Appendix C: Creating a Pilot Program
Following are the steps necessary to create a pilot program. These are intended to be guidelines, as every environment is unique.
It also makes good practice to prepare a test plan and checklists for lab tests, and then use the test checklists to record satisfactory completion of tasks and note all problems with the process. Also, prepare a checklist to test each deployment and distribution strategy.
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Step #1: Become Familiar with Tools
Prepare custom packages for deployment:
Install and run the Internet Explorer Administration Kit 5 (Internet Explorer Administration Kit) Configuration wizard.
Build custom packages containing the distribution files.
Configure browser automatic-configuration files (.ins, .js, .pac).
Configure download sites and install the distribution files.
Copy distribution files to compact discs and floppy disks.
Deploy custom package to lab clients:
Run Internet Explorer 5 Setup to install the custom package on each client.
Install using each available user install option.
Operate lab client software after custom package is installed:
Run Active Desktop™ to test all desktop features.
Run Internet Explorer to test all add-ins and features.
Run business applications to check for satisfactory operation.
Restore lab clients to their original state:
Uninstall Internet Explorer 5 and add-ins.
Verify that Internet Explorer components have been removed.
Test the desktop and business applications.
Administrators should prepare a test lab and then test the proposed deployment strategies on lab computers that represent typical client/server configurations for the organization. If an organization is large or has groups with vastly different computing environments or needs, administrators may need to prepare multiple test labs and conduct tests at multiple sites.
Step #2: Prepare the Lab
Set aside a physical space for each lab and acquire a mix of computers that accurately reflects the organization's hardware and software computing environment. If the organization uses portable computers that dial in from remote locations, or if additional servers or mainframe computers for business data are needed, give the lab computers an analog phone line and appropriate access to the network.
Configure lab clients and servers to represent typical business and user configurations for the organization. Be sure to include all operating system and business application configurations, as well as Internet and browser configurations. In addition, be sure to document the lab setup and maintain a record of any changes made to the setup.
Conduct the Tests
To test the deployment in the lab:
Perform all deployment tasks using the test plan checklists.
Identify problems with the deployment process and migration issues.
Revise the deployment plan based on test feedback.
Maintain a record of all issues and problems encountered. These records will help when designing solutions to correct the problems. Be sure to follow the testing process described in this section when testing the solutions.
Before deploying Internet Explorer 5 to the organization, plan a pilot program to further test and refine deployment strategies and configurations. The pilot program is a scaled-down version of the full deployment using pilot groups that are representative of the users in the organization. To plan the pilot program:
Select appropriate pilot groups.
Document resources and tasks needed for the pilot program.
Develop a user-support plan.
Develop a user-training plan.
Step #3: Prepare the Pilot Program
Select Pilot Groups
Identify and select pilot groups, and prepare them for the pilot program. If the organization is large, or has groups with vastly different computing environments or needs, several pilot groups may be needed. Locate groups that are representative of the users in the organization. Make sure volunteers have enough time in their schedules and are willing to cooperate in the pilot program.
Document Resources and Tasks
Identify the tasks and resources necessary to conduct the pilot program, and add them to the project plan. Be sure to budget resources for the pilot program.
Develop the User Support Plan
Develop a user-support plan that meets the needs of the users. Identify the support staff and resources necessary, and then budget to make sure those support staff and resources are available for the pilot program. User support may include providing online support for deployment through a Web page on the administrator's intranet, as well as providing support through the administrator's Help desk.
This pilot user-support plan is the basis for the final deployment. Administrators should revise the plan based on feedback from the pilot program and use it to support users during the final deployment.
Develop the User Training Plan
Administrators should develop a training plan that meets user needs. Identify the training staff and resources necessary, and then make sure the staff and resources are available for the pilot program. User training may include Internet Explorer instruction on the administrator's intranet and group preparation.
This training plan is the basis for the final deployment user-training plan. Administrators should revise the plan based on feedback from the pilot program and use it to train users for the final deployment.
The administrator can conduct the pilot program by preparing the pilot groups and then implementing the pilot program plan.
Prepare Pilot Groups
Announce the pilot program well in advance of the start date and follow up the announcement with several reminders. Conduct meetings with the pilot group managers and with the entire group to set their expectations and to answer any questions they have. Provide a presentation that explains how users will install Internet Explorer 5. Identify installation options available and explain where users can go for support.
Conduct training on the new features of Internet Explorer 5. Use e-mail to broadcast information about training conducting on your intranet. Be sure to explain how users can benefit from visiting the training page.
Step #4: Implement the Pilot Program Plan
To implement the pilot program plan:
Prepare custom packages for deployment.
Deploy custom packages to pilot users.
Monitor and support users as they install Internet Explorer.
Prepare Custom Packages
To prepare the custom packages:
Install Internet Explorer 5 on the production computer.
Install the Internet Explorer Administration Kit on the production computer.
Run the Internet Explorer Administration Kit Customization wizard as Corporate Administrator.
Build the required custom packages.
Configure download sites and install the distribution files.
Copy distribution files to compact discs and floppy disks (if necessary).
Deploy Custom Packages
Use the appropriate distribution methods to deploy the custom packages of Internet Explorer 5 to pilot users. For example, the administrator can send e-mail messages to users that tell them how to download the custom package. Alternately, the administrator can attach batch files to the e-mail messages and instruct users to double-click the batch file to install the custom package. If the custom packages are being distributed on compact discs or floppy disks, distribute them to the users and provide e-mail instructions on custom package installation.
Monitor and Support Users
The user support team can monitor the progress of the pilot program and provide user assistance as necessary. Be sure to document all user trouble calls and problems as well as the staff resources required to support users during the pilot program. The administrator should use his/her experience during the pilot program to plan for the resources needed to support the final deployment.
Use the finalized deployment plan to deploy Internet Explorer 5 browser software to the rest of the organization. To finalize the deployment plan:
Obtain feedback from all participants in the pilot, including users.
Document lessons learned during the pilot program.
Incorporate lessons learned and participant feedback into the deployment project plan.
Step 5: After the Pilot Program
After the pilot program is completed, administrators will most likely take the lessons learned and use them to update the Internet Explorer package. At the least, these changes will need to be validated in the lab. If any major changes are made, the administrator may decide to re-pilot the latest version. This iterative process of Planning[right]Developing[right]Testing can occur several times.