I recently lived the joy of a multi-step interstate move that included professional packing, multiple trucks, and a month of storage between moving out and moving in. As my wife and I continue to wade through the remnants of unpacking, I've taken some time to look back and contemplate what we might have done differently to make it a more pleasant and efficient process. (NB: Our movers, Hilldrup Moving & Storage, were excellent and I highly recommend them. Even still, I doubt many will argue with this universal point: moving stinks.) While pondering the lessons we learned, it dawned on me how the moving process can serve as a useful analogy for a similarly intimidating challenge in the enterprise portal realm: content migration.

From inventory to tagging to validation, the content migration life cycle mirrors the moving process, and I believe understanding these parallels can help business stakeholders get their arms around content migration during high-level planning, when the foundation for critical decisions is laid. Additionally, this analogy can help technical veterans of the process communicate more effectively with the business team, leading to a better understanding of the business processes that migration will impact, earlier surfacing of potential gotchas, and reduced confusion across the project.

On many enterprise portal implementations, content migration is a make-or-break proposition for a truly successful launch. In the process of surviving a handful of such efforts for a variety of well-known companies, I've developed a framework for content migration planning, which is illustrated in the attached diagram. In the following series of blog posts, I'll deliver an overview of the content migration life cycle, using this framework as a guide and employing the moving analogy where appropriate. If all goes well, a few of these insights might just prevent the portal project equivalent of a box of your fine china getting tossed out of the back of the truck onto your driveway after being mistakenly labeled "paperbacks."

Part I: High-Level Planning
Part II: Inventory
Part III: Cleanup (aka Rationalization)
Part IV: Approach Definition
Part V: Migration Execution
Part VI: Validation