An earlier Badger musing, which you can read here, pondered on the effectiveness of TSB’s Go-live readiness assessment and leadership decision-making relating to their calamitous migration from Lloyds Bank to the systems of Banco Sabadell, their Spanish parent. Well, this week IBM’s report on TSB’s IT problems was published (see UK Select Committee: TSB-IBM report). The Badger found it an interesting, but depressing, read. In a nutshell, many of the readiness basics you’d expect for such a major, complex, and business critical migration seem to have been obviously missing. Why this wasn’t obvious to those in TSB and its parent raises all kinds of questions, but the themes from the published report clearly imply that Go-live readiness processes and evaluations were not as comprehensive, rigorous, or evidentially based from a business and an IT perspective as they should have been.
Comprehensive, probing, objective, evidential Go-Live readiness processes that encourage honesty regardless of any internal pressures for positive outcomes, are essential to making the right Go-Live decision. These should cover, as a minimum, stakeholders, business areas, media handling and public relations, customer and customer service, management of change, IT (especially functionality, data migration, defects, test, build and release, performance, resilience and capacity, infrastructure, and technical support), partners and subcontractors, and risk. A focus on each as well as the interlinked totality is essential to ensure the overall picture is joined-up, gaps are identified and mitigated, and that risk is minimised. Assessments should always validate the readiness of viable mechanisms to deal with the unexpected or problems after Go-Live. Not doing this represents misplaced optimism and significantly adds to the risk profile at the point of making a final Go-Live decision.
This all seems obvious to the Badger! So why do things like TSB still happen? Because no matter how good the processes are, people, personalities, behaviours and internal organisational culture remain key factors. Regarding the latter, the Badger has found over the years that the internal culture that organisations tell you they have doesn’t always translate to what’s truly embedded in the workforce!
The Badger ends this piece with a wry smile. An interview with the UK Secretary of State for Transport is on the radio. He’s being grilled on the disastrous impact of a new train timetable on passengers across the north of England. He says all the Go-Live readiness indicators were Green, and a review has started to understand how this could be the case given the major disruption that ensued and continues. In fact the Badger’s wry smile is morphing into a hearty chuckle because it looks like dodgy Go-live readiness evaluation will provide the media with a stick to beat politicians and large organisation leaders for a while yet!