SharePoint Migration Notes from the Field "Discovery"

Discussion in the last Blog Post was all about "Rationalization" and in this post I wanted to move onto what I call the next step.

"Discovery" or if you want to take a less technical and esoteric approach the "Applying to Rules of Migration and Guidelines so I can Analyze only what I have to". Sometimes we confuse Discovery and Analysis and I believe these terms can be interchanged as long as we understand what needs to be accomplished in this phase.

This is where the rubber meets the road. I often meet with customers who haven't done enough “Discovery” or have spent a large amount of time looking at Sites, Lists, Libraries and/or Content that will not be migrated. If we apply the rules from "Rationalization" then we will spend the time with the deep level of analysis and discovery about your environment.

So we have gathered all of the rules, guidelines, business drivers and understanding of how the organization does business and how they use SharePoint today (or alternate Collaboration Platform).

We have gathered our guidelines, we have (I cross my fingers here) determined where all of the current SharePoint and/or other Collaboration environments exist.

"Note", this tends to be the time that we will setting forth the goals for our migration including decision points that need to be documented and signed off on. If you have decided not to move or to recommend the deletion of Sites or Content the recommendation for Executive Sponsorship is strongly encouraged.

Success in this area and your migration is really going to be dependent on the depth or understanding that the organization has of SharePoint 2010 and its capabilities.

Having the rules and guidelines will allow you to effectively discover and mitigate so that the migration can be accomplished in time, on budget and ensure that all of the data and applications are migrated.

“Note”, this is a great time to start capturing this data in SharePoint as a Project Plan and Deliverables schedule.

  1. Data Retention
  1. Apply the policy, guidelines and regulations that you defined.
  1. This is the first step and will help you reduce any further analysis.
  2. Whatever is determined to be outside of those guidelines can be marked for archiving or deletion depending on your rules.
  3. Deletion or Reduction of unused or abandoned Sites should be engaged as a separate workflow.
  • Version History
  1. Only moving those versions that are required will reduce your migration window.
  2. This is often determined on a Site by Site or List by List basis.
  3. Enabling the policy in the Target environment will allow for the policy to become part of the daily process.
  • Branding and/or Look and Feel
  1. If you have determined that you will support customization?
  1. What can be migrated and what needs to be re-created?
  2. Does the Target environment have native functionality that can be used?
  • Timeline’s for Migration will increase if a determination has been made to support customization.
  • A part of the project can be enabled to create and or publish these customizations and enabled as part of the migration.
  • Refer to your Best Practices and Decision Points as part of this detailed analysis.
  • What is the Target
  1. When looking at the Target as part of the Discovery which features are needed to manage the migration and which features need to be moved to a future project.
  2. This is one of those times where less is more and enabling new functionality should be approached with care.
  3. Map your Features
  1. Map the functionality from Version to Version to make the decision point easier to use.
  2. Down version is risky and will add issues and time to the migration. This is not typically defined as part of the migration but as a procurement process.
  • Working within the environment that exists
  1. To schedule as part of your discovery what is the migration window?
  1. Will you have to split large sites?
  2. Will you need to split Content Databases and Site Collections do to the size requirements.
  • With the Index and Backup Windows how will this affect your migration window
  1. A strong recommendation to not migrate data to the Target during its backup window.

Every part of the Discovery and documentation has not been covered, but start thinking about how I document this and what it does to the schedule for your plan which is where this will all end up in the next phase.

We are still continuing to answer the questions we asked earlier;

How will what you found affect the schedule for migration?

What new work streams need to be engaged?

What portion of discovery need to be addressed by committee and which ones will need to be handled by the Executive Sponsor.

In the next entry I will be discussing putting together the "Project Plan" for moving the migration forward.