March 1, 2023

WeShape Data Migration Services - Enhancing Data Migration Processes with Agile Transformation

WeShape Data Migration Services - Enhancing Data Migration Processes with Agile Transformation

A growing number of organisations are utilising data migration services for shifting from on-premise legacy systems. This is useful from a strategic perspective to reduce the high maintenance costs, technical debt and enhance competitive technological abilities. In addition, more and more organisations are adopting an agile approach and culture. Within this dual increase, there is a lot of room for collaboration between the two as they both have many shared goals and aims.

What are data migrations?

Data migration is the process of transferring data between data formats, computer systems or data storage systems. In a 2017 Harvard Business Review study, companies cited business agility and flexibility as the main reason for adoption of cloud systems or hybrid cloud architecture. The appeal of cloud for agility is even stronger for small to medium-sized businesses, as it can boost time to market, business growth and risk and security mitigation. Additionally, post-migration to cloud, businesses stated there was more “business agility/ flexibility” and “increased collaboration”. 

Types of migrations

Storage migration- uses a geographical service that inventories data on Windows, Linux and NetApp CIFS servers and transfers to newer servers or Azure virtual machines 

Database migration- the process of migrating data from one or more source databases to one or more target databases. When a migration is completed, the dataset remains in the target databases, although potentially restructured

Application migration- moving a software application from one computing environment to another

Cloud migration- transferring a company’s digital assets, services, database, IT resources and applications (can be partially or wholly into the cloud). To find out more about cloud migration, click here

What is Agile Transformation and Development?

Agile culture was increasingly used around the publication of the Agile Manifesto in early 2001 by 17 software practitioners. This is a short document that permeated the agile beliefs and philosophy via 4 core values and 12 principles for agile software development (see the figure below for the core values). They created this to address the increasing demand for an alternative against traditional processes. 

WeShape Data Migration Services
The four Agile principles

Scrum and Agile

Because the Agile Manifesto was in part developed by the co-creator of eXtreme Programming (Kent Beck) and Scrum creators (Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber) it inherits a lot of shared values with Scrum culture. However, the main distinction between agile and scrum is that scrum is a methodology within agile; whereas agile is more of a philosophy that can use Scrum amongst other methodologies such as Kanban and eXtreme Programming (XP). 

Scrum is the more dominant agile methodology used and led by project managers. This entails a product owner, Scrum master and more cross-functional team members. While the product owner is accountable for optimising the value of the product, the Scrum master is responsible for managing the Scrum methodology implementation in the project team. This methodology is characterised by sprints (the breakdown of a project into smaller sections) which the project team establishes to complete usually across a two to four week period.

Once the sprint is complete, the outcomes should be ready for client delivery. There is also a sprint review where everything is evaluated and lessons are taken for learning. This is a repetitive cycle throughout the project lifecycle until the whole project is delivered. This methodology enables and ensures customer satisfaction with the end product as rapid evolution to customer feedback is prioritised by the project team throughout the sectioned process.

Modern definitions of agile 

Since the Agile Manifesto’s 2001 publication, the working definition of agility has also evolved with changing business landscapes and needs. CEO of Cultivated Management, Rob Lambert states the principles of agility are divided across 16 key concepts:

  1. Build stable teams
  2. Visualise work and take responsibility
  3. Focus on flow, not just capacity
  4. Prioritise and force rank the work
  5. We can always improve
  6. Ask your customers and deliveries
  7. Ask “what problem are we trying to solve”
  8. Know where you’re going
  9. Lean into problems
  10. Behaviours are everything
  11. Management and leaders have access to the most powerful levers
  12. Agile is not an end goal
  13. Effectiveness and efficiency are not the same thing
  14. Systems govern success, but good people can change systems
  15. Follow process. Move Fast. Learn
  16. Follow decisions to the outcome 

Business agility is the continuous improvement and flexibility of cross-functional teams that focus on rapid delivery of business value within an evolving environment. These teams work incrementally and can quickly adapt to business needs and customer feedback with the end goal of improving customer experiences faster.

WeShape Data Migration Services
Agile cycles

The ability to utilise and analyse data is fundamental to organisational survival. However, many companies struggle to effectively use their data as a strategic tool to understand the market and customers. Therefore, an agile approach with an emphasis on flexibility, short feedback loops and adaptability can significantly help businesses improve their relationship with evolving data in comparison to traditional waterfall methodologies. 

What is the Waterfall methodology?

Although agile culture was initially developed to replace waterfall approaches, it is still a widely used comparison. Waterfall approaches were originally developed by Winston W. Royce for software development but it is now a widely used project management tool which takes a sequential and linear method. This is well-suited for projects where OKRs and KPIs are clearly established at the beginning. However, the long project delivery times (slow to deliver customer value and outcomes) and higher risk (due to leaving testing to the very end of the process), means waterfall methodologies are no longer appropriate for most organisations.

WeShape Data Migration Services
Waterfall timelines

Waterfall case study: TSB

In 2018, TSB began their data migration which led to 1.9 million customers locked out of their accounts in addition to a near £50m fine. As the migration ultimately failed, this process led to a parliamentary inquiry and consequently a statement of “lost confidence” in the CEO. TSB lost over 80,000 customers, £300m and received 93,700 complaints. One of the reasons for this failure was executing such a big change involving large amounts of sensitive data using a linear waterfall approach such as PMI PMP or Prince2.

According to TSB’s executive summary of Slaughter and May’s independent report, there was a culmination of problems which resulted in the premature production release of their new IT operations system.

As testing was left until the end with this linear approach, TSB were unable to properly account for the multitude of project delays and expenses. By adopting shift-left or test driven development principles from Agile approaches, developers would have written the code first. This would enable developers to immediately receive feedback on their code, amend their mistakes easier, quicker and cheaper than with Waterfall.

Disadvantages of agile development culture

According to the 2017 Harvard Business Review, “IT implementation time” is the biggest hindrance of legacy, on-premise systems. Therefore, this renders an agile approach redundant as the team is unable to move at speed and is held back by necessary enhancements and system updates.

The benefits of cloud computing are widely acknowledged. However, without proper implementation or data migration services many companies (74% according to a IHS Markit study) fail to recognise the anticipated benefits within their own company and ultimately reverted from cloud to on-site premises.

By streamlining your organisation’s IT implementation processes using experienced cloud and agile experts, reduces:

  • Inadequate teamwork
  • Communication silos
  • Waiting time for IT to configure system resources
  • Technical debt from previous projects
  • Improper planning 
  • Project delays and expenses
  • Process bottlenecks

As Ian Moyse (current Consulting Head of Sales at ChAI) explains, with this speed of technology change (such as switching from waterfall to agile or data migrations) comes a need for those supporting the business to adapt quickly and adopt new methodologies, knowledge and skills to empower a company to take advantage of these new possibilities. 

One of the significantly underestimated elements is people within agile transformation as this is not a transformation of just technology or roles but a cultural shift which involves the entire company. Therefore, when making the transition to agile, organisations require experienced expertise to optimise this change.

WeShape Data Migration Services

As providers of data migration services, part of our operating model and agile adoption, we run weekly sprints to separate a project timeline into smaller, manageable sections and keep a team’s motivation engaged. In these sprints, we review the deliverables to ensure a shared understanding of goals. Within this agile nature, we aim to engage our associate network within 48 hours and  deployment of consultants and technical squads within 2 weeks from project acceptance. This enables us to work at pace to deliver more value and quicker to our customers instead of lengthy deployment processes.

In collaboration with customers, WeShape constructs a thorough statement of work to address pain points, needs and desired outcomes. This includes:

  • Overview requirement
  • Agreed outcomes
  • Milestones
  • Service level and commercials
  • Business / technical assumptions
  • Reporting metrics

This effectively establishes the best forms of communication as per the individual company and deployed WeShape associates.

Our associates are within the top 5% of the technology market and are equipped to provide training and coaching organisations' internal staff so the organisation can fully optimise the benefits of their data migration and agile transformations. To find out more, book in a quick chat with one of our sales team here.


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About the Author
Charlotte Hamilton
Charlotte Hamilton

Charlotte is the social media assistant at WeShape. She has a 2:1 BA in English Literature and enjoys reading and writing in her free time. The Life at WeShape blogs are a fun way to get to know us once a month!

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