In this blog series, we’re getting under the skin of Data Center migration. In parts one and two, we covered the big benefits driving businesses to choose Data Center and how to get organised ahead of migrating, so it might make sense to read those first. Here, we’ll explore the importance of user acceptance testing (UAT) and why communication is key to meeting your migration milestones.
For an in-depth look at best practices for planning, preparing, and testing your way to migration success, download our free eBook Demystifying Atlassian Data Center migration.
During your migration to Data Center, never forget this one fundamental truth: your platform won’t be successful if it doesn’t work for the people who need to use it. That’s what user acceptance testing (UAT) is all about – your real-life users verifying that their needs are met and everything is fit for purpose before you begin the migration.
Unfortunately, this stage is often an afterthought, hastily tagged on to the end of the process, with little consideration for its importance. Be prepared: UAT will throw up bugs, and that’s OK – weeding these things before migration is the whole point.
UAT isn’t like other types of testing
If you read part two, you’re probably already well aware of the importance of testing as you go – checking that any action you take has been successful. But UAT is different. It’s not about what you think – it’s about what your users think. They know your system better than anyone; they know what should be where and how it needs to work for optimal workflow.
A clear UAT plan will allow all user-types the opportunity to try out the target platform and for their perspectives to be heard. Any issues can then be addressed in a timely fashion before migration, mitigating failure and avoiding any unnecessary loss of data, reputational damage, and associated costs.
Five UAT tactics for migration success
1. Early does it
First and foremost, include UAT testing in your plan from the start. Put someone in charge and involve them in the full migration process. Take note of any changes that will affect users, and get them involved prior to the testing phase to help iron out kinks.
2. Scope it out
Frankly speaking, there won’t be time or capacity to test everything, particularly very rare use cases. So make sure your UAT phase focuses on the most-critical functions according to your users.
3. Meet and greet
Finding out as much as you can about your users and their workflows will help immensely. Your UAT leads should consider a typical user’s routine, what tasks they perform every day, what apps they use and what for, and if they need any customisations.
4. A really good range
Because every user won’t be able to test the platform, you’ll need a broad cross-section to make the most of this stage. Ask users to perform regular everyday tasks in the migration staging environment – this should cover most use cases.
5. For every phase
If you’re taking a phased approach to migration, make sure you implement the same rigorous UAT process every time – that way the performance gains you get at the beginning of migration will still be there by the time you complete it.
People first, migration second
Sure, you know why and what you’re migrating, and you’ve become well-acquainted with the schedule. But what about your users? Clear communication might seem like a given, but there are lots of considerations to make sure everyone is fully informed – from your key stakeholders and testers to the project team and all your users. Of course everyone doesn't need to know everything, but keeping people in the loop as, when, and how they might be impacted is vital.
Here are some key communication dos and dont's to get you on the right track.
- Be clear: That way people can understand and digest what’s happening.
- Keep in touch: Set out a timeline and schedule consistent messages throughout the process.
- Make it obvious: Visual cues, like banner notifications, are a simple reminder of what’s changed.
- Be prepared: Draft rollback communications so you can get the word out quickly if you need to.
- Overshare: Segment your audience and only share what is useful and relevant to each group.
- Wing it: A clear communication plan is just as important as the migration plan itself.
- Frustrate your users: Direct users to a landing page to let them know about any downtime.
We’re here for UAT
UAT shouldn’t just be a box-ticking exercise – it’s a vital part of any migration. Knowing how to approach UAT, what strategy will work best, and communicating that plan effectively can be tricky. At Adaptavist, we’re highly experienced at running phased or Big Bang migrations for large organisations with complex instances. We put the users front and centre, making sure migration more than meets their needs and expectations.
Our expert team is here to help make your move as smooth as possible – from planning and running effective UAT to migration itself. To find out more about Atlassian Data Center migration, download our eBook or get in touch.