The Desktop Transformation Assessment (DTA) forms an integral part of the overall Desktop Transformation Model (DTM) by providing clear guidance on how to turn “Wow” into “How.”  During this series of blog posts, I’ve been discussing the seven key phases that make up the DTA.  And in the last blog post of this series, it’s time to discuss the last step of the DTA:

  1. Define Business priorities
  2. Application Assessment
  3. User Segmentation
  4. Capabilities Assessment
  5. High-Level Design
  6. Desktop Transformation Roadmap
  7. High-Level Project Plan

Now that you’re almost ready to present your key findings to the project sponsor, you should map out a high-level project plan so that you’re prepared to discuss timescales and resource requirements.  Make sure you keep it in perspective – you want to have a good overview put together, but I wouldn’t spend too much time mapping out your plan as you’re not going to have enough detail at this stage to be super accurate.

So what should you include?  The High-Level Project Plan should bring the six previous phases together into a clear desktop transformation strategy.  Treat each user group as a separate project and order them according to the priorities established during the roadmap stage of the project.  This will help to ensure that the business receives the maximum value from their investment as soon as possible.

I like to create two different graphs to describe the proposed High-Level Project Plan.  The first one provides a high-level overview that is useful for presentations and high-level discussions.  The second is a standard gant chart that provides an additional level of detail which I find useful for justifying resource requirements.  If you don’t want to re-invent the wheel, and why should you, check out Justin Zacks blog post on how you can use the Desktop Transformation Accelerator to create the project plan for you.  There is no hard and fast rule for estimating how long each phase will take as it all comes down to the complexity of the environment, skillset involved and the scale of the environment.  I’ve provided samples of each chart below.

Once I’ve created my charts and feel happy with the estimates, I’ll run through them again and make a list of requirements that need to be in place for each key date.  This is especially important in a big enterprise environment where the implementation of these activities can take a very long time.  You’d be surprised how often projects get delayed because this key step has been missed.  Watch out for the following five pre-requisites:

  1. Address the key risks identified during the Capabilities Assessment before the start of the build phase.
  2. Ensure that your hardware, networking, server virtualization, Active Directory (service accounts, policies, OU structure), database and storage requirements are in place before the start of the build phase.
  3. Licenses should ideally be purchased before the start of the build phase.
  4. Schedule training for the support staff before the start of the implementation phase.
  5. Many people under-estimate the time required to package applications.  Make sure that you start this process early enough so that the applications can be fully verified during the test phase.

In my first post on the DTA, I mentioned that there were four key questions that always get asked at the beginning of any transformation project.  By following the guidelines outlined in this blog series you should now have a good understanding on what’s required to answer them.  Here’s a recap:

  1. What do I need to do first? The High-Level Project Plan prioritizes the remediation of key risks identified during the Capabilities Assessment.  It also uses the results from the Desktop Transformation Roadmap to prioritize the design, build and test phases for each user group identified.
  2. Will it work in my environment? The Capabilities Assessment reviews the existing environment to identify any gaps and risks, such as a lack of data center space, insufficient bandwidth or missing skill sets within the support team.
  3. How much will it cost? The overall cost can be calculated based on the remedial actions identified during the Capabilities Assessment, Infrastructure identified in the High-Level Design and resources requested in the High-Level Project Plan.
  4. How long will it take? The High-Level Project Plan will provide a time estimate for each user group by project phase.

I hope you’ve found this series of blog posts informative.  If you have any questions or suggested topics for future blog posts, please leave a comment below.

If you’d like to learn even more about the desktop transformation model, why not check out the five-part breakout on Desktop Transformation at Citrix Synergy San Francisco on May 10th?

Here are the details:

SYN131 – Begin your desktop transformation journey with Citrix Consulting best practices

May 10, 11:30 am – 12:15 pm

  • Overview of desktop transformation methodology
  • Best practices and guidance on the user segmentation proces
  • How to succeed by using tools from Citrix Consulting

SYN139 – Successful desktop transformation design with Citrix Consulting best practices

May 10, 2:00 pm – 2:45 pm

  • A modular architecture that will accommodate growth
  • Best practices for image delivery and desktop design
  • Developing a “shopping cart” for required hardware

SYN133 – Design the desktop transformation user experience with Citrix Consulting best practices

May 10, 3:00 pm – 3:45 pm

  • Providing a personalized environment through the use of profiles and personal vDisks
  • Aligning security features with user segment requirements
  • Optimizing Citrix HDX technologies for fast or challenging networks

SYN135 – Go live with your desktop transformation project with Citrix Consulting best practices

May 10, 4:00 pm – 4:45 pm

  • Validation of the solution with testing scenarios
  • Recommendations for developing a pilot program
  • Guidelines on incorporating additional user segments

SYN137 – Keep your desktop transformation environment running smoothly with Citrix Consulting best practices

May 10, 5:00 pm – 5:45 pm

  • Operating guidelines for a transformed desktop environment
  • Tools to help automate and simplify ongoing maintenance
  • Baseline troubleshooting tips to track down an issue’s root cause

I hope to see you there!

Andy Baker – Architect
Worldwide Consulting
Desktop & Apps Team
Virtual Desktop Handbook
Project Accelerator