BEST WM Show S2E9 Migration Execution

“Master these 3 important steps for a flawless migration execution” Uncover the expert advice on this episode of Appfire Presents: The BEST Work Management Show by Appfire. Jira expert Rachel Wright joins Emily Peet-Lukes to discuss the importance of how getting these three migration steps right will ensure a smooth and successful migration.

About the guest

Rachel Wright is an entrepreneur, process engineer, and Atlassian Certified Jira Administrator. She wrote “The Jira Strategy Admin Workbook,” and “The Ultimate Guide to Jira Migrations: How to Migrate from Jira Server to Data Center or Cloud”. She’s also a speaker, an Atlassian Community Leader and author of courses for new and advanced Jira admins and users. She started using Jira and Confluence in 2011, became an administrator in 2013, and was certified in 2016 (the first year you could actually get certified). She’s the owner and founder of Industry Templates, LLC, which helps companies grow, get organized, and develop their processes.

About the show

The BEST Work Management Show by Appfire features smart leaders sharing their secrets for optimizing business processes and increasing productivity. Get the goods on how they handle everything from setting up workflows to automating processes. Every episode is 10 minutes or less, packed with insights you can use right away to supercharge your team’s productivity.

For your convenience, here is the transcript of this episode:

Master these 3 important steps for a flawless migration execution

Emily:  Today I’ll be joined by Jira rockstar Rachel Wright to talk about the three steps you’ll want to make sure you’re doing right to execute your migration successfully. Stick around, you won’t want to miss out on Rachel’s expert advice.

Hey, Rachel.

Rachel:  Hi. It’s great to be here.

Emily:  It’s great to have you with us. Thanks for joining us today. Last time we talked, we went over the importance of planning and preparing migrations. Today, we’re going to focus on executing migrations, specifically three very important steps. 

Before we start talking about the process, let’s do a quick refresher on the planning and preparation stage of migrations. Can you tell us what some of the key indicators are that you are ready to move out of the planning and prep stage and into executing the migration?

Rachel:  Sure. It all kind of comes down to one huge thing. Did the test work as you expected? Is the data there that you’re looking for? Are the users there? Is your favorite dashboard and your favorite board accessible? Was the data handled correctly? 

It’s so important to get this perfect in the test environment. Don’t move on to production until it is exactly the way you need it to be.

Emily:  Right. Use that planning and prep testing stage to get it exactly where you want it.

Rachel:  Exactly.

Emily:  Great. That’s awesome. I feel like when people have that all covered, they’re going to feel good about moving to the next stage. That being said, we’re ready to migrate. What’s the first important step that we should talk about?

Rachel:  For me, it’s knowing your data and your configuration. What I mean is how do you know if your production migration was successful? Hopefully, you have a list of test cases that you wrote during the preparation stage and you’re looking for certain indicators. Are all the user objects there? Can my team go find their favorite dashboard or board? Is the data that we expected there and looking correct? 

Without knowing your data, if you just kind of wing this and try it on a weekend while you’re watching your kid’s soccer practice, that’s not going to be a successful migration. Don’t wing it. Take the time you need to do it right. Really understand the configuration so you know what to expect in production.

Emily:  That makes sense. If you know the ins and outs, then you’ll know what to catch, you’ll know what to look for, all of that. Can you let us know what the second important step is?

Rachel:  I always like to focus on security and permissions. So many times people have access to data they shouldn’t, or vice versa, they should have access to some data, but now they don’t. It’s really important to test that the permissions came over properly.

One thing that I like to do is create a test user of every kind, a test admin user, a test regular user, a test power user, a test read only user. Whatever you use in your regular environment, login as that person and make sure that they can see what is expected. 

That’s something you should work out in your preparation, too. Have those test cases of things that you’re looking for, have those users ready to go. Hopefully, it should be a quick smoke test. Once you get into production, you shouldn’t have to test every little thing.

Emily:  Right. Testing before and after or during, having several testing stages is important? 

Rachel:  Absolutely. Hopefully, the final test is a subset of all the large testing you did in your sandbox.

Emily:  That sounds incredibly important. It sounds like something you definitely don’t want to cut corners on. Last but not least, what is step number three?

Rachel:  Make sure that your user mapping works properly. Groups, users, all of that stuff is impossible to correct later once you’ve moved production. Really spend some time to make sure that information is perfect. 

There are bulk change tools that you can use to change data, but there’s really no tool to change user profiles or to reassociate change history with a certain user, so don’t wait on that stuff, make sure it’s perfect before you go. The last thing you want to do is migrate and then have your users not able to do anything, or maybe their objects are missing or they login for the first time and there’s no data there for them. That’s important to get right.

Emily:  Is there any specific advice around user mapping that you would offer to anyone?

Rachel:  One good thing is if you’re moving from Server or Data Center to Cloud, the format has changed. The username is now the email address. Don’t forget to prepare your users for these kinds of changes, or you’re going to have 500 calls asking, “How do I login?” Be ready for that. 

Be ready to assist users who have trouble logging in. No matter how good you are, there’s still the “I can’t login” problem. No matter how technical the team is or not, you’ll never get rid of those. Do some training beforehand so the users can expect that, and then hopefully as the administrator you’re answering more useful questions about the migration, not how to change a password.

Emily:  Exactly. People do tend to really freeze up when they see any significant change, even if it’s just interface or something. It’s good to get all that baseline stuff out of the way, like you said, to make way for real troubleshooting. 

To sum it all up, the three most important steps to focus on are knowing your data, maintaining permissions and security, and user mapping. Are there any final words of advice for those who are embarking on the migration process?

Rachel:  I would say take as much time as you can preloading everything in the testing phase and the planning phase. The more you do beforehand, the more you verify beforehand, the more successful your production migration is likely to be. We all know that even under the best circumstances, sometimes what we launch into production doesn’t function exactly the way it did in the test environment. Be prepared for that. Be ready. 

Don’t start your migration execution at 6:00 PM on a Sunday. Leave plenty of extra time to be available just in case things go differently, or you have to roll back, or there are some unexpected consequences.

Emily:  It’s definitely not always a straight line. Sometimes there are some hills you have to climb and get over to get it all done right, so leaving ample time is great advice. Rachel, thank you so much for your expert guidance, as always. 

If you’re listening and you’re interested in learning more, check out our brand new guide, Your Expert Guide to Executing a Flawless Migration, written by Rachel Wright, and even more valuable information to help you migrate like a pro. 

This has been another episode of Appfire Presents: The Best Work Management Show by Appfire. Thanks for watching. We’ll see you next time.

Last updated: 2023-06-05

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