Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services

PeopleTools Upgrade - Behind the Scenes

This is the second installment of a three-part series about the PeopleTools upgrade. Check out Part 1 to learn more about why the project was so important and what benefits were gained from it.

"I was very impressed by how well ITServices worked with the business units within the Office of the University Registrar. I certainly appreciated the collaborative approach that ITS staff members took to ensure that the decisions being made were what was best for everyone and I believe that this, ultimately, led to the success of the project."

~ Barbara Emorine, Associate University Registrar, Student Records and Services

PeopleTools Upgrade - Innovation in Action
"Innovation in Action" - a graphical view of the PeopleTools upgrade. (PDF, 1.36 MB; Text-only version)

Months of planning and testing had gone into the PeopleTools upgrade, which was a combined effort of teams from seven units across four departments. During the weekend of the upgrade and cutover, 42 ITServices staff worked around the clock, with some staying up for 46 straight hours. Several other business unit staff generously gave up their time to assist with validation, and due to a temporary issue with remote access, those planning to work from home had to come to the campus ? some bringing their children with them.

Upgrade timeline

In the weeks and days prior to the upgrade, several high-level notifications were sent out to inform the campus community and specific stakeholder groups about the upgrade schedule and timing of the resulting weekend-long outage. On Friday, April 4, a final notice was sent at 5 pm ? just before the service was shut down.

For the first few hours, a series of system tasks were completed, then the team began the lengthy process of upgrading the databases, which continued until just after midnight. During the early hours of Saturday morning, server upgrades and database backups were performed. Once those were completed, the PeopleSoft systems and business analysts worked on configuring and validating the new system. Despite some complications in the beginning, the project was running ahead of schedule by the end of the day. This was due to contingency that was built into the plan, but ultimately was not needed. At 5:30 pm on Saturday, a notice was sent out to report that everything was going well.

Work continued to stay on schedule on Sunday and for the morning and early afternoon, business owners carried out the functional validation to make sure the application was working as expected. By late afternoon, the system was shut down once more, backups were made, and the last remaining administrative tasks were performed. At around 5 pm on Sunday, the project team confirmed the upgrade was complete, and a final announcement was sent out at 7 pm.

Project team in the war room
Team members from ITServices assembled in the "war room" in Dupuis Hall ahead of the system shutdown scheduled for Friday at 5 pm.

Throughout the weekend and the days that followed, many notes of sincere gratitude and praise were exchanged. Even Principal Daniel Woolf offered words of support and congratulations through social media.

Gail Ferland, Associate Director (Infrastructure Services) and project manager, lauded the extraordinary effort demonstrated by everyone involved, including staff who kept other services running smoothly by filling in for those committed to the project.

"From the teams that stayed up for hours (46 in total), those that worked over the weekend, all those that answered phone calls and emails to assist in problem solving and troubleshooting, your effort is what made this weekend the success it was.. Included in this list are all those that did testing, planning, and the implementation of all the components required for this project. As well, to all those that had their priorities bumped so this work could be completed... THANK YOU!"

After the go-live, there was still remaining work to do. This included general cleanup and decommissioning of the old system, administrative tasks, project reporting and documentation, and client support. End users reported minimal issues, which is impressive for a project of this size and complexity. Most critical issues were resolved within a week, and any remaining issues were relatively minor and resolved within the second week. These were mainly due to older operating systems and browser support, including outdated bookmarks and caching.

Keep reading for Part 3 - an overview the PeopleSoft upgrade plan and where we go from here!