With Magento releasing security and functional patches for each supported release line of Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento Commerce) every quarter, merchants often get lost in how often they should upgrade Magento, which versions they should upgrade to or how to start an upgrade.
Today we address how you should upgrade Adobe (Magento) with a step-by-step upgrade process that is highly efficient while minimizing the complications related to development. With over a decade of building Adobe (Magento) stores, Le Site has perfected a very singular approach to platform upgrades. This approach includes strategic thinking that allows customers to kickstart their updates process by choosing the right versions, cutting costs, and scaling down the development work.
1. Risk assessment
The first step is the most important step of the Adobe upgrade process. You need to get the right information about the current project setup. E.g. the number of products, customers, product variations, particularities of the project, integrations, age of the project, current Magento version… This information is separated in two aspects when it comes to risk assessment: the technical evaluation and the business evaluation.
The technical evaluation considers all the development elements that can impact which Adobe version you should upgrade to and the complexity of the upgrade. These elements include installed extensions, current server, used theme, team workload, and integrations with PIM, POS, ERP, OMS, CMS, or other systems. By listing down all the elements that are part of your store, we determine if they are compatible with the new Adobe Commerce version which will help us decide on which versions we should upgrade to. This technical evaluation is like a foolproof pattern that we run each time we need to understand the technical risks related to an upgrade.
The business evaluation takes into consideration your business requirements and your current operations. We make recommendations based on what you want to achieve in the future and in conjunction with your current situation. The business evaluation is specific to each client, whereas the technical evaluation follows a pattern. For example, if a client requires a website redesign every year and new deployments every week, we would favour an approach where more regular upgrades would be done. Thus smaller jumps between versions. This upgrade strategy offers a slower upgrade process that is more flexible and comprises fewer risks. By doing smaller upgrades, we align the upgrade strategy to the client’s business processes since it’s easier to detect risks, which reduces the chance of affecting their weekly deployments and overall performance.
3. Creation of an upgrade staging environment
After addressing all the possible business and technical risks, and planning how to upgrade considering them, we move to the action phase. A dedicated staging environment needs to be created on the server. The staging environment allows you to prepare and test the upgrade. It provides you with the opportunity to catch errors and bugs without putting your site at risk.
4. Implementation of the action plan
With a staging environment set up, it’s time to start the development for the upgrade. At this point, a lead developer and a technical architect should be involved to create a “getting started” documentation that dictates a step-by-step process and feedback cycle. The goal of this strategy is to have frequent and continuous validations and deployments. It also shows where to go and is more efficient as it acts like a GPS—each time we encounter a roadblock on the development road, we adjust with a new path to reach the final objective. Once in place, the development team customizes all the applications such as brought and custom modules, the theme, and integrations.
4. QA Testing & UAT
To prevent problems before the completed Adobe Commerce upgrade is sent out for production, three types of testing have to be done: development test, internal QA and UAT.
The development team tests the code and ensures the applications are running well technically and code wise for the basic functionalities.
The internal QA tests the software to ensure it can handle required tasks in real-world scenarios, and that it meets specified requirements in the test plan. QA will help flag issues and do a general assessment of the platform performance to evaluate if it’s better than before the upgrade.
The user acceptance testing (UAT) is done to see if the end product gives the end-user the best usability or not. QA is done by the client to check if business rules are the same and the interface is similar to the past version for them to be able to operate.
5. Prepare for the go-live
At this phase, you are almost ready for the platform upgrade. To ensure the best deployment, we go through a pre-launch checklist. We do a backup of the production environment (just in case the upgrade causes problems) and the staging environment. Once it’s done, we move the staging environment to the production environment. After verifying the production is ok, we then replicate the staging environment to be a copy of the production environment.
After the go-live, it is important to monitor your website in case something goes wrong. You should follow the same approach as when you launch new implementations: monitoring and measuring performance. Since we had a clear vision about what has been updated and the metrics already set, tools should be put in place to check the impact of the changes in the layout, performance, customer experience or security that might change due to the new implementations. The sooner you notice something wrong, the better, less costly and easier it will be to fix it.
7. After the go-live
We know you might think that you can sit and rest after the upgrade, but you have to prepare for phase 2 of the upgrade. What we mean by this is that from the initial risk assessment, some modules might have been taken out of the upgrade due to high risk and the possibility of delaying the upgrade. Therefore, now that the new website is stable and running well, it’s time to plan to add these modules to the new upgraded version. The process will be easier since all of the assessments have been done prior, and you will go directly into development & QA testing.
Generally speaking, new releases deliver new capabilities to your business and make it easier for developers to work with the platform and should not be viewed as a tedious project. Having the right upgrade strategy in place and the right agency to accompany you can alleviate the process of a platform upgrade.
This Adobe Commerce upgrade strategy is just an overview of Le Site’s upgrade strategy blueprint: a highly effective method to predict scenarios and measure possible risks during your integrations and new implementations. Reach out to learn more and schedule your own upgrade plan.