Ben's Blog A place to share my thoughts

Migrating Source Control

Over the last few weeks, I have been responsible in migrating our companies source control system from tfs to git! This post - if you like - is a checklist on how I was able to encourage, remove uncertainty and persuade the company to migrate!

My task was to migrate our existing TFS system to git. I tried to make this guide source-control agnostic, but it was written with a TFS -> git migration in mind, so I have included useful links related to this when applicable.

The migration checklist is effectively broken down in four main sections:

  • Infrastructure - You have to find out how to set things up and where these things will live.
  • Repository Data - This step is to focus on only the current repository and how it will be ported across to the new repository
  • Teams & Workflows - A new source control system will require training, but also a change in workflow!
  • Concrete Steps - A step by step guide based on the first three sections!


  • Installation of source control clients on all users machines
    • Configurations, can you automate this via a package manager?
    • Is the tooling good enough in your IDE for all users or are GUIs necessary?
      • Identify which GUI clients vs CLI
  • Where to put your repository
    • In the cloud or keep it inhouse on some server?
      • you should setup a repo in the cloud and in-house and weigh up the pros and cons
    • Configuration options and make it strict!
      • the azure devops, for instance, enables you to set user permissions on who and where one can push code to
      • if you use a workflow like gitflow, see if your tools lock down the master branch for only those who deploy!
      • identify how your source control system can reject pull requests if tests fails etc (Azure devops)
  • Backup procedure
    • An important one to keep everyone calm. Ensure you understand the existing backup procedure and identify how you will backup the new repo
  • CI Pipelines
    • Do you require to update your existing CI workflows?
  • Identify a day and time to make the switch
    • You’ll do this last once you have completed all other sections. If you have a solid plan, you can keep pushing ;)

Repository Data

  • Do you migrate your old source control history to the new one?
    • is it possible? Are there limitations? Are there risks?
    • Do it and make sure you can!
  • Identify which projects you want to migrate across
    • Exclude binaries if you can!
    • look at gitignore or equivalents!
  • Once you know every project that you want to migrate across, identify if you want a single repository or split into multiple repositories

Teams and Workflows

  • Training and tutorials
    • how many will need training?
    • do you need a local expert(s) in each team? If so, they need extra training!
    • creates guides, but ensure you cover how they connect to the repository
  • Source control workflows
    • centralized, gitflow (git) etc - pros and cons and ensure you understand it
    • Branching naming strategy?
      • we went with gitflow, this is an amazing explanation. Make sure you can visualize your team(s) using this!
  • Your team and other teams
    • My company had a number of different teams using source controls in various ways. Ensure you can concretely put forward a workflow for each i.e.
      • team A on branch A (if gitflow), and team B on branch B. Everyone in B can only push to B etc.

Concrete Actions

These are the steps that each time must take in order to migrate. We have multiple teams using source control, so I make a doc for each time with the steps they will have to make. Here is an example how my document looked:

  1. Create new repository -> doc/instructions on how to do this
  2. Repo configuration -> doc/instructions on how you do this
  3. Migrating history -> doc/instructions

  4. Setup repository workflow - If you’re using a more elaborate workflow, like gitflow:
  5. Create the branches -> doc/instructions on how you do this
  6. Configure the branches -> doc/instructions on how you setup branch policies 1. This should configure all steps for the workflow

  7. Client Installations and configurations
  8. Step by step guide on how to configure a client

Hopefully, by having structure and providing your manager with a step-by-step guide, it will make the transition less risky! Good luck!