In mid-2014 unrest on Russian/Ukraine border increased significantly. In response, consultancy companies issued warnings on the primary risks facing companies which outsourced IT to the endangered region. Software Mind was contacted by US company which decided to validate contingency plan. The plan assumed step-by-step transition of IT development projects managed by its partner in the endangered region to a new partner operating in a safe location:
introduce a new partner to create real, safe alternative at comparable cost;
transfer knowledge and capacity to a new partner;
split responsibilities and communication channels and make them work.
The target system was a platform supporting business processes, consisting of several applications maintained by over fifty people working in development centers in endangered regions.
transition with minimum impact on business activities;
integration of two separate teams working from various locations;
transfer of technical and business knowledge of the whole platform;
seamless transition of communication channels;
do not introduce extra costs.
The major assumption taken was that while the handover process of the system maintenance takes place, the agreed SLA parameters should be kept right after the commencement of the service. Such a feat required thorough preparation from the Software Mind team.
After the takeover, the system was managed by two teams working in parallel:
support team – consisting of support engineers and system engineer,
development team consisting of system architect, analysts, senior developers and quality assurance engineers.
Key success elements
Project like this can succeed only with some key factors being met. These are:
1. Don’t relocate everything in one go. Split your managed system into parts as independent as possible and start transfer with part which does not represent more than 50% of it.
2. Introduce partner with similar work ethics and work culture as the existing one. New partner must communicate with the old one and your people have already built communication and cooperation habits.
3. Relocate 1-2 persons of key personnel to the new partner if possible. This step may shorten take-over process and significantly limit the risks related to it.
4. Relocate both maintenance and new features developments. The team which is maintaining the system would be much more efficient in realizing change requests.
5. Give it at least 3 months (up to 6). A takeover process takes time to be efficient.
Project result and conclusions
As the takeover unfolded, it was confirmed that contingency plan was working and the overall OPEX cost had not increased. The customer lowered its risks due to geographical diversification. Deadlines and budget were kept – transition process was realized on schedule so project could be transferred in 11 weeks. As a result of whole process, the customer increased flexibility in the case of unexpected peaks due to two partners having two independent resource pools. The last thing is that IT Outsourcing can also include deployment management which can significantly shorten time-to-market cycles of new functionalities.