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Purpose, Objectives, and Scope

Take a minute and define why you are doing the migration (purpose), what you expect to accomplish (objectives), and the limitations of the project (scope). It's a good idea to establish these parameters to keep the project focused. You certainly can update these sections of the action plan, but they need to be well defined. Of course, the key to keeping any project on track is establishing a timeline, which is also discussed in this section.

Defining the Purpose and Objectives

This section of the action plan should define why the company should undertake the migration. Include the advantages of Windows 2000 over the existing structure to show how the company would benefit in specific problem areas and how you can use Windows 2000 features to the company's advantage; also list expected achievements in these areas. Spend some time here, and be thorough. A good analysis of the benefits of Windows 2000 and how they apply to the enterprise will be invaluable later when calculating ROI, selling the project to management, and evaluating success and failure.

Don't forget to play devil's advocate and look for negatives—identify features of Windows 2000 that might have an adverse effect on the computing environment. For instance, one nice feature of Windows 2000 is the Knowledge Consistency Checker (KCC), which automatically checks topology and allows replication to work more efficiently. One company in Europe, however, determined this to be a negative feature because that company has slow 32K links between most sites and wants full manual control over every bit of data that traverses the wire. Recognizing this at the start, the company turned off the KCC for intersite replication and built its topology by hand for greater control.

Poking holes in your own proposal gives at least the appearance of objectivity and at the same time exposes flaws that must be addressed during implementation. This allows you to avoid pitfalls up front.

The designer who has done his homework and is familiar with the limitations and problems in the current computing environment (and who has been trained and has performed a study of relevant white papers on the advantages of new Windows 2000 features) should be able to develop this part of the plan. Chapter 1, "Developing a Business Justification for Migrating to Windows 2000," enumerates many of the differences and advantages that Windows 2000 holds over Windows NT 4.0.

Scope of the Project

With the purpose and objectives clearly spelled out, the scope of the project can be defined. The design team should develop this cooperatively. The important point here is to identify obvious areas of success for Windows 2000 and then focus on those areas for initial migration. In one case, although the design team all wanted to migrate to Windows 2000, the individual responsible for the corporate servers had a glaring problem. He managed UNIX, NetWare, and Windows NT servers with many users accessing resources in all three environments. He felt that the single sign-on feature in Windows 2000, allowing a single logon to the Windows 2000 and UNIX machines, not only would make his job easier, but also would result in an immediate positive impact for the users.

That company decided to confine the initial scope of the migration to the corporate domain controllers, build the infrastructure, and then migrate first the file/print/application servers and then the users. The company realized an immediate benefit in time savings (and thus cost saving) with single sign-on. Team members then could point to this success to sell management on supporting later stages of the project.

In some cases, a single area of cost savings could justify the entire project. The section "Scalability," in Chapter 1, notes that Compaq reduced the number of servers needed for Windows 2000 by several hundred. The actual savings came in reduced administration, support, maintenance, and spare parts. This savings significantly helped justify the total migration.

You see many references throughout this book to the value of a phased approach. Defining the scope is the place to identify those phases. Migrate in small, prioritized, well-conceived steps.

Development of a Project Timeline

With the tasks of the migration defined, it is important to build a timeline for the completion of individual tasks and the project as a whole. This timeline should establish deadlines for achieving milestones in the project and ensuring that objectives are met along the way.

Figure 3.1 shows a sample timeline for the entire project. This simply shows the order in which major components should be addressed (a lot of overlap between tasks is likely), and should not be interpreted as defining how long these tasks take. You will need to create your own milestones and timeline based on available resources, organizational and political constraints, and factors such as hardware availability. Create a detailed, realistic timeline with specific milestones and a "critical path," and keep it current. This is the responsibility of the project manager. A number of methods and techniques can help do this, such as Gantt charts. Select the method that suits your company, and use it.

Figure 3.1
Sample Windows 2000 migration timeline.

The remainder of the action plan components are described in detail in the remaining chapters of this book. Turn your attention to an important and difficult aspect of the migration: that of developing a cost justification plan, usually referred to as return on investment. Companies are increasingly interested in determining the total cost of ownership (TCO) as well. The next section deals with these topics.

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