Migration Planning – End Users = Titanic

In my latest Axceler blog post, I point out that SharePoint migrations are much like an iceberg: what you see on the surface is the technical aspect of the effort — the moving of bits between hardware. But under the surface is where the real work begins – the massive planning effort that really determines how and when your technical migration will take place, and whether the resulting SharePoint environment will, ultimately, be successful.

iceberg_endusersYou must decide where and when to involve your end users before you begin. This is the most fluid of your strategic considerations as you balance the risks, requirements, and realities of your migration. How you include your end users really just depends on:

  • who your users are (are they power users, or do they only consume content from pre-defined sites?),
  • what the current environment looks like (not just look and feel, but how is it being used? Is it out-of-the-box or do you use it for more complex business processes?), and
  • the overall goals of your migration (just move the content as-is, versus a complete transformation of content, taxonomy, and design?).

I expanded on this topic in a SharePointPro Connections article by suggesting that your end user strategy be incorporated into your development methodology, because end users who participate in the creation of a system are more likely to accept and support that system once deployed.

Some suggested strategies for involving your end users might include:

  • Setting up regular and consistent feedback mechanisms, such as surveys, user groups, online forums, and one-on-one sessions with key stakeholders.
  • Creating your current-state and future-state designs and documentation.
  • Creating use cases around your most common and critical business processes.
  • Prioritizing your future-state design by involving end users in your prototyping, test migrations, and project planning efforts.
  • Defining what success looks like, so you can properly scope your project and not end up in scope-creep limbo.

Would love to hear your experiences and suggestions on how to best utilize end users in your migration planning.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Servers and Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and CMO of revealit.io, a blockchain-based video technology company.