Why you should move
Windows 11 is happening, whether you like it or not! And not only that, it's also packed with some great new features that will make your computing experience even better! Windows 11 has better integrated security and a user-experience that's much cleaner than Windows 10 and more intuitive. I'm pretty sure they hired some Mac developers and stole some great ideas from Apple. So what are some of the features you'll want to take advantage of in Windows 11? Here's a list of some of my favorites:
- Smoother graphical experience. Rounded corners, more responsive Windows, centered taskbar, better window shading, and everything just feels cleaner.
- Widgets. Widgets are these cool items you can add to give you the data you want at-a-glance. You can add your calendar, to-do list, stocks, weather, and more. This is also something more apps will be developing as this feature gains adoption
- Integration to Microsoft Teams. If you're not already utilizing Microsoft Teams for your business you are way behind. This app is fantastic and only getting better. In Windows 11 it has more built-in integrations to make it even better.
- Better multi-desktop management. Windows 11 has also made having multiple desktops open even easier! If you're not using this feature that's another "biggy" that's just getting better and better all the time!
- Security at the chip level. Windows 11 is also implementing better security controls. Many computers won't even support Windows 11 because they're old and crappy! This is wonderful! Windows 11 is going to help force manufacturers to require basic security controls that have been standard in better computers for years and there's no reason for them being missing in this day and age. In the long run, this will actually help to reduce the total cost of good computers, even if it's at the expense of being able to buy something that's terrible (but who wants that anyway?).
Why you should wait
There are three main reasons you should wait to move to Windows 11: Microsoft is catching up with it, Vendors are catching up with it, and you'll have to catch up with it.
- Microsoft is catching up with it. With any new operating system there will be bumps from the vendor themselves. They've already done a lot of testing and are doing a staged roll-out, but you can be sure there are more challenges coming. They are going to get some things wrong, just like we've seen with the browser printer from a recent update (Although it also affected lots of Windows 10 machines).
- Vendors are catching up with it. Just like Microsoft is learning about it so are vendors. There will be lots of great products built for it, but you can be sure software and hardware vendors are going to have to spends lots of man hours understanding the OS, what it can do, and how to program for it.
- You'll have to catch up with it. Just like the Windows 11 team and their vendors, so every user will have to get used to the new interface and functionality. Change is often hard for folks who just want to get in and work, so this is another struggle every organization will have.
When and how to move to Windows 11
When should you move?
First, it's important to note that you should move. If you're using Windows at some point you should move to Windows 11 because it's the future of Windows and it's what will be supported. If you move sooner than later you will also be able to move to Windows 11 for free instead of paying an upgrade cost if you wait too long. Secondly, you should consider the challenges above before you decide to pull the trigger. I would recommend a couple of key milestones before you pull the trigger: 1) Are all your computers compatible? Because Microsoft is doing a staged rollout you may not all have the ability to upgrade right now. Make sure you can do it all together and upgrade any computers that may not meet the requirements. 2) Is your team at a place with capacity to spend a couple hours "playing" and learning a new system? 3) Do you have someone you trust to lead the charge and help folks get acquainted?
How should you move?
Once you've made the decision to move over, you should do it in a staged and methodical manner. Identify who your change leaders will be. Who are the people that will help others navigate the new interface and get excited about the new features? These are the people who should be your beta test group. After this group has vetted the operating system for a few weeks, then roll out the change to the rest of the organization. Here's what a potential schedule could look like for an organization with 50 computers:
Week 1-2: Change leaders upgrade to Windows 11 and test functionality of each program/feature that the company uses. If everything checks out, move on. If not, continue in this phase until all programs and features work properly.
Week 3-4: Company leaders communicate upcoming changes and the rollout process and that the new system has been vetted. Communicate where to go for training on the new system and who to contact if you get stuck. I would recommend adding some video resources on the new interface. Consider their pre-release video (definitely a hype video, but it sets a positive tone): https://youtu.be/Uh9643c2P6k. Consider having the change leaders talk about their experience and how it's worked fine.
Week 5-8: Migrate the rest of the company doing approximately 30% each week, with the final week being set aside for fallout. This also provides the room for catching individuals unique challenges if they have any.