Migration wisdom - a plea to those who've been there before...

gilmoreren

Participant
Joined
May 10, 2011
Messages
59
Hi everyone,

I run an online community for a health charity in the UK, and we're planning to migrate our forum to another software provider. We've selected and purchased the software and have created an implementation plan which we've used to build the site up from 'out of the box' to where we want it to be.

I wanted to check in with other admins who have also re-built their communities and migrated - what did you learn along the way? Were there things that surprised you or things that you wished you had or hadn't done?

Thanks,

Ren
 

Joeychgo

TAZ Administrator
Joined
Feb 28, 2004
Messages
6,940
What I found is that -- there are SO many little things that you will overlook or miss, until the migration is complete and your users will ask "what happened to this feature?" ---

Keep a custom coder on hand and available for the first few months, and prepare for him to have to custom code some things.

Also, write up some tutorials for users showing them how to do something on the new software. A good example is explaining how private messages work now as conversations. (that has been one of the biggest confusions for my members when I went from vB to XF)
 

Sonya

Participant
Joined
Aug 21, 2007
Messages
70
Lots and lots of testing in a secure environment before you make the move is ideal. It really helped us to know where users were going to have trouble, as well as to familiarize ourselves with how the admin side of things work on the new software.

We set up a User Guide for the new software (vBulletin to XF), and still there were a lot of questions from people who don't like to read. ;) We had a "Questions and Problems" thread for a few months after the migration.

We did the migration in May and are still finding little things here and there that need attention. I had hoped not to add the Media Gallery until next year when I have more time to work on it, but discovered that Album Images from vB didn't make it over without it. Now that project has moved up the list so we can remove the old board directory and data from the server.
 

gilmoreren

Participant
Joined
May 10, 2011
Messages
59
What I found is that -- there are SO many little things that you will overlook or miss, until the migration is complete and your users will ask "what happened to this feature?" ---

Keep a custom coder on hand and available for the first few months, and prepare for him to have to custom code some things.

Also, write up some tutorials for users showing them how to do something on the new software. A good example is explaining how private messages work now as conversations. (that has been one of the biggest confusions for my members when I went from vB to XF)
Thanks, this is really helpful. We've got an arrangement with a designer so we should be able to add tweaks and configurations as we go, post-migration. We're using Trello to organise the project, which is helping to break it down into weekly chunks.

I think the idea of creating tutorials is a helpful one. We could do a 'what's different' series of screenshots in a thread. Thanks :)
 

Maddox

Habitué
Joined
Jul 29, 2016
Messages
1,253
Is the new forum software Xenforo? If it is there is a surprisingly useful add-on that may prove useful in directing people to what's new.

Find it here >>> SITE TOUR AND HINT

:)
 

gilmoreren

Participant
Joined
May 10, 2011
Messages
59
Lots and lots of testing in a secure environment before you make the move is ideal. It really helped us to know where users were going to have trouble, as well as to familiarize ourselves with how the admin side of things work on the new software.

We set up a User Guide for the new software (vBulletin to XF), and still there were a lot of questions from people who don't like to read. ;) We had a "Questions and Problems" thread for a few months after the migration.

We did the migration in May and are still finding little things here and there that need attention. I had hoped not to add the Media Gallery until next year when I have more time to work on it, but discovered that Album Images from vB didn't make it over without it. Now that project has moved up the list so we can remove the old board directory and data from the server.
That's really helpful Sonya. We've factored in testing in the staging site, with our existing team of volunteers and hopefully some power users. The Questions and Problems thread sounds like a good call too.

Really helpful to know about Media Gallery - I'll make sure we include this.
 

ManagerJosh

Adherent
Joined
Oct 24, 2004
Messages
334
Setup a demo board, and let people explore for about a month or two before the migration. Get feedback, buy in, etc.
 

gilmoreren

Participant
Joined
May 10, 2011
Messages
59
Setup a demo board, and let people explore for about a month or two before the migration. Get feedback, buy in, etc.
That's helpful, thanks. We're hoping to invite some power users to take part in testing but wonder whether we could access to a demo board that's like a sandbox and empties every 24 hours...
 

mysiteguy

Migration Expert
Joined
Feb 20, 2007
Messages
3,096
When I test a site site migration on a test URL before doing it with the live site, I write a list as I go of every setting made, every change, every template modification, every modification installed, etc.
 
Top