An unfortunate side-effect while migrating Sharepoint content from 2007 to 2013 causes some embarassment

A client I’ve been working with recently has been migrating their Intranet from SharePoint 2007 to 2013, and we’ve been using the pretty impressive Quest Migration Suite for SharePoint, which is now sold by Dell since the Quest change of ownership.

I’ve found the tool to be very impressive, quite efficient and generally fairly intuitive, but I came across an interesting issue, or perhaps “side-effect”, that after reviewing the User Manual, isn’t “warned against”, but probably deserves to be.

I endeavored to migrate the entire contents of a now inactive SharePoint 2007 site, whose functionality had been superseded by a new ASP.NET MVC application, by selecting all of the items under the “Lists” node in the source site, and then pasting all of these “Lists” in the destination “Lists” node of the destination SharePoint 2013 site.

The tool is impressively smooth in the way it handles this and iterates over the various different list and library types and transfers them very smoothly.

However a few minutes later phone calls started coming in about unexpected emails from senior members of the business being notified about tasks being assigned to them, all relating to some seemingly very old activities.

It didn’t take too long to realise I should have been slightly more selective about the Lists I migrated. One of the lists I had migrated was the Workflow Tasks list, and as the Quest Tool migrated each new Task item, SharePoint generated an email to each of the senior Business people, to whom the original task had been allocated several years previously. Ouch! We quickly interrupted the migration, but the mass of emails already sent had done quite a bit of PR damage.

The lesson learnt is consider carefully just what ramifications your migration of SharePoint content will have, and consider carefully whether all of your SharePoint content really needs to be migrated. My suggestion to Quest is that they should perhaps include a note in their documentation to that effect, or perhaps even warn when any SharePoint list with Task Content Types is about to be migrated – the effect would always be the same I suspect. I couldn’t find it if it is there.

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