How to upgrade anything, part 6 of 6: Postmortem

Chances are, there’s something you’re settling for right now. Something that annoys you periodically but you haven’t gotten around to dealing with it yet. We’ll tackle that problem in bite-sized steps in this 6-part series on upgrading:

So when I say “upgrading,” you can think of software, hardware, services, or pretty much anything. I’ll be using my experience updgrading this very blog as an example, but you can substitute your specific technological annoyance.

You did it!

You prepared, you kept careful track while you upgraded, and you tested everything when you were done. Yay! Now you can forget about it until the next time you have to upgrade, right?

Well, yes, you could perfectly well do that. You did a great job with your upgrade and you’re technically finished. But I want to suggest one more step that may seem like drudgery now, but will pay off bigtime later.

The postgame analysis

This is where you ask yourself how you feel about the whole process, and really notice the answer(s).

There may be obvious lessons that show up immediately, like “next time I’ll make sure I have an AC adapter with the right size plug” or “I’ll look up the hours that Tech Support is open before I start, so I don’t call them at 4:30 on Friday only to find that they’ve gone home for the entire weekend.”

But even if you don’t have any of these hit-you-upside-the-head “Oh, I should’ve…” moments (and yay for you if you don’t!), you can still ask yourself where you felt least comfortable, if there was anything that would have helped make it easy and simple and even pleasant.

It’s OK to live in a dreamworld here for a moment.

The thing that would help the process feel safe for you may not feel possible in the real world, but you are still allowed to notice it and wish for it.

For instance: You might wish the manufacturer’s instructions were written better. You might wish the dialog boxes during the upgrade process were easier to read or explained your choices more clearly. You may wish there were a reset button so you could cancel and start over when you got confused.

These may seem like things you have no control over. And it’s OK to be annoyed by stuff like this. (Whine! Rant!)

And then ask yourself if there’s anything that you do in fact have control over.

If you found the instructions onscreen hard to read, it may be possible to adjust the font size of your computer — if that in itself doesn’t stress you out (and you have until your next upgrade to figure it out). You could, if you feel really brave, write to the manufacturer and tell them what you found confusing in the instructions. (You totally don’t have to, though.)

Most importantly, you can make notes to yourself (on the same page or in the same file as your upgrade log, described in Part 4) about what you might want to remember next time, any tips or tricks you got from tech support or from friends, and how you felt about the process.

Including your elation at your own success. Because next time you go through this process, you’ll not only have helpful reminders from yourself, you’ll have proof that you’ve done it before and it worked and you felt good after it was over.

And if you realized that you really don’t want to do this again?

That’s a voice I hear loud and clear in my head as I’m writing this post. “What if the main thing I learned is that it takes up way too much of my time and energy to prepare, do the upgrade, and do the after-analysis? What if I discover that I really just want someone else to do it for me?


Great information!

And I promise that there are people who can do this stuff for you. Whatever it is. Whether it’s setting up a new computer, installing a word processor, upgrading your WordPress installation, migrating your Blogger blog to WordPress, or… pretty much anything.

There are people out there who are experts at all the things you hate.

And if the pain of do-it-yourself upgrading is more than the pain of paying someone to do it for you (and only you can make this determination, because it’s your pain we’re talking about here), then by all means, get some professional help!

Either way, you win.

Previously in this series: Part 5: Test, test, test!