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Top three Jira migration misconceptions

If you haven’t done a software migration before, it’s hard to know what to expect. How do you properly plan for something unknown? How does the configuration and amount of data impact complexity? How long will it take? The answers to these questions are different for each organization and application. Use these common misconceptions to help plan and set expectations.

Migration is Quick

The first misconception is that migration is a quick and easy weekend activity. While the actual transfer of data may not take that long, the process of preparing to move the data and testing the results often takes weeks or months.

If you’re migrating six or fewer apps and have less than 750 users, Atlassian classifies the migration as simple. Atlassian recommends to start planning three to six months before the migration date.

If you’re migrating more apps, users, have incompatible apps, or have customizations, you should plan for a more complex migration. Complex migrations may require six to twelve months of planning.

Have you cleared your calendar yet?

Migration is Simple

How complicated could it be? You simply pick up your data and move it, right? Unfortunately, it’s rarely that simple.

Application settings are usually more complex than you think. There are probably settings you forgot about or don’t even know exist. Some features work differently between versions or deployment types. There are apps that work in Server but not in Cloud. You’ll need to uncover your application’s challenges and create a plan to handle them.

While tools exist to help with analysis and the actual data transfer, there’s no “one click” solution to run the entire migration project for you. You should treat this project like any other strategic company initiative. Designate a project manager, create a project plan, and devote more time than you think you’ll need for discovery and testing.

No Strategy Needed

Hopefully by now you’re convinced not to underestimate a migration! Before you start, you should determine an overall strategy. What is your main migration goal? Form a project team of stakeholders and make their first duty to answer this question.

Is the goal to:

  • Have the target application behave exactly the way it does in the source application?
  • Migrate all data “as is”?
  • Only migrate development project data?
  • Give users different abilities than they had before?
  • Clean up the configuration before the migration or clean up after (or both)?
  • All of the above or something else?

Determine your goals in the beginning so you can craft a strategy to support them. Without goals, there’s no way to measure success.

Regardless of the size of your migration or the specifics of your situation, be sure to take your time, do a trial run (or many runs), and don’t perform the final migration until everything is accounted for.

For help planning and executing your migration, download my free 180 page book, The Ultimate Guide to Jira Migrations: How to migrate from Jira Server to Data Center or Cloud from the Botron website.


I am currently involved in a Cloud migration and I must admit that even after doing thorough investigation and analysis, we encounter something new almost every couple of days - it can be due to marketplace applications or issues in migrating users which then require more time and effort for the migration.

So yes, migration requires a lot of planning and finalizing a strategy.

This article provides good insights to get ready for migration.

Like # people like this
Dave Liao Community Leader Apr 05, 2021

@Rachel Wright - this is a good restatement of why teams should allocate time to a Jira-to-Jira migration (no matter what kind of Jiras they are).

Every good project manager should link to this article when they're roadmapping their migration plans! 😉


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