If you have been keeping an eye on the news over the last couple of weeks, you won't have missed the major story that broke on Monday 23rd April 2018. TSB, one of the UK's major high-street banks, was taking major steps to separate its IT systems from Lloyds Banking group systems after they split in 2013. As part of this process, TSB had scheduled downtime from 16.00 on Friday 20th May until 18.00 the following Sunday.
As the headlines broke it was clear that this "smooth process" had been anything but. With customers still unable to access vital services and systems still not running correctly a week on, this blog post explores the lessons that your IT project delivery can learn from the mistakes made by TSB.
The cardinal sin of this whole process was transparency. TSB failed to acknowledge that customers were reporting issues even after they had issued a statement claiming the project was a complete success. With customers taking to social media about their ongoing problems, it took the business over 2 days to remove the notice of ‘successful migration’ and inform all customers that there were still issues. In this day and age, it is detrimental to a business’ success if they hide the truth from their customers. Businesses must be seen to be upfront be honest in accepting their mistakes, it's better to admit your shortcomings than mislead your customer base.
The cardinal sin of this whole process was transparency - it is detrimental to a business’ success if they hide the truth from their customers.
Alongside this mistake, it was clear that the business had no rollback plan. All projects should follow a clear methodology as soon as you encounter an issue you ask the delivery team the question "Can we resolve this or is this a major issue?". If any part of the delivery team believes it could be a major issue, then the business should revert back to its previous state and then return to testing and plan stages to resolve the found flaw before attempting to roll the project forward.
Time management is critical when running any project IT related or not, if you're not working with enough time to complete a task then your project is doomed to fail. It's always better to over-estimate and deliver ahead of time, than it is to promise a deadline and fail to reach it. Which is exactly what TSB have done in this instance.
One of the most critical lessons to learn from this process is that in this social and digital era - how your customers engage and perceive your services to be online, is just as important as how much money is in the bank.
“In a world where reputation is everything, trust is the new currency” -Rachel Botsman
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