Theoretically speaking, Wave Planning (also known as Windows Deployment and Ring Scoping) is an easy-to-understand concept: you divide your estate into different waves (or rings) and deploy them accordingly. For example, you might choose a careful approach and only put 5% of your IT team in a pilot 1 ring, and as soon as the new OS version is released, they will be the first ones migrated. Once that is complete, maybe you want to move the rest of your IT team and 5% of business unit end users (friendlies who volunteered) as part of a second pilot before going into a broader deployment.
This incremental approach allows you to find and fix potential issues early on. If done right, it also allows you to massively accelerate your migration as you can plan waves according to hardware and software compatibilities and other readiness tasks. But IT professionals and migration project managers struggle to translate the concept into reality. We often get asked: Based on my unique situation, how many users should I place in each ring? How do I ensure that my individual waves cover the different applications needed? And which readiness tasks do I need to complete to make progress?
Going forward, wave planning is going to be essential to keep pace with Windows 10 and 11 updates as well as other Evergreen IT upgrades that need to happen. But it can be hard to understand which device is most suitable for which wave when you look at thousands of machines with potentially thousands of application combinations.
Dashworks Wave Planning: Turning Confusion Into Confidence
We see a lot of projects that run late or stall completely because the wrong devices get picked for the earlier waves (e.g., those that need a lot of preparation), or because picking ring candidates becomes more of an emotional decision based on who is friendly within that business unit rather than what mix of hardware and software they have. Consequently, a lot of projects are slow to start as the IT team has to get even more readiness tasks checked off that otherwise would not have been necessary.
Meet Juriba Dashworks Wave Planning. This new feature was released in a beta version about six months ago and will be generally available with our November release. Wave Planning does two amazing things:
- It allows our customers to have more visibility into the planning cycle, including the ability to set certain parameters and run mathematical models to determine the best outcome for their situation, and
- It ensures that you have practical planning guidance based on those insights, e.g., that you put the right devices in the right rings to achieve maximum velocity for the project.
So let's take a quick glance at what this would look like. In the new Planning tab in your Dashworks Admin Dashboard, click first on "Ring Scoping Parameters". There, you can determine how many waves you would like to have in your project (e.g., 1. Preview, 2. Technical Pilot, 3. Business Pilot, 4. Targeted, 5. Broad, 6. Critical/VIP, and so on) and whether or not Dashworks is allowed to move devices into or out of any of your rings.
The new Wave Planning feature allows you to define how you want to manage your ring allocation by either combining device with application coverage or device with departmental coverage:
- By device coverage. You can do your wave planning by defining the minimum and the maximum number of devices that are allowed to be allocated into each ring. For example, it could look like this: "I have 5,321 devices in total. I want 50 devices in my preview, 250 in my technical pilot, 250 in my business user pilot, 76 in Critical/VIP, and the rest in broad deployment."
- By application coverage. Alternatively, you can also make decisions based on your application coverage in each ring. This requires you to divide your applications into categories (e.g., business critical, important, etc.) in Dashworks before you can say, for example, "I want 100% of my critical applications to be covered in the pilot wave, 50% of the important applications to be covered by the end of the technical pilot wave, and 100% of the important apps to be covered by the end of broad wave one."
- By departmental coverage. Last, but not least, you can also plan your waves by department. In this case, you could say, for example, "I want IT to be 20% complete in ring zero, 50% complete by the end of Phase 1, and 100% complete by the end of Phase 2. However, I will not start the finance department until wave 3, and the department will be equally distributed (33%) in waves three, four, and five."
Whether you decide to go the device/department route or the application coverage overlaid with your device information, your decision will really depend on your organization, on how you usually manage large IT Transformation projects, and on how tightly your application estate is managed. Traditionally, the application route wasn't an option, so IT managers had to go the department path, but you should consider your unique situation.
We recently helped a customer reduce their out-of-control application portfolio of 28,000 applications to just over 500 applications that are now re-packaged into modern application formats and tested on various platforms using our application packaging and testing automation solution, AppM. This environment is now very easy to manage and categorize, and rolling out a new Windows version to their 6,000 devices using Wave Planning can be done much faster using the application coverage approach as you can eliminate bottlenecks much faster.
Mathematically speaking, the application coverage approach is the faster way, but you might want to choose to reduce the risk by doing one department at a time (for example, IT first and finance last). Thankfully, with the new Wave Planning feature, you have the option to choose which methodology suits you better.
After you have decided whether you want to roll out your waves based on your device count, application coverage, or departments, you head over to the "Statistics" section of the planning tab. Here, you will find the visualized outcome of the parameters you just set. For example, it shows you graphically how many devices Dashworks put into each ring or how many critical applications are covered by each ring.
The table at the bottom shows you your actual coverage compared to your target coverage. In the example above, we can see that it might become problematic that we only cover 37% of our critical applications in the first two rings. This means you also get an instant overview of all the outcomes and their impact. In the above mentioned case, you will probably go back and move some things around to get more accurate target coverage.
The really cool thing is that Dashworks not only immediately shows you the mathematical results in a nice visual way, but once you are happy, you click "Redistrubute" and all the allocated devices get assigned to their waves. In other words, you have just completed the entire Wave Planning in a couple of minutes with an extremely high sense of confidence that you will reach the device, application, and department coverage you were looking for — saving you hundreds of hours compared to doing it manually where you would be constantly moving devices in and out of waves. You are now ready to move into the next phase and start triggering your automated T-minus-based emails, etc.