Interim CM Manager
RBS Insurance, which has since rebranded to Direct Line Group, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and itself owns numerous household brands including DirectLine, Churchill, Privilege and Green Flag, in addition to providing a white-label insurance service to the customers of ‘partner’ companies such as Sainsbury, Tesco and BMW amongst many others. It is one of Britain’s largest insurers, and is currently preparing for its separation from RBS Group and subsequent initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange.
We were brought in to provide short-term cover for a permanent staff manager, initially seconded elsewhere but who later left the company entirely. This Configuration Management role comprised two main parts:
- Day to day management of a SCM/deployment department (ADCM) with 3 indirect reports and 21 people total, split between UK and offshore, overseeing several hundred programmers; and
- Providing advice and guidance (i.e. consultancy) on configuration management, release management and deployment management strategy across the organisation.
In current ITIL terms this Interim CM Management role was, in many respects, a service management or service transition role as the department was responsible for everything from supporting the user aspects of the SCM tooling and giving guidance on its usage, through environment builds (Windows, Linux and Mainframe), to all aspects of 24×7 code deployment (code migration / code promotion) into test and production environments. While not involved in the hands-on aspects of the deployments themselves, and indeed much of the repetitive work was carried out by offshore staff, we were called upon to assist in trouble-shooting after the event if/when problems occurred: resolving the immediate problem, looking for lessons that could be learned, and applying best-practice to help prevent problems recurring.
We hands-on managed the creation and implementation of a Service Catalogue, detailing the various services delivered by the department, the skills they required, the effort involved, the frequency with which the service was expected to be delivered etc. This then cross-referenced against a set of Operational Level Agreements (OLAs) with the dual benefits of ensuring both that the department always delivered as required, and being able to better plan for its ongoing resource requirements.
We initiated a number of strategies to start capturing department metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), most specifically around code deployments, with the capture either automated or leveraging off existing systems where possible. This remains an ongoing work for the department but the team leaders are already beginning to see its benefits.
We were also involved in meetings to define the requirements for a new Managed Service Provider (MSP) / Offshore Service Vendor with a view to offshoring work where possible, and in helping define the service transition plan, as part of the separation from RBS Group.
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