Understand the as-is state
Use tools available, MAP, ACT, SCCM and other SAM/Inventory tools…
Enhancing the end user experience: Compile a list of (10) enhancements that the new deployment will have. e.g. Automated software deployment (group policy), enhanced security (bitlocker), Removal of user administrator rights (Group Policy), improve patch management (monthly restart feature), remove password reset burden from the service desk (Self service reset), providing self service re-deployment capabilities…. The list could go on and on.
In my mind this list is important, it can be used as a measure of success and also will help focus on key areas of enhancement. Build these from the business and IT discussions, compile them then have IT and the Business sign them off.
So do I know if I was successful?
Often IT projects will run with no formal investigation to establish the success… sure great for the times when things don’t go quite to plan… but its a bit of a head in the sand approach. Once complete and the dust has settled, send out a survey to your user base. Find out if you were successful and take the feedback as a lessons learnt.
Automation, automation, automation… am I clear about this?
Ever since I was tasked to build more than handful of PC’s (migration, refresh or new deployment) I started to automate. While my colleagues would spend hours installing Windows manually or creating ad-hoc ghost images, I was building an unattended install and a syspreped image…. this soon became the standard mechanism and changed the way OS installation was viewed at the company. If you are deploying Windows 8 to more than a handful of devices I would automate. If we take 4 hours (seems to be the accepted figure for client builds) per pc @ 50 pc’s we have 26.7 days of effort.
If we spent a week creating an image and we half the time it takes to deploy we end up with 17.4 days that’s a 9.3 day saving of effort. As you can see even on small scale it makes sense to automate.
I hope this start help to begin to draw a picture of how to approach a Windows upgrade. There is always loads of guidance from Microsoft that’s always been really useful to me so if you get stuck the answers are never too far away.