The 5 Best Practices of Report Migration Projects
Updated: Aug 25
Whether 50 or 500 reports need to migrate between reporting tools, there are several best practices that support the quality of project success. Reporting tools each have their nuances, but the process to efficiently and successfully migrate is the same. Being off track mid-project can cost thousands of dollars in rework to go back and do it right or plan to incur future high maintenance costs and support headaches. Here’s how to avoid some of the common mistakes in report migration projects (and get back on track if they’ve already been made).
1) Project Management/Lead
Choosing a project manager or lead with multiple report migration projects under their belt
is the number 1 key to migration success. Experienced migrators have learned the process dos and don’ts from previous projects. New to this process project managers/leads may also not know how to guide and direct the resources lined up, so resource waste becomes a risk as well. Skip 1st time project migrators or have them mentored through the process by an experienced migrator.
Never start a report migration project without first completing an audit of items to migrate. Documenting data elements (dimensions, facts, calculations, data columns) and output similarities will provide the roadmap to the migration’s rebuild. Experienced data analysts and technical writers should be able to define this roadmap in a matter of weeks. If a report migration project has been started without an audit, stop now, go back, and complete this step. This is the most costly step to skip and while it can delay the project development start, it will save the most maintenance and support dollars in the long run. If the project is this far, or further, without an audit, don’t fret timelines, completing one will most likely make up time and money in speeding up the reengineering process.
3) Reengineer and Consolidate
No report migration project goal should be to redevelop all data sets and reports as is, dataset for dataset, report for report. When staring down the barrel of hundreds of reports and datasets to migrate, it’s time to reengineer. Combine, remodel and improve data sets for better performance and data quality value. Evaluate reports for consolidation and define business rules to amalgamate 10 similar reports into 1 report with parameters to meet the original 10 reports’ individual specifications. Creative problem solving and experienced business intelligence developers can merge hundreds of reports into tens of reports, again saving thousands of future maintenance and support dollars. If the migration project is redeveloping data set for data set, report for report, stop now, go back, and complete the audit.
Tens of datasets and reports have been consolidated and migrated, now it’s time to vigorously test. There are 100s of legacy datasets and reports to compare to so no excuse to skip this step. Depending upon the number of original and final outputs, comparisons can be manually eyeballed or set up an automated testing system to compare the data/reports daily during the transition and adoption process. Legacy reports sunsetting should have the acceptance criteria of so many days/months without comparison errors and should be defined by the project manager/lead in the project charter as a service level deliverable for the project team.
Finally, don’t discard all the creativity and consolidation with future development. Training users, development and support to design, request and develop changes in the new scalable way will keep the new report suite condensed and controlled. An experienced technical writer can document the new data foundation and report structures/parameters so anyone, functional or technical, can design smart changes. Implementing several of the new changes under the guidance of the experienced migrator will keep the solution on track and periodic checkups can put a stop to new development returning to old unstructured process.
Fox Consulting specializes in Report Migration projects with a “do it right the first time” approach. If a report migration project is in your future, or you’ve started one and skipped crucial steps, contact us to discuss how to stay, or get back, on track.