IT Migration to Cloud Governance and Approach

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How important is program Governance?

Program governance and team structure are as important as the technical skills required to complete a successful migration to public cloud.  Not much different than any other data center migration.  This article is not intended to be a complete guide to program governance, and rather to call out some key areas including some I have personally witnessed that needed improvement.

Stakeholder Management

All migrations involve stakeholders in the form of company leadership, program and project managers, technical resources, application owners, business change managers, and even line employees.  A migration needs a very strong stakeholder management plan that addresses the key needs of the stakeholders.  Many programs I have seen have weaknesses in this area.

The reason I mention this one first is that if properly managed, stakeholders can “clear the way” for a successful migration by being champions, running interference, and escalating / obtaining resolution for issues.

Do Not Underestimate the Importance of Stakeholder Management in Governance!

Risk and Issue Management

Let’s face it, these are complicated work efforts and are prone to critical issues and risks.  Manage them by tracking, assigning ownership, assigning resolution dates, and communicating (more on that later.)

Communication

I have been asked to take over several troubled programs.  The common thread in 90% of these programs is lack of, or poor communications.  For example, on one troubled program the first day I was assigned as the leader I received over 400 program related emails.  There were email threads with dozens of emails with the same subject.  At that moment I implemented a five-email rule.  If I saw an email thread with the same subject more than five times, I opened a conference bridge and forced the parties to join.  Over time the team members began to do this themselves. 

The other email protocol implemented was what I call the Three W’s.  When you need something and ask via email you must state at the beginning of the email:

  • What you need
  • Who you need it from
  • When you need it

These two changes in email communication made a significant difference in the ENTIRE program and led to success.  It is truly amazing what happens when people talk to each other!

Summary

This is not intended to be a complete list.  Every migration is very complex and requires detailed analysis of the best structure for the governance.  Cookie cutter governance architecture helps define the structure but is not the roadmap for the specific migration.  Take the time to document the entire governance and obtain approval from all key stakeholders.  Oh, and do not be afraid to change it is needed.

About the Author

Brian Hiatt is an expert leader at safe and successful data center workload migration to private, virtual private, and public clouds.  His experience includes large scale global data center migrations as well as small to medium size business workload migrations.  He can be reached at or https://brianhiatt.com