How did we help one client out of a technical tight spot?

The challenge

This Fortune 250 diversified financials group had just agreed a price to sell part of its business. However, the handover of this bundle of digital products and assets in the Pensions and Benefits market was subject to specific contractual obligations from the buyer. One of which was to migrate multiple Microsoft Azure DevOps projects from the seller’s subscription to that of the buyer.

So far, so good. Until it transpired that the client had waited a little too long to transfer the Azure projects itself. It turned out that it had just two weeks to make the migration before facing contractual penalties. That’s when the client reached out to Emergn and asked us to come to the rescue.

With no prior knowledge of the client’s Azure DevOps projects involved in the transfer, this was not a straightforward challenge. Our experts identified three questions in particular that needed answering to get the migration completed in time:

  1. How to uncover information that would be key to the success of the transfer such as the size of repositories, size of files, and the content of those files?
  2. How to migrate all the Work Items associated with the Projects, as well as all the dependencies associated?
  3. How to migrate all the CI/CD Pipelines and the Test Plans that the Projects have?

Answering these questions (and enabling the Emergn team to successfully complete the task at hand) required input from both sides. There had to be consensus between both the seller’s and the buyer’s teams on what the current-to-future state should look like. 


The client engaged Emergn on the basis that our VFQ (Value, Flow, Quality) approach could deliver value early and often. So our first step was to collaborate closely with the seller and the buyer to assess the situation and uncover what “great” would look like.

With a clear picture of the current and future states, our DevOps experts followed an experimental approach to breaking down the work and initiating a proof of concept (PoC).  

The PoC was used to validate initial assumptions on both sides and to test the suitability of the overall technical approach. After gathering fast feedback and making a few adjustments, we started the migration using Azure DevOps Migration and git-tfs tooling.  

By applying previous project understanding and technical expertise, in very little time we were able to successfully complete a complex series of tasks. These not only included migrating work items, test plans and suites, teams, shared queries and pipelines executing simple commands. But also shifting from one platform (TFS) to a completely new one (Git). 

When we asked Emergn to help us out of this tight spot, we knew they were the right people to get the job done.

Head of Delivery

Our impact

The whole process – from initial call to final delivery – was completed in just two calendar weeks. In that time, four Emergn experts conducted all stakeholder interviews, aligned expectations, and assessed technical requirements. They also delivered outcomes that meant the buyer could self-reliantly continue to operate the financial assets they had been sold.  

The initial requirement was to extract necessary projects and duplicate repositories from TFS to TFS. Through our consultative approach though, we were able to advise on a route that was better aligned with the buyer’s vision for its Azure DevOps projects. With its preference for establishing an end-to-end and scalable platform, we recommended converting from TFS to Git. 

Changing the way an organization works in this way can seem like a daunting task. Especially when the pre-existing approach had been working for many years. However, switching to Git had several key benefits (including running data pipelines more efficiently). The fact that our experts were able to introduce this early on in the conversation gave the buyer an option for better ways of working and added value to the transfer process.  

Despite the legal and contractual pressures on this deal-breaking project, it was crucial that the handover was conducted not only quickly but also compliantly. By following the principles of VFQ that enabled the close collaboration, ongoing fine-tuning, and effective delivery, both parties were able to get what they expected from the sale. In just a two-week window of opportunity. 

2 weeks

The whole process – from initial call to final delivery

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