Best SharePoint Practices: the Inventory – Between Two Farms

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In this installment of Between Two Farms, we will discuss a technique we often use in our SharePoint migration projects, our RMR method to build an inventory before you even start migrating. This will help you save a great amount of time when preparing a Migration by easily assessing what you should do with each element of your environment.

Here’s the detailed blog we mentioned on how to Build an inventory before a SharePoint Migration and put it in Visio.

And here are other great articles to help you accomplish the simplest, most efficient SharePoint Migration ever:

Learn more about SharePoint

Here’s the video transcript for any intents and purposes:

Hi, my name is Benjamin Niaulin. I’m a SharePoint MVP working here at Sharegate, all the way up here in Montreal at the Sharegate office, where it is getting a little colder. In this video, I want to give you some advice about SharePoint migration.

I’ve obviously worked for Sharegate, so I’ve seen quite a few migrations, and just give some pointers there to make sure that it goes down as smoothly as possible, although, I’m not exactly sure that can almost be done, right? A migration, depending on the size, of course, and depending on what you’re doing. Office 365, so going to the cloud, or you’re just changing versions of SharePoint and looking to take advantage of the new features, like the search in 2013 and so on. 

Make sure to know your existing environements

There’s a lot to think about. And before you even start thinking about the next version of SharePoint 2015 coming out, whichever. Whatever the case may be for your migration, always, always make sure you know what you have on premises or whatever it is. Make sure you know what you have. What do I mean by that? Take an inventory. How many site collections do you have? How many sites? Where are they? What size in the database do they hold? How many workflows do you have running on average? How many listed libraries do you have with versioning enabled? 

You need to have this kind of information and inventory, and here’s my suggestion. We’ll take an inventory and there are many ways to take an inventory of your environment. You can use PowerShell and export it into a Visio. I have a blog post about that that you should definitely check out here in this blog post, and you should…or you can do anything. There’s tools out there. Obviously, there’s Sharegate that will do that as well, but there are many tools that you can look for that will do the inventory, or do it yourself manually.

Learn about: the ShareGate Inventory Tool


Why do I want to do an inventory?

Because the migration is going to take longer than you expect, unless you know what you have and you know an average about how much effort it is going to take to bring, to migrate to the next version of SharePoint. Now, let’s fall back a bit. You have that inventory. You have that excel file, let’s say, with all that you have, all of the sites that you have.

I’ll recommend you look into a scenario of upgrading. I like to call it RMR. It’s our own strategy. We use it here at the Sharegate office when we’re helping customers migrate, and it’s really remove, migrate, or rebuild. Because in most scenarios, you’re going to be doing one of these three to the existing content that you have. 

So to bring it to the next place, the next location, you’ll have to decide whether you’ll remove it and not migrate it, whether you’re going to migrate it, or you’re going to rebuild it because you need to take advantage of the new features and new architecture in place.

Dig up Inside your inventory

So once you have that inventory, what I want you to do is create a column and assign: go to see the content owners, go see the site collection owners. That’s why you have that inventory, to know the owners of all these sites as well, and go talk to them and see what’s in there. What have we got in here? Is it worth migrating it, or are we going to remove it, or should we just rebuild it from scratch?

Estimate the RMR effort

And then next to that column in that inventory, what I want you to do is to start giving points of effort. How much effort is it going to be to remove it? How much effort is it going to be to migrate it? And how much effort do you think it’s going to be to rebuild it? Of course, look at it with your team.

Try to brainstorm, to give a…well, I usually give a one to ten point system, and then I’ll know on average – of course, this goes with time and the team that you have – how much points can you do in a given week or in a given month, right? So if you know you can do 37 or 38 points in a month, then you can choose what you’re going to either remove, migrate, or rebuild, and set expectations with your users. 

Inventory, planning, change management, migration …

Of course, in a migration, there’s tons of things to worry about. Not only are workflows running, but have users created content editor web parts with script in there? That’s why the inventory’s important. That’s why the planning is important, but there is, of course, change management, training, everything else that need to go in place. And I highly recommend you check out all of the links mentioned in the blog about migration, but first and foremost, start with an inventory. 

I hope this has been helpful. Again, thank you very much. All the way up here from the Sharegate office, this has been another episode of Between Two Farms, and I’ll see you next week.

For more resources on preparing a SharePoint migration you can read:

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