Requesting Changes through Moratorium Windows
Angela Gomez is the project manager of a Key data migration project. She and her team have worked tirelessly during the planning phase for several days.
And when the duration for the data migration was estimated it became clear the migration would run for several days considering the volume of data to be migrated.
From the IT Release and moratorium calendar Angela gathered the details on the various moratoriums – End of a Quarter moratorium, Financial and Sales Moratorium, Holiday Moratorium, Global Year end moratorium etc. to cite a few. So what exactly are Moratoriums? In simple terms, Moratoriums are basically windows during which IT changes are suspended to avoid impact to Business during critical periods. While it is highly recommended to avoid planning IT deployments during Moratorium windows there could be scenarios when your project might need an expedited change which would need to pass through a moratorium window. Or it could be a change which starts in a non-moratorium window but passes through one or several moratoriums before coming to an end.
Angela’s case fell in the second scenario. The data migration would start on a non-moratorium window timeline however it was likely to pass through several moratorium windows.
As a project manager, Angela had to make sure that all roadblocks are cleared before kick-starting the data migration. Below are the key items she tackled for getting her change approved. These formed the basis for the planning of the subsequent tasks for the data migrations.
Arrive at a clear Justification
In a short three or four sentences arrive at the Justification of why the project change needs to go through the moratorium window. Is it due to a critical Business ask or a long data migration? Whatever may be the case this needs to be called out explicitly. So in the above case of the data migration, provide details on volume and type of the data to be migrated, Applications involved, downtime, what functionality is this change likely to impact and how you plan to handle issues which may arise during the change window.
LOP(Launch Orchestration Plan)
This is one of the most important document to share to the Moratorium approvers to seek their approvals for the long-running migration. The LOP should justify the long window requested which means it should be detailed to the lowest task. LOP could be prepared in MS Project or Excel format, however, tracking the LOP from MS Project would be easier. Add notes wherever required. Ensure to have the LOP reviewed by the project IT stakeholders and take care to incorporate the changes before locking the LOP. When seeking approvals from the moratorium approvers via mail ensure a copy of the LOP is attached for their review. It is important to note that moratorium approvers hold senior positions so get your homework done before finalizing the LOP. LOP is an important document to be attached to the Change request.
Have a roster identified for the complete data migration. If the migration is running 24*7 it is important to get the team engaged across the time zones. The roster should show the details of the team members, Role, time zone, contact details, Dates/shifts they support etc… Say if you need Database administrator(DBA) for the data migration ensure to have one Primary DBA and a secondary DBA across time zones i.e. a team of Primary and secondary DBA for APJ region and another team of Primary and secondary DBA for US/AMER region. The primary DBA should ensure to provide a knowledge session to the secondary DBA so they can step in when required. The roster needs to be attached to the Change request and can be shared when you are seeking approvals from the Moratorium approvers.
Identify the Moratorium Approvers and seek approval
Once you have the above details ready and finalized the last and critical aspect is to table the change for Moratorium approvers. Getting approvals for changes planned during moratorium can be tricky however clear documentation would help the Project manager to present the case confidently.
Based on the impacted moratoriums for your change identify the Moratorium approvers. The names of the moratorium approvers can be found either from the IT Release calendar or you could work with your change manager /release manager. In Angela’s case for long-running migration the moratorium owners would be interested in several things: What the change is all about, Timeline of the change, Expected volume of data handled, Justification of the long window, How to deal with issues during the change, List of the resources engaged across the globe, Any downtime required, List of approvals received till date, and last but not the least the launch orchestration plan (LOP). Explain the details by joining the required meetings/forums for seeking approvals or send a detailed mail. Request the approvers to approve the change request in the tool or mail once they are convinced with the details. It would be a good idea to invite your leadership as well to such meetings so they can support you to present your case.
If the Moratorium approvers are convinced with the details it should not take much time for them to approve the change request. However, even if one of the approvers is not convinced you might need to reschedule the change or provide more details and table it again for approvals.