10 min read

Change management for migrations

Learn to minimize disruption when rolling out new docs.

When you're moving a process to Coda or switching to a new Coda doc, there will be a brief period where users can't work on that specific workflow. This period is called "cutover." Cutover starts when you export data from the old tool or doc, and it ends when the new Coda doc is ready to use. It's important to make sure cutover happens quickly and smoothly to avoid disrupting productivity. While there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach to handling cutover, there are some best practices to consider when creating your plan.
What you'll learn:
  • What to plan for when rolling out major process or doc changes
  • How to communicate with stakeholders
What you'll use:
  • Coda templates
  • Tables, timelines, and views

1. Planning

Start planning for the transition early—it's important to identify any risks associated with the transition as soon as possible. We suggest creating a detailed tracker that lists all the tasks or docs involved in the transition, making sure to assign ownership, set due dates, and note any dependencies. You can use this planning template to make the process easier.

Migration planning template

When planning, consider the following:
  • Are there business critical operations, launches, and other time-sensitive activities that should be planned around? Make sure to take into account your larger company/team’s calendar and milestones—ideally, you’ll map your own cutover milestones against high-level calendars to keep an eye out for conflicts.
  • What exactly will be migrated? What are the specific use cases and their audiences?
  • What teams, individuals, or user groups are likely to need additional training, communication, or change management? Consider what it will take to enable all stakeholders to fully use the new Coda doc to perform all actions in the workflow. This could mean training on using Coda as a platform or training on using the new doc specifically.
  • What knowledge management updates will be needed? For example, if your company doesn’t use additional internal tooling for knowledge management, bookmarking, or universal search, teams will likely need to be informed to manually replace bookmarks.
  • Can any content be migrated early? If there is critical but infrequently used content, stale archives that will need to be migrated, or other spaces with less activity, consider migrating them early.
Continue to assess your plan the closer you get to the transition date, and ensure you flag and address any new risks that arrive.

2. Communication

Once you have a clear plan for the transition, make sure to share it with everyone involved as soon as possible. It's a good idea to assign someone as the 'transition expert' who will work with the teams and stakeholders to plan and improve communication with all the users who will be affected.
  • Communicate early and clearly, letting users know about any requirements and when they need to provide their input. We suggest sending these communications through multiple channels, like email and Slack.
  • Don't forget to plan and communicate any training that will be available for the new Coda doc. It's best to give users at least 2 weeks to complete any required training, and send reminders throughout.
  • When it comes to content freezes and the actual transition dates, we recommend sending at least three reminders: one about a week before, another one to two days before, and a final reminder when the content freeze or transition begins.

3. Other considerations

Depending on your needs, you may consider exploring some additional strategies:
  • Consider running an MVP or pilot migration with a tightly-scoped set of users and use cases. You’ll want to ensure that you have systems set up to gather and triage feedback and issues.
  • Your team may prefer that cutover happens in a single swoop during their evening or weekend hours as timing allows, but this is not always possible. For smaller migrations, consider a full tool freeze of up to a week. For larger migrations, you’ll probably want to take a phased approach and go team-by-team.
  • For tight or questionable timelines, make sure you’ve run at least one rehearsal in order to understand the timing needed for cutover. Plan for some bumps to make sure you have time to wrangle data and address any bugs that pop up.
  • For particularly large or challenging migrations, consider hiring a Coda Expert. They can advise on timeline, scope out or build docs, troubleshoot issues, and help you get the most out of Coda.
Migration can be a long and complex process, but with appropriate planning you can help ensure your team has a smooth experience.

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