Plan for Office 365 migration and adoption success


For the final post in our series that began in April as part of the Tech Community's Driving Adoption theme, I wanted to round things out by talking about why creating a plan is so important to a successful transition to Office 365.


I have to thank @Jeff James for providing such a great lead-in for me with his June post, "Celebrating Migration to Office 365." He did an excellent job of illustrating why making the transition to Office 365 requires a good plan. Or as legendary American professional baseball player, manager, and coach Yogi Berra put it, "If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else."


In his own inimitable way, Berra cautions us about the potential risks that come with a lack of proper planning, and emphasizes just what makes planning so important. Creating a plan provides the opportunity to clearly articulate what needs to be done, how to get it done, who will get it done and what they'll be doing, and when it will be done. For everyone, top to bottom. With this in mind, let's take a closer look at three key aspects of planning that can lead to successful project outcomes.


  1. Create the plan.

The idea that you need to make a plan might seem obvious, but too often, major projects begin without clear plans in place. Make sure you carve out enough time for you and your team to develop a viable plan. If you're working with a technology or services partner, it might be tempting to leave all of the planning details entirely to them. However, if you're responsible for driving Office 365 adoption, you should take an active role in the development of your organization's transition plan. This effort ensures that you're up to speed on every aspect of the plan, and enables you to solidify the support of top-level sponsors and recruit champions to help you build excitement among users.


  1. Share the plan.

Now that the plan is complete, you'll want to get the word out to everyone across your company. Because you've been actively involved in planning your organization's transition to Office 365, you can more easily articulate what's going on throughout the process to management, colleagues, and users. Your planning experience will also help you develop and provide more effective training for users. And you'll be better at evangelizing the benefits of Office 365, which will, in turn, motivate users to adopt Office 365 more quickly. All of this hard work pays off for you, too, as your enhanced value to your team helps advance your career.


  1. Follow the plan.

To get the most out of your plan, you have to follow through on it. That means more than ensuring that Office 365 is up and running. You have to stay focused on the specific, realistic goals and expectations you've committed to, measuring progress and performance against the success criteria you've established, and reporting outcomes. You'll need to monitor where adoption is lagging and devise new ways to train and motivate users over the longer term. Following a plan doesn't mean there's no room for flexibility. In fact, a good plan adds agility by taking the guesswork out of day-to-day tasks.


Wondering where to start?

Consider the Success Planning Tool available through Microsoft FastTrack. Through this collaborative environment, you and your team can work together to capture your business case, onboarding, and adoption plans all in one place.

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