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Taking Over Maintenance and Development of Existing Customer Applications From Other Vendors

Strategy
Stakeholders

9 December, 2021

Jan Pieczykolan
Jan Pieczykolan

Head of IT Development at Santander Bank Polska

Jan Pieczykolan, Software Engineering Director, describes how he prepared a successful transition plan for a vendor to take over responsibility for a whole customer IT domain.

Problem

The company was bidding in a tender for a 3-year long outsourcing contract. One of the initial steps was to transfer and re-build knowledge about 30 business support systems that were the subject of the contract. As a part of the offer, the vendor was expected to provide a plan and a schedule of this step with the price.

Actions taken

A team was gathered to investigate documentation that the customer made available for a short period in its premises. We ran an initial, brief analysis of those systems to understand their complexity in a minimum time better. They helped us in setting initial assumptions about the systems in question.

The methodology we used was quite similar for each system but had to be tuned to reflect specific systems characteristics. Usually, it would help if you gathered all artifacts like documentation and source code. Prepare source code repository and CI tooling to build the system. In parallel, the team may be going through source code to get acquainted with it. In the final stage, when knowledge is transferred, and tools are ready, you may be asked to solve some of the genuine production defects in the required SLA. This is a test to check if you can safely take over responsibility for this system.

Due to the scale of the endeavor – we were iteratively grouping those systems in several categories to reduce the problem and find common denominators for identified applications’ groups. This led us to identify four different groups of applications. Each group had additional complexity, and therefore the amount of work needed to re-build knowledge and set up an environment was different.

We prepared a template of a transition plan for each group, together with a schedule and workload estimate. Those templates were assigned to each application from a specific group. Thanks to that, all applications had an initial schedule and pricing. We have slightly tuned plans for specific applications to reflect their individual characteristics in the last step.

Lessons learned

  • If the problem you face is too big to solve at once, use the divide and conquer approach.
  • If you lack knowledge, try to make an assumption.
  • If you are making an assumption, write them down.

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