A Guide to Structured Cabling Project Management
Structured cabling projects have multiple moving parts and sometimes encounter unforeseen challenges and obstacles that require intelligent solutions. However, many of these problems can be prevented by utilizing time-tested strategies both before and during the installation.
Read on to learn more about how to properly manage your next structured cabling project—and provide yourself with peace of mind knowing it’s all going according to plan.
Challenges of Structured Cabling Project Management
Designing and installing a structured cabling system will often come with a few common challenges that could inevitably delay your project for weeks or even months:
Lack of a Structured Cabling Plan
As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Improperly preparing for a cabling project is the #1 reason why things go wrong. Worse yet, poorly designed and implemented cabling can cause complex problems with your technology infrastructure at a much later date. By not having a solid game plan, you’re exponentially increasing the risk of installation problems that will require costly corrective solutions.
Team Roles and Responsibilities Poorly Defined
Managing roles and responsibilities require a fluid plan that considers every single contractor and tradesman on the job. For example, many team members, such as CTO’s, general contractors, and construction managers, are unaware of their roles, personal responsibilities, and the desired chain of communication. This leads to project delays, unscheduled downtime, and wasted time.
Failure to Set Expectations
The vendor installing your structured cabling is one of your most important assets during the project. When they start acting confused or showing up late to the job, this is most often due to your failure to set proper and solid expectations before the project begins. It’s often best to have everything written down on paper and passed out to all stakeholders to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Structured Cabling Project Management Solutions
The above three challenges are easily managed before installation occurs. However, the following suggestions can help ensure the project runs smoothly—and without incident—once it’s underway.
Full transparency is key when you have multiple stakeholders participating in the installation of a cabling project. You’ll need to set a definitive and clear line of communication to ensure everyone is aware of their short and long-term responsibilities. Improving transparency makes it very easy and painless to make unscheduled changes while adapting to new challenges as they may arise.
The Milestone Plan
As a project manager, you should ask your contractors and vendors for a milestone plan as part of their quote. The elements of the milestone plan should at least include a start and end date for each phase of the project.
After selecting your vendors and contractors, combine all milestone plans into one master milestone plan containing deadlines for all partners and team members. Treat it as a living document and update it regularly to avoid scheduling issues during specific project phases.
Team Stand Up Meeting
Each team member should make a regularly scheduled time for a “Team Stand Up” meeting. If social distancing is a concern, video conferencing can take the place of a physical meeting. During this time, each team member and stakeholder should provide an update on floor plans, milestones, and ensure that all parties are in alignment with the project’s goals.
This is also the time to discuss any challenges or unforeseen problems that have arisen—as it allows the project manager to intelligently reassign responsibilities and roles where necessary to prevent unnecessary delays.
Structured Cabling Project Management Risk Mitigation
Keep in mind that regardless of how well you’ve planned the project, challenges can arise when and where you least expect them. While the above suggestions can help mitigate many of the risks that are often seen with a structured cabling project, you’ll need to remain fluid and ready to address any new issues that might manifest.
The key to success and dealing with unforeseen challenges is for all parties to remain transparent, adaptable, and in regular communication with all stakeholders. As you prepare for your next structured cabling project, keep this guide handy and refer to it early and as often as you need to help ensure the best chances of success.