The next step in the deployment process is to plan a pilot deployment. A pilot deployment is simply a limited-scale deployment that is designed to test the deployment process and Vista's ability to function in your organization.
Typically, you will want to pick a group of power users for the deployment who do not have critical job functions. After all, there is a chance that the pilot deployment could result in down time for the participants if problems occur, so make sure you won't be interrupting any critical aspects of the company's business.
Try to get a diverse sampling of the user base. For example, look for users who run a diverse group of applications and who have different hardware configurations. After all, the whole point of the pilot deployment program is to get a feel for how the full-scale deployment will impact the organization, and you will not be able to accurately get a feel for that unless you use a good sampling of diverse configurations in your pilot testing.
Last year, I wrote a guide for Microsoft on planning a Vista pilot deployment program. Since this is a document that has been reviewed and officially sanctioned by Microsoft, I highly recommend reading it.
How to handle your Vista migration
Step 1: How to handle your Vista migration
Step 2: Plan a pilot deployment program
Step 3: Decide on a deployment mechanism
Step 4: Train the support staff and the end users
Step 5: Assess the results of the pilot deployment program
About the author: Brien M. Posey, MCSE, has received Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional Award four times for his work with Windows Server, IIS and Exchange Server. He has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and healthcare facilities, and was once a network administrator for Fort Knox.
This was first published in September 2008