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Every project involves some level of IT planning. Throughout my experiences in project management over the past decade, I have learned first-hand the importance of establishing the IT plan early in the project process. Below are four crucial reasons why I believe that IT planning needs to be addressed and included early in the project process:
- Early planning allows the right infrastructure to be captured in the construction documents to avoid costly change orders. Infrastructure can specifically include supplemental HVAC, equipment-specific electrical requirements, and blocking for audio/visual equipment.
- Early identification of long lead items can save time in the overall project schedule. Some IT equipment has a long lead time which can cause a schedule delay. Early planning can identify these items and allow for either pre-ordering of the equipment or can account for that lead time in the overall project schedule.
- IT planning allows for more accurate cost estimation early in the project. IT equipment is a major expense for projects, so understanding the equipment needs early allows the preliminary budget to be more accurately reflective of the client’s needs.
- IT preparation sets an expectation for end-user functionality to ensure that all requirements are met. By defining the needs of the end-user and what functions are paramount, you ensure that the IT scope of work aligns with the functional needs of the client. These defined needs also allow the client to solicit feedback from their employees to ensure their business needs are being adequately addressed.
Be sure to incorporate early IT planning into your next project, it can save major headaches as you get into construction!
-Camden Cowan, Project Manager with Watchdog Real Estate Project Management