It's a project, literally

As a bigger fan of Tim Tebow the person than I am of Tim Tebow the quarterback, I accept the notion that as a football player, he is "a project," ...

From the October, 2013 Issue of Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine

by Patrick McLaughlin

As a bigger fan of Tim Tebow the person than I am of Tim Tebow the quarterback, I accept the notion that as a football player, he is "a project," meaning that in order for him to achieve success as a player, a significant amount of coaching, managing and directing will have to happen. Some things will have to break in his favor, and overall a lot of work will have to be put in by the football player as well as those around him. So as not to appear like I'm picking on one person, the term "project" has been used to describe many athletes who represent such an ambitious challenge for those mentoring them.

The term "project" is well-placed in that context, I believe, because it does a pretty good job of summing up how much effort everyone is in for. Yet in the cabling industry, you and your professional colleagues and peers are involved in projects all the time. Far from a disparaging term when referring to a communications-system installation, a "project" nonetheless requires a significant amount of time, coordination and heavy lifting (figuratively and literally).

One of the articles in this issue ("11 steps to holistic data center design," page 13) summarizes what it takes to project manage a data center build. While we live and breathe structured cabling systems daily, the cabling occupies just 1 of the 11 steps listed in the article. Futhermore, author Michael Salvador offers up, managing the project should be the sole full-time responsibility of an individual, as opposed to an add-on task to somebody's already full workload.

Over the past year or so, I have seen increasing recognition of the vital role project management plays in our industry. Individuals can earn industry-specific professional credentials for their project-management capabilities. And just as interesting, I think, is the incorporation of capabilities into some of the newer tools to hit the market, which are aimed at easing the burden of an installation's project manager. In particular, some providers of handheld tools and testers that are used on the jobsite have developed ways to make their tools not just neutral, but positives when it comes to coordinating the many aspects of project fulfillment. From storage and transfer of data to expediting the process by which a procedure (e.g. testing, labeling) is carried out, a new generation of tools is being brought to market with project management in mind.

Successfully installing network infrastructure is a juggling act that you have been pulling off for some time. Others are now noticing too. ::

PATRICK McLAUGHLIN
Chief Editor
patrick@pennwell.com

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