Looking to migrate Jira? It’s easy if you do it smart.

This blogpost was written by Stefaan Quackels from iDalko and Jacek Wizmur - Szymczak from Spartez.

Migrations are a well-known risk for all sorts of pitfalls - like downtime and crucial information getting lost during the process.

However, while making mistakes can be detrimental, if you’re a Jira admin, migrations will be inevitable.

As the stakes are high and the likeliness of errors is great, admins who have experienced migrations can feel the urge to cringe by just hearing the word.

We’re here to say, it does not have to be that way! Following certain guidelines and best practices can actually allow the migration process to run smoothly.

In this blogpost we will describe these guidelines, as well as common pitfalls to avoid.

1. Prepare a plan

When preparing for the migration, think about the strong points of new migration software and how to use all the powerful features it can provide.

Many companies, during transition, are trying to mirror the exact same workflows and features they were using in the previous system. But that’s not the point of the migration.

Remember the differences and always ask yourself why you needed to make the switch in the first place. Try to use the most of your new Jira.

When selecting a tool for migration, choose wisely - go with the one that both helps as well as guides you when it comes to those differences.

2. Choose a tool with live migration to avoid downtime

While there are different ways you can complete a migration, doing a gradual live migration carries the least amount of risk.

A “big bang” or one-time migration means you will be migrating all data in one go. This caries a copious amount of risk. Such as downtime or crucial data getting lost.

A live migration means you will be gradually migrating data on an issue-level in real-time. This helps you avoid the risks that come with implementing the migration in one go.

Let’s be honest - changing software from one tool to the other takes time - not only due to technical issues, you need people to learn how the new software works. To make the transition easier and more friendly for your staff - try tools that let you use live synchronization for the first few months before making the final switch.

These are the tools you can use to complete a Jira migration and live synchronization:

  1. For Jira to Jira migrations you can use the Exalate Jira issue sync app.
  2. For Microsoft’s Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) or Team Foundation Server (TFS) to Jira migration, use TFS4JIRA.
  3. To migrate HP QC/ALM to Jira you can use the Exalate HP ALM to Jira integration.

3. Save time by using an agile approach to migration

Migrating everything at once requires significant time of preparation. And once the migration is completed, unexpected errors or inefficiencies will occur. (Murphy’s Law anyone?)

This will cost you even more precious time to resolve those problems, with your users breathing in your neck because they are blocked.

What’s more, you will likely have to reschedule the migration process to a period you could afford downtime and repeat this process until you get it right.

By implementing changes gradually to the new system and testing as you go, it will be more easy to foresee problems and quickly resolve them. This will save you a great amount of time in the long run.

4. Make incremental changes for transitioning staff

Transitioning your staff in one go inevitably leads to frustrations.

They will not have had the time to get used to the new system, will make mistakes and get confused by new structures or stumble upon missing data.

Transitioning your staff gradually to the new system, allows them to get used to the new approach. What’s more, you will be able to gather valuable feedback during the migration process. This will happen all the while staff can continue their day-to-day operations in the old system.

5. Only remove the original instance after sufficient amount of time

This one speaks for itself. Make sure to not remove the original instance too quickly. Problems might still be uncovered months after the transition has been completed.

Wait at least six months after errors.bugs in the new system were fixed before archiving all data of the previous instance.

6 Set up training for your staff

In order for your staff to start using the new system correctly as soon as possible, some training is required.

We would suggest live training, but setting up video courses could be the next best thing.

If you are using the big bang approach, you will need to schedule a training before the migration is planned to take place.

In that case, the key to effective adoption will be timing. Planning the training too soon will result in nobody remembering. But giving the training the day before migration might mean not everybody will be able to attend. About a week before the migration process might be a good enough timing to schedule the training.

A live migration, on the other hand, allows you to train staff during or even after the migration process. This offers a lot more flexibility since training could span over a couple of months while new teams transition over to the new system.

Summary

When it comes to adopting a smart approach for your migration process, a live migration is usually the option with the least amount of risk and most amount of flexibility.

You can save time by implementing an agile and gradual approach to migration.

Making changes incrementally will allow your staff get used to the new system and offer feedback at the same time.

If possible, wait at least six months before you remove the old system. As crucial missing data or errors can still reveal themselves.

And lastly, prepare your staff for smooth adoption by offering training.

To complete a smooth migration process, we recommend using any of the following tools:

  1. For Jira to Jira migrations you can use the Exalate Jira issue sync app.
  2. For Microsoft’s Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) or Team Foundation Server (TFS) to Jira migration, use TFS4JIRA.
  3. To migrate HP QC/ALM to Jira you can use the Exalate HP ALM to Jira integration.