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Plan, direct and perform all major upgrades.

By "plan, direct and perform", I mean that I research the upgrade as described below, settle on a process that I believe will minimise staff disruption, and schedule and carry out the upgrade. I often have assistance from others, but I own the project from beginning to end.

Major upgrades I have carried out include:

When I perform a major upgrade, I do it very carefully.

This preparation shows me what, exactly, the upgrade process is, and what details must be handled before and after it. I document all this, to a fairly horrifying level of detail, so that I know exactly what I'm doing when I get to the Real Thing. A major upgrade can include hundreds of steps, when you factor in the small details that must be attended to along the way. Making a really detailed list helps me avoid inadvertently overlooking any of those small steps. It can also be used to delegate parts of the process to other staff. Sometimes the list comes in handy later, if some part of the upgrade must be performed again (for example, if the company acquires a new office).

This kind of preparation doesn't mean that it takes longer to perform the upgrade. Rather, I spend the time in advance preparation instead of problem-solving afterward. It's a lot easier on the users if we know about, and have prepared for, the problems that the upgrade is going to cause, than if they come as a surprise to us too.

A couple of examples, drawn from my GroupWise 4.1 to 5.5 upgrade:

I follow a similar preparation process for major hardware upgrades (servers).

Here is an example of a list of steps (Acrobat; 64 KB) from a major upgrade. It is, as I've mentioned, horrifyingly detailed, but it does convey a sense of the care with which I approach major upgrades.

See also my musings elsewhere on the subjects of cautious and well-planned upgrades.

Copyright © 2002 Lisa Nelson. Last Modified: 9 March 2002 Back to Top