Last year me and three of my Flock. colleagues joined ING as a pop-up squad team. Our goal was to migrate legacy applications to the new tech stack of ING: web-components with LitElement. It was a time-bound project with a clear scope of application to be finished by the end of the year. We formed a separate team within ING, consisting of four Flockers at the beginning. Due to the huge velocity and the success of our pop-up squad, three additional Flockers joined the project mid-year.
We started out with a number of front-end applications originally built in Angular JS and Polymer. Our task was to investigate and understand the legacy products and move them subsequently to Lit Elements and Web Components. The backend services and API’s, on the other hand, were out of scope and not part of our migration.
The reasons for the move were twofold: it cost ING a lot of time and effort to keep supporting legacy applications, at the same time adding unnecessary complexity to new solutions built. What is more, as the technical support for AngularJS was discontinued, migration was a very sensible option indeed.
In practice, we spent a lot of time with ING teams gathering information and researching the apps required to move. The most important part was to understand the existing legacy products, align with the teams and reach agreements on how to proceed. Naturally, it takes a while for an external squad to fully grasp what’s at stake and take inventory of the requirements. We have to say the integration of the system into the new environment was challenging and fun at the same time and obviously we’re quite proud to have managed the migration within three quarters of the year. ING teams took it from there and are currently putting the apps into production.
Interestingly enough, when the Flock. squad team arrived, another team from India had been migrating some apps for over a year already. We made ourselves quite popular at ING for moving the first app (cancellation of international transfers) within one month. Nobody expected it so fast and the funny side effect of this success was … more and more requests coming our way. Here’s where one of our challenges came: managing expectations. After all, we were there to migrate the apps from legacy to the new tech stack within a limited time-frame, and not to fix all the little issues with the software.
A final note: large corporations are often inclined to outsource their IT-projects to low-cost countries. Of course, as a Dutch software engineering company we’ll be a bit biased, but nevertheless we’d like to make a point there. Our job at ING proved that a good local team can significantly shorten the duration of the project. Not only does it eliminate the time-zone difference, but it also shortens the communication lines and prevents complex issues from becoming even more complex. In the end, you get a local team with a thorough understanding of the subject matter, capable of doing the job more quickly and efficiently. And as time means money, as a corporation you might like to think twice before you outsource your project abroad.