What Do Data Migration & March Madness Have in Common?

By Eoghan Kelly, Technical Consultant and Diane Davis, Business Consultant, FINEOS

We are in the clutches of March Madness, and resistance is futile.  So let’s go with it, shall we?  For example, what if your software project migration team were a basketball team?  Your starting line-up might look something like this:

  • The Point Guard (Data Conversion Leads)

This is your Lead Data Conversion/Migration Analyst.  A point guard is expected to run the team’s offense by controlling the ball, and making sure it gets to the right players at the right time.  Similarly, the Lead Data Conversion/Migration Analyst is the leader of the migration team.  This position is responsible for assigning work to his colleagues and to the client alike.  The Lead carries the big picture vision for the project, as well as keeping an eye on the minutiae, to ensure a successful win. The team relies on the Point Guard to produce a lot of assists!

  • The Center (ETL Team)

This is your Technical Migration Team or better known as the ETL Team.  In basketball, your Center is typically the tallest person on the team.  The center plays tough on both sides of court, and in some instances, is the muscle of the team. This is a direct correlation to the ETL Team, who can be considered the heart of your conversion project. The ETL Team is generally comprised of data architects from both the client and vendor, and is responsible for extracting, transforming and loading the data from one data storage to another. There are a number of ETL tools in the market and FINEOS has experience working with Oracle Warehouse Builder, Informatica and IBM DataStage. The ETL team must contain expert technical and data skills, as well as knowing the data that is being transformed. Teams with dominant centers typically win championships!

  • The Shooting Guard (Technical and Business Solution experts)

These are your project’s Technical and Business Experts.  A shooting guard typically has a specific objective to accomplish and that’s to shoot the ball!  The center and shooting guards work together to plan special plays to accomplish their objectives.  The business and technical experts on your project will work with the lead conversion or migration analyst on items, such as the impact of new requirements, interfaces and other integrations on data conversion.  These experts will offer input with regard to how the software solution works after the migration is complete. We reach out to our shooting guards when we need to put some points on the board!  The Small Forward (DBA Function)

This is the Database Administrator (DBA).  Small Forwards are typically shorter, quicker, and leaner than your Power Forwards and Centers. This is true unless your name is Lebron James. The Small Forward is involved in the entire game.  Similarly, the DBA is a vital component of the project team.  They manage and setup the environments, issue passwords and approve access.  They also have the important task of monitoring system performance.  For example, they make sure there’s enough table space, and are responsible for making adjustments, to ensure that the environments can accommodate the volume of data involved with a migration effort.  The configuration of a migration environment is different from a production environment due to the volume of data. The team relies on the small forward to keep things moving!

  • The Power Forward (Testing function)

These are your Testers, both Client Business Users and the Vendor’s QA team.  The Power Forward position requires versatility and covers a variety of responsibilities that may overlap with those in other positions.  Likewise, testers must know some of the technical, as well as the business aspects of the project.  They are responsible for verifying converted data to make sure it works within the application.  Testers are most heavily involved after all of the enhancements are delivered and the system is in its final state.  They perform business acceptance testing on the final solution with the migrated data to make sure the new system works as expected. In other words without a strong power forward, don’t expect success!

  • The Coach  (the PM’s)

We must also highlight the importance of a good Coach.  Like a Coach, the Project Managers plan the entire season and have overall responsibility for the team’s results.  The Project Manager creates the plans, ensures that the right resources are brought in when needed, and is in charge of the schedule.  The project manager has the important role of holding things together, reacting to change, and making sure the team has a winning season.

So how’s your bracket looking?  For more insight on creating an unbeatable team, why not give FINEOS a call?  Here’s to a victorious season!

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