If you don't like the F-Bomb...

Every summer, it seems like half our campus is under construction.

There is a flurry of activity during the months the students are away and by this time of year with just over a week left before classes, emotions are well... a little on the anxious side.

In the genteel, professional world of the IT department... there are certain words that are not heard very often.

Words that rhyme with "truck shoe" and "clucking".

But you sure hear them at the construction site.

Image: MS Office Imagebank
And since IT is usually the last department in the site before occupancy, it is easy to suggest that we are the hold up.  After all, who can't do three weeks worth of equipment installation work in one week?

And since we are perceived to be holding things up, sometimes the F-bomb gets launched in our direction.

If you take it personally, you are sunk.

If your team is REALLY holding things up because of lack of preparation or poor coordination, you are sunk.

But if not...

You need to be there for your team, and learn to speak to the issues. You don't have to use the F-bomb, but you need to stand your ground and find innovative ways to get the job done on time.

The construction manager wants results.

Your team's job is to deliver those results.

Of course the real solution is to have been part of the project planning process from the early stages so the right amount of time is allocated to do the work. The reality is that even with the best planning there are things that can throw a construction schedule off leaving the IT department pressed for time at the end of the project.

As an IT leader, you can't sit on the sidelines with construction projects.  Either you, or someone from your team needs to be responsible for interaction with the construction manager.  You need someone who knows IT needs (Architects are notorious for not allowing for things like enough conduits for cabling, or power for a room full of computers, or my favorite omission - wiring closets that are actually suitable for switches).

This person also needs to be versed in construction practices and project management.  He or she will need incredibly thick skin, and the ability to converse in the language of construction.

At my last position, we averaged a new major campus building every year.  By embedding an IT person in the property development team, we eliminated many of the headaches of the last minute IT rush, and saved the school literally tens of thousands of dollars in costs.

In my current position, this is a part time responsibility (different scope) but just as necessary.

As you plan out the mix of skills for your IT department, have you included a construction project manager? One who knows which words rhyme with "truck shoe" and are not offended?


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