IT Migration – an account of one After Action Review

Sometimes, it’s helpful to have an external AAR Conductor to lead an AAR, when there are participants from different organisations. This case study describes an AAR led to learn from phase one of an NHS IT migration, to enable the organisations involved to work better together in Phase 2.

Case Study

Migration of all the IT users to a new IT platform at an NHS Commissioning Support Unit was planned to take place in 3 phases, the first being the migration of around 1000 users to the Green domain, the second to ensure all users are able to use Windows 10 and 365 and the third to migrate all the regions’ GP practices to the Green domain. An After Action Review was called after Phase 1 of the project, to ensure all the lessons could be learnt to support effective planning and delivery for Phases 2 & 3.

15 of the stakeholders who were involved in Phase 1 met and articulated their expectations of the pre migration, migration response and transition to BAU stages.  They found it valuable to hear the differences and similarities in their expectations, before progressing to articulating what actually happened during each of these stages.  This re-telling of a shared experience from different perspectives provided insight and increased understanding of the bigger picture.

As they looked at what enabled and what got in the way of them doing as they expected, the participants discussed a wide range of actions to mitigate risks in future.  As with all AARs, the aim was for participants to understand what they ALL can do differently in future because in a complex operating environment such as this, change in only one part of the process will not succeed.

72% of participants said it was a valuable use of their time, 91% said they learnt more than they expected and 100% said what they learned will help them with their work in the future.

The responses to the question “What have you learned in this AAR?”  reveal the value of the psychological safety present in the AAR :-  

  • “Whilst we all had the same common goal, everyone had a slightly difference vision of the expectations.”
  • “It’s good to talk and compare suggestions. AAR is a great approach to bring problems to all parties”
  • “It was run really well and helped us to be grown-ups”
  • “Gets your “grey matter” working, also helps with improving your work and problem solving”
  • “It was a structured way of carrying out analysis without pointing the fingers of blame.”

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