HMRC: Delivering a greenfield system for post-Brexit logistics

The background

The UK’s withdrawal from the EU meant that the current import/export controls at the UK ports required a complete overhaul by 1st January 2021, the Brexit transition date. Before this, trade with the EU passed through UK borders frictionlessly. Post transition, a whole new raft of checks, security, and processes needed to be in place. This required a greenfield system build for a new logistics system (Goods Vehicle Movement System) to manage all UK ports and border trade with the EU after the Brexit transition date. There was a need to process the high load demand effortlessly, ensuring a frictionless border and movement of trade for all four core users of the system: hauliers, shipping, ports, and traders.

Our solution

Team mobilisation and the kick-off of Sprint 0 was in March 2020 and the first release needed to be delivered within eight months. With Covid-19 engulfing the globe and the UK entering the first of our national lockdowns, the HMRC and Tecknuovo team faced the additional challenges of all working practices being fully remote from day one and an immovable Brexit deadline.

Together we worked to:

  • Bring in the right team – Working in close partnership with HMRC in a multi-supplier environment, Tecknuovo assessed the requirements and remotely mobilised a multi-disciplinary team of 40 engineers to start work the day after the SOW was signed.
  • Process high volumes of complex data – We worked to build a system that could receive input messages, create, populate, and update the Goods Movement Reference, and send on responses. It needed to be able to read and validate data from other inbuilt systems used by HMRC and notify these on the embarking or arrival of the goods.
  • Deliver with an Agile approach – The Tecknuovo team worked in partnership with HMRC to assess and recommend improved delivery methods to facilitate Agile working, enabling a fast and effective delivery. The one-team approach included the embedding of stand-ups, burndowns, retrospectives, mob programming, and live specs ensured the close working relationship between HMRC and the suppliers, improving the results for all delivery partners.
  • An evolving brief – During the project, HMRC asked for an additional Hypercare requirement to cover the post-go-live period. The Tecknuovo team engaged, progressed through security clearance, and onboarded the teams onto the complex system within a month of receiving the requirement. This ensured 24/7 cover over the critical go-live period to ensure zero disruption to the service. The unpredictable nature of the requirements meant that HMRC benefitted from the flexible Tecknuovo engagement model. Incident levels remained low throughout the project enabling HMRC to agree a cost-saving move away from the full team round-the-clock cover, to a two-tiered on-call programme.

Our results:

We achieved a frictionless move from the old to the new system without any cross-border disruption. With the effects of Covid-19 being felt across the globe and public fears about food and vaccine supply chains, it was a crucial time to protect UK businesses and trade routes.

Through the partnership, HMRC, the Tecknuovo team and other partners successfully delivered the planned features within the tight timeframe and on budget. The team fully embedded into the multi-supplier environment. A full roll-out of the system was implemented ahead of January 1st, 2021. Based on the performance of the new system and levels of demand, the team were able to ramp down the Hypercare 24/7 support six weeks earlier than expected, resulting in savings for HMRC.

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