How to Manage Upgrade Tasks

Last updated 4 minutes ago

"Software is a great combination between artistry and engineering"...

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  • Familiarize yourself with a possible timeline and the phases for an upgrade
  • Be aware of risks and challenges to be optimally prepared

Person reading a bookPrerequisites

  • Basic project management knowledge

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5 minutes

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This guide is for Developers, Administrators \ Project Managers.

Introduction

Bill Gates once said: "Software is a great combination between artistry and engineering.” While this is known to be true, even the best software in the world needs upgrading. And to do so, good project managers see the complete picture and keep in mind what their team members need from them.

In each software upgrade process, there are different phases involved. All these phases play a crucial role in ensuring a smooth transition from the old to the new version while minimizing disruptions to your workflow.

Business Aspects

This timeline is a general guideline and may need to be adjusted based on the specific circumstances of the CoreMedia Content Cloud buildout. It is important to allow flexibility for unforeseen challenges and to ensure thorough testing at each stage.

1. Phases & General Tasks During the Upgrade Process

Now, we will have a look at each phase and the (most common) tasks during each phase.

Preparation Phase

  • Task 1: Define the scope and objectives of the upgrade.

  • Task 2: Communicate with stakeholders to gather requirements and set expectations.

Initiation Phase

  • Task 1: Assemble the project team and assign roles.

  • Task 2: Develop a detailed project plan, including timelines and resources needed.

  • Task 3: Set up the workstream* and sandboxes.

*Term Definition - "Workstream": In this context, the workstream is a combination of several things. In most cases, it is a dedicated branch in the code repository, which is then typically pulled with a dedicated pipeline from the CI to typically deploy to a dedicated environment (sandbox). You see, it often says "typically". Because it also works without it. But ideally, you isolate the work from the "everyday business". That’s why we chose the term workstream to summarize Git repo, CI pipeline, environment instance and whatever else is necessary. Some customers even build virtual machines for the developers to deploy. Or some developers set up IDE instances specifically for this purpose.

Code-Migration Phase

  • Tasks 1-5: Merge codebase; Successful build for frontend and backend; Migrate extensions/ customizations; upgrade external APIs

  • Task 6: Prepare deployment.

  • Tasks 7-9: Bug-fixing, documentation, and training.

Testing Phase

  • Tasks 1-2: Perform developer testing to ensure individual components work correctly.

  • Task 3: Execute user acceptance testing (UAT) with a select end-user group.

  • Task 4: Obtain go-live approval.

Rollout Phase

  • Task 1: Create and communicate the cut-over/go-live plan (including the rollback scenario).

  • Task 2: Execute go-live.

  • Task 3: Communicate go-live.

Post-Rollout

  • Task 1: Monitor system performance and user feedback.

  • Tasks 2-3: Conduct a post-implementation review and document lessons learned.

2. Managing Risks

Proactive risk management is key throughout the entire upgrade process!

. Risk Identification: Start by identifying potential risks that could impact the upgrade process. This includes technical issues, resource constraints, and external factors.

. Risk Analysis: Assess the likelihood and impact of each identified risk. This helps prioritize which risks need more attention and resources.

. Risk Mitigation Planning: Develop strategies to reduce the probability of risks occurring or to lessen their impact. This could involve contingency plans, alternative strategies, or preventive measures.

. Implementation of Controls: Put in place the necessary controls to manage the risks. This could include technical safeguards, process changes, or additional training for staff.

. Monitoring and Review: Continuously monitor the upgrade process to identify new risks and to ensure that the risk management strategies are effective. Adjust plans as necessary based on this ongoing review.

. Communication: Keep all stakeholders informed about potential risks and the measures taken to mitigate them. Transparency is key to managing expectations and ensuring collaborative risk management.

. Documentation: Keep detailed records of all risk management activities. This documentation can be invaluable for future upgrades and for understanding the risk landscape of the project.

3. Common Challenges

Being aware of the challenges can help to maneuver through the upgrade process as smoothly as possible.

. Legacy System Constraints: Older systems may be difficult to integrate with new software, leading to compatibility issues – consider this for all 3rd party applications connected with CoreMedia.

. User Training: Employees need to be trained on the new system, which can be time-consuming and relies on good documentation.

. Insufficient Testing: User Acceptance Testing is often cut short, and Performance Testing is skipped altogether. Which leads to unnecessary issues in production.

. Deployment and Downtime Management: Upgrades can result in system downtime (as it is normal for any CMS), affecting business operations. Schedule deployments accordingly.

. Budget Overruns: Unforeseen complications can lead to costs that exceed initial budget projections.

. Change Management: Resistance to change can hinder the adoption of new software and processes.

. Quality Assurance: Ensuring the new system meets quality standards requires extensive testing.

. Security Risks: New vulnerabilities may be introduced during the upgrade process.

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