So, you’ve been appointed the project manager for upgrading Tessitura to v.16. A smooth transition requires more than just a click. In the world of nonprofit arts organizations, where every ticket sale and donation counts, planning, communication, and rigorous testing are your best allies.
Here’s your guide to make the process as painless as possible.
Choose your target upgrade date wisely. Ideally, you’ll shoot for a slower time in the year. You’ll want to give the process at least six months depending on how many customizations you have.
Before hitting the upgrade button, educate yourself on Tessitura v.16 changes. There are a lot (many very exciting) and we highlighted about some of them here. You'll want to consider their implications for your organization.
Some features may no longer work in v.16. Take inventory of your customizations; remember, the more customizations, the more time you’ll need to work out defects and bugs.
The pre-upgrade planning and preparation process is also a great time to review your business rules, ticket policies, and more. Toss out anything that’s dated, not aligned with customer behavior, or not working.
Before you jump into the process, tell your colleagues and vendors (especially if you have customizations). You don’t want to create a nightmare for someone else when they log into an upgraded system and it doesn't work. Or even worse, not having your ticket and donation pathways working.
Highlight the changes. Get everyone excited about the improvements and be honest about the bugs. Change can be hard, especially at an arts organization. You can make it easier on everyone by telling them what they need to learn to transition seamlessly.
If you don’t already have one, create a testing checklist with space to document bugs. List all the areas of your system. Save it in an easy-to-find place for the next upgrade. If this sounds overwhelming, reach out; we’ve got you covered.
It's also a great time to update your documentation with your new processes and avoid confusion as your colleagues more to new adventures or transition to new roles.
You’ll first upgrade in your test environment. Test your entire system at least once before the big upgrade in your live environment and immediately post-upgrade.
Multiple testers can catch what one person might miss.
Track your error messages on that checklist – no exceptions. When the bugs show their faces, don’t panic. Assess them, understand the time and effort required to fix them.
(Bonus) Week Of Upgrade Reminder
Although your upgrade will ideally take place in the middle of the night, put a note in an easy-to-see location on your site to alert people that your upgrade is taking place.
Share special steps with colleagues (ex. make sure you’re logged out during a certain time frame).
Test the basics, then all functionality, and then re-assess. What works? What doesn’t? Create a roadmap of features you want to activate.
Upgrade day isn’t just a date on the calendar – it’s a detailed process. With careful planning, communication, and testing, you can make it less painful. Break a leg!
Upgrades take countless hours of work. NEW Marketing Solutions can project manage your upgrade for you, so your team can focus on selling tickets and building your audiences.
Click here to schedule a mini-strategy session and explore how we can help.