Of all the challenges facing small business in NJ, network installation should not be one of them, but all too often is. Worse, much of the challenge an installation project poses is self-inflicted and due to lack of management processes and poor communications. Here are two ways you can minimize those issues and stay on track with your project. Treat It Like a Project It is easy for small businesses to treat projects as “seat of your pants” type endeavors. Schedules are lax, executive sponsors blurry, benchmarks murky, communications on a “need to know” basis, budgets open-ended, etc., are all symptoms of that type of environment. While that may work with smaller projects, it is killer with something enterprise-wide. Adopting a formal, project management structure will clear up a lot of the unclear aspects of the project, give it firm parameters, lines of authority and accountability. Every project has to have a formal project management system in place to keep it on track. This is particularly true if the business undergoing the network installation includes more than one location. The needs of a network installation in NJ, for example, are likely going to be different than the needs of a satellite office in North Dakota, but both are equally important. A formal management system addresses those two similar, but diverse, operations and their individual needs, prioritizes them and governs the implementation phase. Open Communications Failed communications processes lead to disagreements that if not corrected, eventually, lead to conflict, and in the worst case, open opposition to any type of change. For example, for a branch of a business in NJ, network installation processes might be massively inconvenient. If, though, the project is being driven by headquarters in Los Angeles and there are no communications, that NJ branch might find itself dealing with crippling downtime that barely registers on the West Coast because of the time differences. Open communications clear all that up. Holding regular status meetings where schedules are proposed and discussed, for instance, will clear up much of the confusion and avoid hostility. In the company above, moving network installation processes to after regular business hours in Los Angeles with the agreement that everything has to be back up and running by 8 a.m. EST, gives the project management and installation team firm parameters and will guide their activities. These two aspects of a successful project implementation are often ignored in a small business, to the detriment of everyone involved. Without either, for the business in NJ, network installation will mean something different than it does for a less busy branch in another state and that can lead to chaos. Making sure you have a formal project management system in place, coupled with open communications, will all but guarantee your network installation goes off as smooth as possible.
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