Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

This week I was starting the work for my second Office 365 migration, this is for a far smaller company and we’re doing the service free of charge. This provides a great opportunity for me to take a bit more of a lead with my experience from the last migration.

I’ve learnt that IT requires a lot of planning so that was the first step, come up with a project plan. I used the one David had written for the last migration as a starting point and got to work. Now I had a rough idea of what I was doing I started to take action, using PowerShell to gather information about all the resources on our client’s server. This was a simple task but it made me notice a lot of problems in the way I was working. First of all, inefficiency. This was due to my lack of knowledge about PowerShell so I started to find ways to combat this but this just brought more problems. The amount of time I was spending to make the process fully efficient was delaying the project so I went back to my original method and will hopefully be able to improve on it at a later date once my knowledge has improved.  Finally, the biggest problem and the one I wasn’t able to identify myself, documentation. How was I going to remember all these commands in the future? How are any future apprentices going to know how to do this task? Writing a guide solved the problem and it didn’t take long either as this was aimed at a more technical person rather than a user.

This was a small business so the migration was going to be very different from the last, we were going to do most things manually rather than use Microsoft’s tools. This included creating the mailboxes in Office 365, I originally went to do this through the UI but David suggested that I use PowerShell instead. It was a good suggestion, I had a script ready in no time and the best part is that I can use it again in the future. We also had to get a list of DNS records sent off as soon as possible. This was the first of many occasions this week where I really started to see the benefit of the work I had done in the past, all I had to do was slightly modify the sheet and send the email rather than create it from scratch. It’s quite funny actually as I remember thinking that documentation wasn’t a great use of my time because it stopped me from progressing to the next task. Now I think the complete opposite and it’s motivated me to create more material for myself and other future apprentices.

So, document your work, make it so you can use it again and again and maybe don’t delete that script you think is only useful for this one unique occasion. It might feel like a pain at the time but I’ve always been grateful for it in the future.