Step-by-step Guide to an Efficient Migration

These steps may help guide the migration process, ensure stakeholder buy-in, and get everyone onboard with the migration plan. 

  1. Establish Your Cross-Functional Representatives. Because of the many hands required to see a software migration project through, and its long timeframe and far-off ROI, you need a champion in your corner - from every corner of the business. Get one key representative from each business function relevant to the software that’s moving - be it production, sales, accounting, IT or another department. These people will help you gain continued support of the project as it continues without ROI yet and comes under budget threats during, say, a lean quarter. 

  2. Frame the Project for Stakeholders. Be it department heads, the C-suite, or the board of directors, lay out the plan and its essentialness to company longevity, attraction of new talent, and competitiveness in the marketplace. Set up what the project entails, what it isn’t, and lay out goalposts for each phase. Whenever it comes under review, you’ll have this initial framework you and stakeholders agreed upon.

  3. Build a Team of Internal Experts. Find technical experts within your organisation who can assist with each part of the migration, even if you’re ultimately using a third-party vendor or software for the migration. Put these people in charge of cleaning or writing programs to clean existing data, knowing where everything is stored, and understanding limitations of the platforms on each end of the migration. Depending on the size of your organisation, each member of this team may lead their own small team to handle their portion of the project.

  4. Take Inventory of Assets. There’s no way to judge a migration as successful if you’re not sure whether you lost any data along the way. In the case of data, some of your internal experts can check in on what is stored, making backups, and exporting to lightweight .CSV files or hard-copies (in the case of legal and other vital documentation). For software or applications, take inventory on each action and function possible with the software, how it interfaces with its databases, what it’s compatible with and what it isn’t, and the unique custom configurations it has that separate it from off-the-shelf software’s documentation.

  5. Create a Risk Assessment Report. Using the section above on challenges, determine all relevant risks to the migration, including opportunity costs and compliance issues. This will be vital for getting final approval from stakeholders, and insulate project runners from being blindsided later. 

  6. Determine Technical, Time, and Financial Requirements. Work with individuals in finance to work out long-term budget needs and rates of approval over the whole project. Work with IT, developers, and engineering to figure out the technical aspects and requirements, what method of migration is appropriate, and who will be forced into downtime at what stages of the project. Compile all of this to figure out realistic timing and checkpoints in the migration.

  7. Create Project Management System for All Parties. With the data you gathered in the previous step, and all the teams you’ve assembled (technical, cross-functional, and stakeholder teams), create a common project management hub where everyone can see progress, send messages, attach files and findings, and generally lend visibility into the process. It should be intuitive for all users. Set up the project management software with the budget and time expectations at each phase agreed upon. You can present this information to the stakeholders for final approval prior to project kickoff, and use it to submit regular reports to them as they request.

  8. Perform the Migration in Phases. Depending on the appropriate methods, perform the migration and document every step. Use the project management tool to keep everyone informed and gather documentation. Along the way, when some employees inevitably leave or get added to the team, you can use this tool to quickly get them up to speed.

  9. Test Cases After Each Phase. After each phase, test whatever you’ve migrated into the new environment, and document the outcomes. Regular testing and sandboxing will allow your team to catch problems early and regroup or change direction before data is lost and progress is wasted.

  10. Results. Once the migration is complete, record final results, and compare it to the goalposts set up and tracked in your project management tool. Combine all documentation and deliver a final report to stakeholders, and begin reaping the rewards of your newer, faster, better software, Jira instance system, cloud environment, or whatever else you migrated.