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The Journey Of 1000 Miles. . .Starts By Changing The Distance

June 17, 2020

I do lots of project work. In fact, it’s almost the only thing I do. I’m technically trained as a Program Manager. I got a certificate and everything. It’s called a PMP, Program Manager Professional. It was the hardest test I ever took. Four hours. I don’t remember what score I got. Only that I passed all four sections on the first try.

But, nobody really cares. In fact, at this point you are wondering why I bothered to write such a boring opening paragraph. (Yeah, me too.)

Projects are how we do much if not most of our work. Projects have a set of features, a budget and a start and end date. That’s what makes them project as opposed to say regular maintenance.

About four years we had a big project to move all our agents from one virtual environment and phone system to a different one. I’m now in the middle of a another big project. We are moving a data center from Iowa to Oklahoma. Moving the data center isn’t my project. Amir is the project manager responsible for the big move. However, my client also uses that data center. I’m responsible for moving my client’s systems.

Oh, and we are moving because our old data center doesn’t support enough bandwidth to go to a new audio CODEC.

(The point, Rodney. What’s the point of this?)

The point is that our project started over a year ago. And we aren’t scheduled to be done until sometime in 2021. (Remember a project needs to have a start and end date.)

So, my project schedule is two years, right?

It’s really hard to run a project for two years. Kind of like making a journey of 1000 miles.

The journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step

That is true. But, who wants to walk 1000 miles? You’ll never make it in a single day. So, you will have to sleep, and eat and plan daily routes and allow for rain and heat. There’s a lot of work that goes into a thousand mile journey.

You know what makes more sense? Shorter trips. Sure, you might ultimately need to go from Iowa to Oklahoma, but it might make sense to plan how you are going to get to Kansas City first.

And that’s how you handle projects that go months or years. You don’t do a 24 month project. Instead you break it up into smaller projects. Tonight we moved some of our network traffic to upgraded firewalls.

Today was our “finish” date for the mini-project of upgrading our firewalls. Is it a “real” project? Well, we had to order the firewalls. We had to configure them. We had to schedule the install. And we had to test the install.

Yes, it hit all the requirements for a project.

In progamming there is a concept called AGILE programming. One of the aspects is to write short “code sprints,” typically about two weeks. A program might take years to complete. In fact, my longest programming project lasted about three years.

We went 1000 miles, two weeks at a time.

Stay safe.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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