About the upgrade framework

To help take the guesswork out of your upgrade journey, we’ve employed a proven framework for implementing change. As illustrated below, each step in the framework builds on the step prior and, for optimal results, we recommend following the steps in order.

Begin by bringing together the right stakeholders and defining your upgrade plan (eg. scope, goals and timeline). With a plan in place, confirm your technical environment and your end-users are ready for Teams. Then, implement your upgrade in stages, moving from a pilot to an organization-wide upgrade when ready. Once your organization is on Teams, establish an operational plan that monitors for quality and accelerates user adoption.

Illustration of the upgrade journey framework

Look for this framework graphic on related pages to identify where you are in the upgrade process.

Sample upgrade timeline

Your upgrade journey begins when you start planning for the change. Leveraging the success framework as a guideline, below is a sample timeline that take you from the pre-upgrade phase where you will plan and prepare for your upgrade, through the upgrade and into the post-upgrade operational phase, designed to sustain and amplify your outcomes.

Note

We understand that your journey to Teams might involve leveraging multiple modes and upgrading groups of users at different times, which will enable you to control the user upgrade experience while maintaining momentum with Teams. 

To help demonstrate how your upgrade journey might unfold, we’ve provided a sample plan below that defines a journey going from Skype for Business Online to Islands mode to Teams only. In addition, the sample plan outlines an organization that has divided their users into four upgrade groups, or cohorts. Using this as a template, customize the plan to encompass your specific journey to Teams, incorporating the various modes you’ll use and the number of upgrade groups you’ll segment your users into.

Pre-upgrade

Prepare your organization for Teams. To help ensure a successful upgrade to Teams, it’s important to allocate adequate time for preparation. Not only will your organization be able to quickly start realizing the value of Teams, you’ll be able to accelerate your upgrade from Skype for Business as soon as Teams is ready for you. If you’ve already enabled Teams alongside Skype for Business, use these pre-upgrade activities as a checkpoint to validate your organization’s readiness before you upgrade users to Teams.

Tip

Download the Upgrade Success Kit for template user readiness materials, such as communications and user surveys, in addition to a sample upgrade project plan and pilot test plan. Items that are available in the kit are marked with an asterisk (*) in the lists below.

Plan: Create your upgrade plan to help ensure your organization is set up for long-term success

Step Summary Resource
1 Define your stakeholders Assign project team members accountable for driving upgrade success. Enlist your stakeholders
2 Define your project vision and scope Design your “big picture” vision and current project scope to create a blueprint for your upgrade journey. Project vision

Project scope
3 Define your project goals Set targeted goals that enable you to measure progress as well as project success. Project goals
4 Identify risks and mitigation plans Establish a mitigation plan to ensure you can quickly get your project back on track should issues arise. Risks and mitigation
5 Define your timeline Set a timeline and key milestones to help your project stay on time and on budget. Timeline

Upgrade Success Kit
6 Define the appropriate Skype for Business and Teams upgrade and coexistence strategy Map your journey to ensure the best path from Skype for Business to Teams for your organization. Understand Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business coexistence and interoperability

Choose your upgrade journey

Prepare: Evaluate your organization’s readiness for Teams

Step Summary Resource
1 Assess your environment and complete Teams technical onboarding Ensure your environment is ready for Teams to help optimize the user experience and facilitate your upgrade over time. Evaluate your environment before upgrading to Teams.

Prepare your service for upgrading to Teams
2 Optimize network for Teams, particularly for real-time media scenarios If you’re deploying audio, video, or meetings, take these additional steps to optimize your network for that functionality. Prepare your network for upgrading to Teams
3 Assess organizational change readiness and define teamwork scenarios Understand your user base to prepare the right value messaging and level of education to facilitate and accelerate user adoption. Organizational change readiness
4 Prepare a user readiness plan to define how you will communicate, train, and support users Personalize your communications, training and support plan to ensure optimal receptiveness to the new technology. Prepare a user readiness plan

Upgrade Success Kit
5 Announce the pending launch of Microsoft Teams Communicate early to help users feel included, reduce confusion and generate excitement. Upgrade Success Kit
6 Prepare your IT staff for Teams Confirm your technical and support staff has everything they need to ready and support your technical environment for Teams. Prepare your IT staff for Microsoft Teams

Upgrade Success Kit

Pilot: Run a pilot to confirm that your organization is ready and inform your optimal journey to Teams

Step Summary Resource
1 Outline pilot logistics Define formal pilot logistics to help validate your organization’s readiness to upgrade or coexist. Outline pilot logistics
2 Select your pilot participants and test scenarios Identify users who can help validate teamwork scenarios and verify Teams readiness. Select your pilot participants and test scenarios
3 Design your test plan and feedback survey Identify clearly defined tasks for participants to complete and a way for them to share their feedback. Design your test plan and feedback survey
4 Create your pilot communications plan Educate pilot participants on what’s happening, when, and why, and what’s expected of them. Create your communications plan

Upgrade Success Kit
5 Conduct your pilot Start your pilot, track progress and iterate as needed to optimize your pilot results. Conduct your pilot
6 Assess learnings and evaluate your go-forward plan Gather user feedback, network stats, and support tickets for analysis against your goals and determine your go-forward plan. Assess learnings and evaluate your go-forward plan

Deploy: Run Teams in coexistence with Skype for Business

Step Summary Resource
1 Announce the official launch of Teams Generate excitement and momentum by sending an official launch announcement when Teams is ready. Upgrade Success Kit
2 Enable the appropriate coexistence mode for your users Follow steps to set the right coexistence mode(s) for your organization. Setting your coexistence and upgrade settings
3 Stay informed about the Teams roadmap Monitor the Teams roadmap to identify the right time for your organization to move to Teams. Teams roadmap
4 Send additional communications and engage Teams champions to drive excitement and adoption of Teams Encourage user adoption and maintain excitement for Teams with ongoing communications and champions. Microsoft 365 Champions Program

Upgrade

Make the official move to Teams. When you upgrade your users, you move them into Teams only mode. Teams becomes their primary app for chat, meetings, calling, and collaboration, and access to the Skype for Business app is disabled. Although the technical aspects of this phase are quite simple, consider the effect the change might have on user experience and allow time for users to officially transition their activities from Skype for Business to Teams. To reduce users’ having different experiences with different clients, try to limit the end-to-end upgrade window to 45 days or so.

Upgrade: Implement your upgrade from Skype for Business to Teams

Step Summary Resource
1 Confirm that you’ve completed the pre-upgrade activities described above Help ensure upgrade success by confirming completion of all planning and preparation activities. All the above
2 Initiate communications to users in your first upgrade group Notify users that upgrades are starting, and keep them informed throughout the process. Prepare a user readiness plan

Upgrade Success Kit
3 Enable the coexistence mode to Teams Only for users in your first upgrade group Follow steps appropriate to your Skype for Business environment to perform the technical user migration. Upgrade from Skype for Business Online to Teams

Upgrade from Skype for Business hybrid or on-premises to Teams
4 Repeat the preceding upgrade activities for the remaining upgrade groups on a rolling cycle Continue to drive your ongoing communications plan and upgrade user groups based on your plan.
5 Send post-upgrade feedback surveys to all users Use a feedback survey to capture feedback and insights from users. Upgrade Success Kit

Post-upgrade

Maximize business value with Teams. After your organization is fully upgraded to Teams, take time to evaluate your success against your goals and implement a plan to continue forward momentum.

Operate: Measure the success of your upgrade

Step Summary Resource
1 Assess your initial upgrade success Evaluate progress against the goals you established in the pre-upgrade phase. Project goals
2 Implement a mitigation plan for any goals that aren’t on track Define mitigation or course-correction strategies for goals that are not being met. Project goals
3 Monitor for network health and quality Implement a quality check and monitoring plan to help ensure a positive user experience as well as reduce calls to your support desk. Monitor for network health and quality
4 Drive user momentum and adoption Encourage user adoption and maintain excitement for Teams with an ongoing adoption plan. Drive user momentum and adoption
5 Prepare for new functionality Realize maximum value by establishing a change cycle for new innovations and product improvements. Prepare for new functionality

Note

Our Upgrade content is continually evolving. Be sure to check back for the latest guidance, and read the Teams blog.

Important

Skype for Business Online will be retired on July 31, 2021, after which it will no longer be accessible or supported. To maximize benefit realization and ensure your organization has proper time to implement your upgrade, we encourage you to begin your journey to Microsoft Teams today. Remember that a successful upgrade aligns technical and user readiness, so be sure to leverage the guidance herein as you navigate your journey to Microsoft Teams.