3 Lessons learned managing a high stakes knowledge base migration project

The most successful content migration project I have ever witnessed lasted several months and involved nearly 50 people. They were not taking baby-steps; instead the vision was big. This meant that the project felt unruly and extremely chaotic at times. However, in the end, it delivered a dramatic impact to the business with changes in technology and processes. This project is a wonderful source of learnings and best practices.  Here are the big three takeaways.

1. Get ready to show off your leadership abilities.

For many executives, a large content migration project is a “once in a career” effort. It is high-stakes; costly, highly visible and can’t be repeated. So, it needs to be done well the first time. This means that you have to go through all the critical preparations. Most importantly, take the time you need to establish the vision and alignment of the project to strategic objectives. Define what success looks like. Then, make sure you align the right people to this project early on.

Be prepared to communicate the vision, objectives and success criteria many times. Your team will come to you many times asking for more resources, more time and more budget. To help everyone stay focused, be relentless in keeping the vision you establish at the beginning. Setting that vision up front will make it easier to address those requests each time they arise.

2. The content migration project team moves through a predictable emotional roller coaster (many times).

There is a predictable emotional roller coaster that you and your team will move through (probably many times). Knowing this in advance, allows you to use the best leadership techniques that align to what your team needs at that time. Prepare to lead the team both intellectually and emotionally. When the team is doubting itself, you are the cheerleader. When the team has lost the plot, you repeat the vision again and again and again to keep them moving toward the goal. When the team is confident and satisfied, sustain that momentum by celebrating their achievements.

Content Migration Optimism Chart

Most importantly, don’t forget that you will also move through these emotional phases. Anticipate that and have your own support structure in place to keep the positive energy.

3. Stay the course and you WILL be successful.

Leading a team through a dramatic change like this requires much more tenacity and persistence than is needed other times. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Others have done this already and you will be successful too. Maintain the energy and dedication and your team will deliver a dramatic and positive impact on your organization.

Mostly importantly, seek the information you need early on to make sure you are prepared and have all the information you need to make the right decisions along the way. To help you, Irrevo has recently collaborated with the amazing Eventusteam and published the Knowledge Management Guidebook: How to Lead a Successful Content Migration. Read the Guidebook and register for our “How to Lead a Successful Content Migration” webinar to gather the information you need to be set yourself up for success.