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How to Successfully Upgrade Your Website or Software

There comes a time in the life of every software program or website when it is no longer as relevant as it once was. Maybe it's frustrating and slow to make changes or even just to keep up with user expectations, never mind having the next level of impact you are reaching for. As a result, you may have a long and growing list of issues and small problems that you are never quite able to get around to. Perhaps you're plagued by indecision about the best way to make changes to fit with your changing real-world agenda, and the technology is becoming a hurdle rather than an enabler.

Whatever the circumstances, finding a software development company to redesign your website or software can be tricky business. When you're a socially focused business or non-profit organisation, it can be nerve-racking to choose a partner to build a whole new system. You not only need to find someone you can trust, but someone who understands your goals and needs.

At HappyPorch, we want to help you make the best choice for your organisation. If you're considering a major overhaul of your software programs or website design, don't fret when it comes to supervising the changes.

We've compiled 5 tips on how to successfully manage a migration of your website or software to an upgraded system.

1. Revisit your original goals.

With a large project undertaking like a system upgrade, it can be easy to lose sight of the hopes and plans you originally had when you began the process. Consider your initial thoughts often to ensure that you're staying on track with your initial goals.

Software and website migrations can become monotonous and boring. It's easy to get distracted and begin to add new, unnecessary functions that don't help the original purpose. Avoid this trap by consistently reviewing your goals and your direction.

With the goal in mind (in essence, the "why" for your project), identify the changes and improvements and ruthlessly prioritise them. It's easy to get distracted and feel like you need everything immediately. However, it's almost always better to start by doing less, but doing it brilliantly, rather than by biting off more that you can chew. To help with this process, look back at the data you have, such as your web stats, user feedback, and impact assessments. Combine the objective data and subjective opinions with your plans for the future.

2. Consider the big picture.

Think about the changes you're hoping to make and how they may impact "positively or negatively" your current operations. How will the implementation of something new influence other areas of your business or organisation? Be aware of what the outcomes will look like on both sides of the coin so you can distinguish where troubles could arise later.

Also, consider the technology. As you revisit your initial plans, remember to ensure your goals and priorities are driving the technology, not the other way round. Of course, reality does have a big effect, but the technology should be a tool that enables your success and impact, not a barrier. A good developer will work with you and find technical solutions that exceed your goals and meet your priorities. They will take into account your budget and time constraints and the current technology you have in place.

3. Pinpoint strengths from your current setups as well as possible obstacles that may emerge.

What are the strongest parts about your current software program or website? What does it do well? Maybe your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system has some excellent qualities. Perhaps your current website provides a stellar e-commerce platform for your customers. Whatever the strengths are, nail them down and plan to replicate them.

Also consider what you currently have in place that may present difficulties in implementing a new software program or website. If you can define these areas early, you will be less likely to run into progress stalls later.

4. Don't let the size of the project become overwhelming.

With a complete website or software overhaul, sometimes it's easy to feel buried in the minute details of a project. Don't take everything on at once make "sections" or “mini-projects” that are split into smaller groups so you can work on separate parts of your upgrade. Keeping the project managed this way will ensure that the completed outcome will measure up to your expectations.

5. Create a realistic timeline for the project's completion.

Create a deadline for the final product. To help manage the entire project and refrain from becoming overwhelmed, utilize the smaller “mini-projects” tip and set deadlines for each. One of the biggest advantages of “mini-projects” is that you can go “live” and start having an impact and learn how to further improve earlier, before the whole project is finished. This way, as you complete each segment, you can visualize yourself one step closer to the final goal.

 

Don't be discouraged as you plan for an upgrade. Keep your team on track by revisiting plans and sticking to a timeline. If you identify current strengths, consider obstacles, and plan accordingly, your migration will be a smooth one.

Still unsure of where to start? Contact us today and let us help you begin managing your project.

About the author

Barry O'Kane

Barry O'Kane

Barry is the leader of the pack at Happy Porch. With over 15 years in the web development industry as a programmer and agency owner, he has a preternatural ability to decipher the systems and processes code that holds many teams back from achieving their goals. Partners say Barry gets to the root of issues quickly and makes it downright easy to deliver good work.    

While he's unbelievably grounded, it's not uncommon to find him sailing through the trees as he paraglides his way round the world.