The Three P’s – Planning, Processes, Procedures

The Three P’s – Planning, Processes, Procedures

The Three P’s – Planning, Processes, Procedures

If you haven’t been affected by (sorry if you have 🙁 ) you will have at least heard about the disaster that is the TSB banking system replacement and it has us all here thinking about how important The Three P’s are to any business in relation to their digital systems.

So what went wrong at TSB? a quick recap of the basics is that Sabadell bought TSB in March 2015 it began to put in motion the plan to merge the banks IT systems with it’s own Porteo banking system – at this time they were warned it was likely to cost more than £450 million. They pushed ahead, the system was supposed to be fully tested and working by March 2017 however there was barely a prototype or proof of concept by this time. When integration was supposed to begin in May even logging in was problematic, by autumn it was obvious the system would not be ready so it was pushed back to April – which is when we know they pushed forward and announced successful completion of the project.

Only hours later the systems fell and the 1.9 million TSB customers who use mobile and internet banking were locked out. We then know TSB repeatedly tried to say that everything was ay okay several times before Pester had to bring in IBM to start solving issues.

These are some of the problems with the project that have been reported in the media so far:

  1. The time frame of 18 months sounds rushed when you consider that the old banking system was described as a “bodge of many old systems for TSB, BOS, Halifax, Cheltenham and Gloucester and more”
  2. Sabadell did not have full control of the system they were trying to migrate customer data from
  3. There was no way to rollback once the new system was put in place
  4. The system was not tested properly for example it was only load tested for 500 people when there are 1.9million users
  5. The engineers working on the project lacked the experience of the systems needed
  6. There are suggestions that Sabadell tried to transfer code from the Spanish system to the UK version

What you are probably thinking now is, but this is a massive system what does it have to do with me and my small business? The answer is simple no matter how big or small your company is, you will use some kind of IT application, and all IT can be susceptible to failure whether it’s a website, mobile app, email, cloud based app etc.

A more local example for us is in April 2016 when 123.reg had a systems problem which resulted in Ross County FC’s website being accidentally deleted which effected a critical part of their ticket sales for 4 days – If there had been a back up of the website stored safely elsewhere – the restore process would have been much quicker.

This is where the three P’s can help


Whether this is an appraisal of your current system, or the beginning of a new project planning is key to success at each stage of a digital project there should be a plan in place if we take a look at this in terms of websites.

  1. For new projects a Project Plan should be in place which should at least include
    1. Research and Consultation
    2. Design (This can include branding)
    3. Development Time
    4. Testing
    5. Launching
    6. Training
  2. For completed and existing websites there should be a Maintenance Plan in place which should include
    1. Security
    2. Back-ups
    3. System Updates
    4. Disaster Recovery Procedure (another one of the P’s!)
    5. Training
  3. For all website projects you will also need to have a Marketing Plan in place, what is the point in having an awesome product or service that nobody knows about after all? Here are some of the options for your plan:
    1. Social Media Plan
    2. Physical Marketing and Events
    3. Traditional Marketing
    4. Email Marketing
    5. Public Relations
    6. Content Planning

Processes and Procedures

Okay so we have two of the three P’s lumped together but they do go hand in hand.

  1. For new projects the key is to work with your chosen digital team to find the processes and procedures that will apply to your company’s specific needs. There are broad p and p’s that will apply to all projects but these may needed adjusted or added to in order to fully fit the needs of your company and the purpose of your website – especially if it requires bespoke development. By having processes and procedures in place it will be easier for you to understand the phases the digital team need to go through in order to complete you project.
  2. For completed and existing projects having a Maintenance Plan is essential, for protecting against systems failure. Your company should have the following processes and procedures in place:
    1. Website Back-Up and Update procedure, we recommend that you back up your website at least on a monthly basis, and whenever you intend to make extensive changes. A very simple process would be -> Login, Back-Up, Check for Updates, Check the Updates have not broken the website, Back-Up and add a repeat event to your calendar to make sure you do.
    2. Security Procedure – ensure you are taking the correct measures to keep your website secure including SSL renewal, Password Changes, Access Privileges (Pam the summer temp from 2012 probably doesn’t still need access to your content)
    3. Disaster Recovery this is an important one and is applicable to not only your website but other systems you may use (as both TSB and 123.reg show us) this should look at
      1. IT Services – which services are supported by which systems? what are the risks?
      2. Which external suppliers do you need to contact in the event of an outage?
      3. Location where will you work from if you are unable to access your usual business premises
      4. Test your processes and procedures
    4. Training – Ensure people know about the processes and procedures and how to implement them!
  3. For marketing it just makes life simpler to have processes and procedures in place to implement your plan
    1. Working through a content planning process can help you to deal with most methods of marketing in an organised manner, if you check out some of our earlier blogs – there are some great ideas in there to get you started.

We hope this gives you a little insight into some of the things we are always “moaning on about” – I nearly lost some spritzer on Friday night when I heard about the lack of the Three P’s that TSB/Sabadell had in place for this project, and Roo’s words were “Schoolboy Error” – give us a shout if you want to talk to us about our monthly back-up and security packages or need some help sorting out anything mentioned above!



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