lockdown was that the removal of direct contact meant that we needed to insist on a much
higher level of oversight and governance control to assure ourselves of the right outcome.
What have we learnt?
Your customer is your most important stakeholder
What was unthinkable 6 months ago is normal now Change has never been this fast and will never be this slow
Stick with your core disciplines – you were
taught them for a reason
Your people are your strongest asset –