Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Revenge of the Mail Migration from Hell

Learning about failure from the infamous Elon Musk and SpaceX.
SpaceX did not land all 3 rockets cleanly the other day and have numerous tests that failed along the way. They have even been compiled in one video. Even the great ones fail, that is how they get better.

Once in a while it is nice to write myself, and my readers, the finer point of failures and what we learned from them.

Keep in mind:
  • we are all professionals
  • we all reviewed the contract
  • we all reviewed the specifications
  • we thought we knew the people involved
  • we had more than enough time to complete this by 12/31...2017
So in the interest of open, honest reporting, let's drop into hell, shall we?

Never get into a mail migration(ok, any serious project) that involves a 3rd party.
If you can't handle it all on your own, get a friend, a resource, someone on your side to handle whatever part you do not know. This alone may save you 1-2 hours A DAY on average during the project.

Date, or No Date, there is no wait and see
If you propose some dates for the cut over and the client is not comfortable with them, you better find out why upfront. And not just the easy reasons but the hard ones, like the training person isn't available for 6 months or the boss is on sabbatical for 2 months or no one explained that they would be giving out new hardware at the same time to people (phones and PCs) or well you get the idea.

Vacations Happen
Mine, yours, theirs and of course once the dates are in motion you look bad for taking vacation at the time they finally want to move everything. Which leads to...

Backups
Not data, that is easy. People. Techs. How many of us out there really have a good backup person in our organizations or that we can work with on minimal notice with enough knowledge of the solution and process at hand? I may be a better troubleshooter and am not talking about that aspect, but I am referring to the ability to holistically look at a solution in motion and keep it going while I/you are unavailable. This is one reason is document everything along the way and store it in Connections or a Notes db or Dropbox so if I can't be there to do it, someone can easily pick it up and run with it.

Caveat Emptor
Migrations of anything come with caveats. Data should be ok, folders, encrypt ions, repeating meetings, large attachments(like over 1GB) and numerous other items should be addressed and explained upfront to the customer.No, it will not prevent that horrible meeting where they claim you never told them, explained them or sent it to them, but you can try. Most clients really do not understand many aspects of the projects and even when explained in non technical terms they just say yes, yes and we all know the end will come back and we will explain it all over again.You are shaking your  head at this one or laughing because it happens nearly every time.

Leap Frog
Planned it all out, everyone agreed to the order in which the data will migrate and which date. Along comes someone and demands to get moved or needs it done before their vacation or just can't wait to be the first guinea pig on the new thing they did not get trained on yet because they hate the old thing.

It happens, in 30 years or so of projects this happens maybe once a year or 2. Acceptable, but frustrating too.

Karma however wins every time.

Next project was quick and easy, unexpectedly.

So here's to all of you far under water on a contract and know when it is done you will at least have good stories to tell your (IT) friends.