I recently came across the video below, which shows how Indiana Bell physically moved their 8-storey, 11,000 ton central office building, while still providing access to employees and customers, and without any interruptions to phone service. I’m tempted to say something about how modern technology is amazing, except that this happened in 1929!
You can get a lot more details by watching the video, but the short version is this. Over the space of about 3 weeks, Indiana Bell rotated the building through 90 degrees, moving it to the back corner of their lot. To quote the video, “Not only was the building relocated, but the move caused no service outages, and all 600 workers within the building still reported to work every day.”
The only issue for the workers was that you could no longer get the elevator to the basement, because it wasn’t there any more!
Lessons we can apply to our migration projects
I mostly wanted to share this story with you because it’s amazing, but as it happens there are also a couple of lessons we can learn, and apply to future migration projects we might work on.
First, take it slow! The building was moved at a rate of 15 inches per hour, so slowly that the workers inside didn’t notice the movement. When we migrate service, it’s tempting to do a flash cut, to get it over quickly, but it’s much more pleasant for everyone if you take it slow. Move one trunk at a time, a small number of subscribers at a time. Slow and steady will get you to the finish line safely.
Equally importantly, don’t stop! While the workers moved the building slowly, they were also persistent. As a result, even the slow-and-steady migration took less than a month from start to finish. All too often switch migration projects get stalled part-way through – and what should have taken a few months ends up taking years!
If you’re part-way through a migration, and need a little help, let me know, and we’ll see if we can help you get past that finish line.