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Guest Blog:Windows 7 Enterprise Migration—Traps in the Early Stages

by Naran McClung. Naran is currently working at Direct Line group (formally RBS insurance), and has over 12 years experience leading large scale desktop migration programmes.

Five places to look when your Windows 7 enterprise migration is moving too slowly

Having spent the past 12 years playing in the Windows client migration space, I've seen and at times felt the pain associated with a poorly structured or managed programme. The following areas are my take on what I'll coin 'traps for early stages'; i.e. if a programme is busted or moving too slow, it may well have something to do with one or more of the following:

Executive sponsorship

You don't want a lame duck president! Your exec sponsor needs to be active, not just a name on an org chart. They have to a) really want the Windows 7 migration project to succeed, b) be prepared to direct their reports to suit programmes objectives, c) have sufficient influence over your entire target landscape, and d) sign up to escalation duties as required.

Develop, socialise and agree Terms of Reference (TOR) as fast as possible

Is your vision clear? Are the troops behind you? What are the 'key decisions' that will influence your desktop migration programme the most? For example; major scope items, strategic direction, preferences?

Sounds obvious, but failure to define and ratify your programme direction will cause no end of problems down the line as you gear for Windows 7 readiness. This work is subjective at best, so lead from the front and don't deviate unless there's a really good reason to. Your terms of reference should be written in stone, heavy enough to hit people with if needed.

Windows 7 Logo


It's not a question of IF, but WHEN. No-one ever starts out planning to be 'application led', i.e. where application effort sets the pace of the programme.

Invest upfront, and disproportionally. Find 'em, analyse 'em, associate 'em, seek out owners and key contacts, and virtualise as many as possible. Folk will be tempted to rationalise or maybe even upgrade where possible, just be sure not to allow this to affect your timeline; know and communicate your levels of tolerance here.

Consumer technology trends

Why can't we just deploy iPads to everyone? Why indeed. This is a tricky one, as often those holding the purse strings or maybe even your downstream exec sponsors will have strong opinions here. Measure the risk to your desktop transformation programme's primary objects and timeline, and embrace it where possible. There's some really cool stuff possible with virtualisation today, so with any luck you can appease the gadget freaks in a way that's complementary to your existing strategy. You'll be surprised what a VDI session on an exec's iPAD will do for your programme's momentum!

Deployment Management

Who gets what when and why? Know your Windows 7 deployment landscape, and know it early. Will the deployment plan be defined by application readiness, risk, politics, location, business unit? Maybe all of the above. Invest upfront, and set this work stream in motion as early as possible. Have a clear understanding of those characteristics that will influence the development of a logical 'deployment unit'. There are great tools on the market that can help alleviate the pain here, so use 'em!

Have a question for Naran? Want to highlight any other traps for early stage projects? Share your thoughts!