How to Create a SharePoint Migration Project Plan

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Microsoft SharePoint is known for being one of the best collaboration softwares. The software is pegged as the most secure, reliable, scalable ,and efficient program in the business world.

Microsoft wants SharePoint to give users a ‘modern experience’ that’s ultra user-friendly – and the most recent version, SharePoint 2019, does not fail to deliver.

The benefits of SharePoint are endless, but migrating to SharePoint can be tricky. To help users, we put together a SharePoint Migration Plan Template to make the move easy.

How to Create a SharePoint Migration Project Plan

1. Identify your business challenges

Sharepoint online / Office 365 has additional features that could fill the gaps in your business.

Before moving forward, it’s important to identify the business issues that can be solved by a SharePoint migration, and how moving to a SharePoint environment can improve your business overall.

Common reasons for a SharePoint migration include:

  • Advanced security features
  • Better support
  • More storage capacity
  • Customizable features
  • Zero maintenance
  • Rolling releases with new features

Whatever the reason, your SharePoint migration plan needs to be aligned with your business goals.

2. Consider your future strategy

When considering SharePoint migration, it’s important to think about your overall business direction, and how your business is currently operating. With this in mind, consider the changes in workflow automation, project management plans, project management platforms, and organizational structure changes that may affect information flow.

There are some critical questions to answer in your SharePoint migration project plan:

  • What will the size of your databases be in the future?
  • What level of scalability will be needed for your environment?
  • What is the projected user growth?

Be proactive by asking your team members these questions so you can get a full picture of your business environment.

This will also help you identify custom solutions that you may need.

3. Put together a migration team

You can save time and money by hiring a specialist or a migration manager to oversee the migration process, as expert hands are needed on deck for a smooth and successful move.

SharePoint migration processes need teams for:

  • Strategy
  • System auditing
  • Information architecture redesign
  • Documentation
  • Testing

Apart from getting a specialist on board, find internal tech experts that can assist in every step.

4. Create a communication strategy

Before implementation, you will need to have a communication strategy in your SharePoint Migration plan document. Every member of your migration team needs to understand their role in the process and be well versed with the pre-migration and post-migration plan.

In order to increase efficiency, there should be clear deadlines for each department.

Interested in learning more? Check out these blogs on SharePoint:

5. Assess your existing data environment

In preparation for migration, it’s crucial to evaluate the inventory in your existing environment.  This analysis will make it easier to plan the migration and create definitive timelines for completion.

Your SharePoint migration project plan template should give you a broader perspective regarding your current environment, and should include:

  • Site collections and sites
  • Lists and libraries
  • Branding
  • Pages
  • Custom solutions
  • Retention policies
  • UI customizations and file share
  • Permissions, users, and groups
  • Content types and site columns

After assessing your inventory, you should have a better idea of what you don’t need in your environment as well.

Similar to performing a “spring cleaning”, take a look at the things that you don’t need in your inventory and remove them. This could include:

  • Orphaned users
  • Unused content and workflows
  • Duplicate content

To ensure that the process is both easy and efficient, you can export your SharePoint information using a tool called PowerShell.

In addition, you can also export any list to an excel spreadsheet to provide a big picture view of what you’re looking to accomplish.

6. Restructure your existing information architecture

After looking at your inventory, you may discover that some areas are highly disorganized. To make the migration as smooth as possible, it can be helpful to clean up your environment.

At this time, you might need to restructure your content types, web parts, templates, and SharePoint farm topology. This could include:

  • Adjusting permissions
  • Breaking down large site collections
  • Organizing lists
  • Organizing libraries

7. Prepare your destination environments

At the end of the day, the end user experience is most crucial, and preparing the destination environment will create a positive experience for all teams.

When prepping your new home, look at:

  • Optimizing server performance
  • Configuring web applications
  • Creating backups
  • Testing the restore
  • Mapping out a metadata pan for your content
  • Running a test migration

8. Implement your change management strategy

One of the challenges with every deployment process is the fear of change – change management in migration strategies helps streamline the process. Having a centralized change management team, or change leaders in all your teams, can ready your employees for the upcoming adjustments in their existing data environment. These may include:

  • Downtimes
  • URL changes
  • Bookmarks and document reference changes
  • The timelines for the migration project

9. Execute the move in waves

It can be helpful to migrate in phases as you build content maps – this ensures that every team understands the transformation of content as it moves from your old system to the new.

The process of migrating one workload at a time is not only more manageable – it ultimately reduces the overwhelming enormity of the whole process.

The changeover process in a SharePoint migration plan example entails:

  • Stopping the workflows that are about to be migrated
  • Setting your previous database to read-only
  • Backing up all of  your content before you begin the move to SharePoint Online
  • Performing a database attach-upgrade when migrating from SharePoint 2013
  • Using the SharePoint migration tool in scanning, packaging, uploading, and importing your files
  • Configuring user profiles

10. Post-migration testing and back up

After migration, testing is essential to make sure everything is running correctly.

In order to accomplish this, a testing plan is often required, and specialists can be extremely helpful. The goal is to ensure that all features, including customizations and third-party apps, are working as expected. A testing plan will also:

  • Test permissions and workflows
  • Ensure that data has been migrated accurately and completely
  • Verify query performance
  • Verify search results and the time each search takes
  • Test the UI and user experience
  • Create a backup of your new system
  • Run a full crawl

In summary

A SharePoint migration process is extremely complex and time consuming – if there is any uncertainty at any point in the process, it’s best to consult or outsource your migration.

Our experts provide dedicated cloud migration services and they can help to achieve a successful SharePoint migration to solve your current environmental constraints, including performance, security, and compliance. To learn more, contact Buchanan today.

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