Project Management lessons from managing complex, remote and multi-site projects

The role of advanced audio-visual solutions in the enterprise is becoming increasingly important as we embrace the new world of work. This new workplace is characterized by hybrid and distributed teams where work happens in the most efficient, productive, and time-efficient manner. Collaboration and connectedness continue to drive innovation in a location-agnostic manner. Such a hybrid workplace needs to have a robust audio-visual backbone to address the needs of the ever-evolving and perennially growing enterprise. Delivering these complex AV projects requires a special emphasis on project management, as we will see soon.

The enterprise today clearly needs increased connectedness. As such the technology supporting board and conference rooms, ideation rooms, customer experience centres needs to deliver elevated, high-quality and seamless experiences that meet end-user expectations.

Given the quality of the implementations impacts the AV experience, here are a few things to bear in mind to make sure that they help in delivering their purpose. These are some of our project management lessons from delivering complex, multi-locational, and remote projects that are critical enablers of business performance.

Project plan documentation

Identifying the purpose of the AV system and how it needs to operate are critical steps in AV project management. Visualizing how the system needs to operate becomes crucial for the right solution design. For example, an AV implementation for an experience centre will have very sophisticated projection and presentation requirements and needs. A board room set-up may be no less sophisticated, but the emphasis here may be more on ease of use and specific functionality. This step also involves identifying where the AV systems will live and firming up maintenance budgets and timelines, locations, etc, all become important consideration points.

Detailed project plan documents that define the key actions, timelines, and resource requirements, including aspects like locations of displays, AV components, networking, and IT dependencies contribute towards smooth project management.

Considering the complexity of installation

Robust AV implementations that drive today’s enterprise have complex installation needs. Every AV product is different with varied features. AV solutioning has to ensure that a complex portfolio of high-tech hardware fits in with the audio-visual needs and is also aligned to the infrastructure needs of the organization.

These solutions also need to fit organically into the aesthetics of the operating environment and must be located unobtrusively. Form and functionality design and ensuring that the solution sits comfortably within the electrical architecture also become essential.

AV installations also need to plug seamlessly into the IT ecosystem. As such, to avoid technical installation errors analysing the company infrastructure and conducting inspections and site visits become essential. This makes sure any technical dependencies are factored in and compatibility and integration issues can be eliminated later.

Multiple stakeholder management

Large, AV projects have multiple key stakeholders, vendors, and customer personnel that AV integrators need to manage efficiently.

That apart, there are a plethora of contracts for hardware, software, tools, and services which includes training that needs to be synchronized within the project vision such that it meets the customer requirements. These contracts also have to be accepted by all the stakeholders and reviewed frequently for metrics like SLAs and quality standards.

Manage disparate geographical needs

AV solutions often must be implemented in enterprise offices that could be in different geographical locations. Managing the decision-makers and the end-users in geographically disparate locations across the globe comes with its own set of challenges. Of course, so does managing installation teams spread across locations!

AV project management must manage language preferences, HSEQ policies that apply within the country, and commercials impacted due to currency changes. The inability to manage this is a potential risk to the success of the project.

Having on-site engineers then not only makes the installation process much smoother but also ensures that all these moving targets can be accounted for.

Design solutioning

At times AV installation needs to become extremely sophisticated to meet the evolved needs of today’s enterprise. These installations not only need to capably fulfil the current needs of the organization but also should be future-ready to accommodate the evolving AV needs of the enterprise.

As AV-solutions becomes a core technology that empowers business stakeholders to build a better connection with the workforce, drive powerful brand experiences, and engage customers both external and internal, the right design solution and its correct implementation become essential.

Using the best AV products and ensuring the right IT integrations and infrastructure support are important consideration points. Effectively using diverse technologies such as video and audio over IP, managed services, and more should also be effectively harnessed and considered in the design solutioning and implementation to effectively address customer needs, expectations, and deliverables.

Additionally, developing strong Annual Maintenance Contracts (AMC) become essential. A well-designed AMC contract defines the maintenance schedules and ensures that the customer gets qualified support in the event something goes wrong. Establishing regular maintenance schedules also makes sure that the functionality or performance of the solution remains optimal and improves continuously to meet dynamic enterprise needs.

Most AV projects end up becoming project management tasks for the ages. It’s in that environment that our installation teams set out to deliver customer success is project after project.

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