Widgets Magazine

Lessons Learned from Epic Fails

There are some who believe that there are no failures, only learning experiences. That’s really hard for me to accept two days after leaving a job site unfinished and leaving a friend in a bad spot.
I have spent the last fourteen days onsite working for a dear friend and industry genius. The respect I have for him and his company cannot be understated. When he decided to hire my programming company for a fairly significant job, I was ecstatic. Here was an opportunity to work with, and hopefully learn from, someone I truly admired. Let’s just say it didn’t go well. I’m not going to say everything was all on my shoulders, it wasn’t. Had they been waiting on programming for the last few days that would be one thing. However, we contributed to our fair share of pain and suffering. In addition, I had other commitments that required my attention that left them in a bad spot. Let’s take what those wise people say and see what we can learn from this experience.
Know What Your Resources Are
One of the biggest issues was managing the resources for this client. When the project began, the manpower needed was relatively light. It was mostly remote programming with a few weeks of turning up the rooms in their warehouse. It was a pretty good situation. The idea was that once the product got onsite all you would have to do is connect and verify. However, as the project moved along it became evident that more and more time was going to be required on the customer’s site. Scheduling this, and rescheduling other clients, became an issue for us. So much so that I was the one onsite the last week. I’m not a bad programmer, I’m just not the best there is. In hindsight, having a better understanding of the length of time needed and the challenges created by delays from other trades would have been helpful.
There are some things out of your control
I mention the challenges created by other trades. These trades have deadlines just as we do. Unfortunately, their deadlines appeared to be the same as ours which did not lend to a healthy or helpful working environment the last forty-eight hours before the client began using the majority of the rooms. In our discussions with our client we should have laid out exactly when we expected full access and functionality of the room, beyond our programming, to achieve the desired result.
Be Optimistic, not Unrealistic
In general, I am a pretty optimistic person. I’ll give everything I have to meet a deadline or create an exceptional experience for each and every one of our clients. However, there are some times when you simply do not have the tools available to do so. When this is the case you owe it to yourself and your client to relay that information. The sooner you give them the most accurate picture of what is going on, the better it will be in the long run. I’m not saying be a “doom and gloom” person all the time, but neither should you be overly rose-colored in your projections.
Be Careful When Working with Friends
This is probably the most painful part of this entire experience; the loss of a friendship. I have great respect for this client and their entire organization. What they are doing in the industry is truly ground-breaking. However, because of my failures I may have cost myself a friendship and relationship I greatly value. If that ends up being the case, this will be one of the most expensive lessons of my life. Learning from it and becoming better out of this situation will be the only redeeming thing I can think of.
That’s all I have for this week. Thank you to all the AVNation folks who helped keep the ship going while I was sequestered away. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Have a great week.

About Author

Tim Albright is the founder of AVNation and is the driving force behind the AVNation network. He carries the InfoComm CTS, a B.S. from Greenville College and is pursuing an M.S. in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. When not steering the AVNation ship, Tim has spent his career designing systems for churches both large and small, Fortune 500 companies, and education facilities.

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