A story of a project: 3600 users to G Suite in 60 days! – Day 1: Starting up
We started the project with a technical workshop with the customer IT teams. They had 2 teams working on this: infrastructure and hosting team, and the end-user support team. We divided ourselves into two teams as well, I went with the infrastructure team, and we sent 2 guys to help the support team making their plans, guides, and process to start working on users.
Our initial plan was to start users data migration as soon as possible, first we need to get an idea about the distribution of sizes, and then we will sort out the largest mailboxes and do the migration for them at first, our idea was since we have limited time and we have a risk of losing access to the old service once the subscription is over, we at least have the bulk of the data migrated… Among the group of the large mailboxes, we also took the list of all VIPs, CxOs, and Execs. to migrate their data as well…
Based on the above impression, I started my first day with the IT team, and our target was to fully setup the G Suite Admin Console, and to make the environment ready for the dual delivery and coexistence scenario…
First thing we did was to setup a shared workspace using Google Sites, Google Drive, and Google Sheets, I made sure to make it simple but effective at the same time… Once that task was done, we started looking at the next step…
Having the primary domain already verified, we started to collect all other mail enabled domains and subdomains they have.. We wanted to add all the extra domains to the control panel on this day so we can make sure we completed this task and did not leave any domain out. We collected about 26 domains.. I added them to the admin console, then prepared a sheet with verification TXT records and shared it for the IT team to work on.. It took us a little time to get all domains ready.
We then started getting the lists of users and their data sizes, we prioritized them, separated them into groups, and made the plans for each group… this was the longest and most busiest work we did for the day..
Having previously discussed with them about methods to provision users, we agreed to use GCDS (Google Cloud Directory Sync) and GSPS (G Suite Password Sync), we downloaded both tools. We setup GCDS on the primary domain controller, and have GSPS installed on every AD server they have.. and left them to be configured later on.
By then we already have reached the end of the day, so we reviewed the list of tasks for the next day and set points and targets to work on.
This day had no problems at all, it was really fast paced and completely busy day, no one had any free time, everyone was working on his task and we were getting streams of information and activities from everywhere in the organization… The support team were more busy than us while they were making their plans and guides, they did not want to waste any valuable time for their team, so they made sure they cover every single issue or error that has even a slight chance of occurring and disrupting the support person’s work.. They made videos, documents, presentations, and posters for their team to use.. with the help of our change management team, they were able to complete their work really nice.
I imagine if we did not start by talking about our impression and thoughts about how the project should go, and how should we work on the project; then by setting up the shared workspace and outlining every task clearly for us to work on, we would never be able to accomplish anything amid the chaos that we were on…
I always knew the importance of organizing work and pre-planning, but this day I lived and I felt it clearly..
It is also important to work with a very competent IT team, with that stream of information and chaotic day, there was no place for trials and/or errors.. there was no time or place for coaching or simplifying things.. the tasks had to be completed on time, and in the correct way, otherwise we would not be able to keep going and would have failed form day 1.