Don’t Underestimate the Importance of the Checklist

We’ve all been there. It’s Friday afternoon, and you’re trying to close out a project, but you keep experiencing system errors. How do you fix those mistakes, get system sign-off, and make your customer happy? Here are some tips to help you design, program, and install a strong audiovisual system that delights your customer.

This blog is a continuation of the ideas discussed in “State of Control Episode 30: Do it Right the First Time.”

Start with a Full Project Scope

Project managers often look at programming as just a cog in the wheel of a complete systems integration. While it is one piece of the process, it is an important piece that allows the whole system to come together in one symphonic masterpiece.

The first thing you should do when working on a new project is defining the scope of the system. It’s a lot easier to achieve the desired result when you know what you are programming. You don’t have to try to interpret the equipment list and guess what the customer’s expectations are.

Next, you should review the scope with the client. Show them what the touch panel layout looks like, and examine the logos and colors that were chosen by the programmer. Ask what the desired audio levels are for the rooms. If anything looks incorrect to the customer, this is the perfect time to review and make the necessary adjustments. Don’t wait until the GUI layouts have been built and installed in multiple rooms to show it to the customer because then you must make the change in multiple rooms or systems instead of rolling out the correct solution once—the first time.

Understanding the scope and reviewing it with the customer will help keep the project budget on target and keep the installation on schedule. Addressing this with the client at the beginning of the process will help eliminate the dreaded “scope creep” that occurs when you’re not clear about the customer’s expectations. The client keeps asking for adjustments, so the project drags on and on.

Make the Checklist Your Best Friend

Once you’ve developed and reviewed the scope with the customer, set up checklists and key project milestones. Checklists help you follow the project from start to finish to make sure everything is considered. They could show you if a step were missed before you attempt to get project sign-off.

Identifying Open Issues on the System Checklist

Programming is often the first thing project managers blame when a system does not work correctly. Before you start guessing what could be wrong, ask yourself these three questions to confirm whether programming is the culprit:

  • Is it a hardware issue with the signal path?
  • Is it a combination of resolution, signal types, or processing?
  • Are the signals being transmitted, but there is an error in the code?

Resolving Open Issues
When issues occur at the end of the system install, it is often difficult to find the correct person to take ownership. Realistically, it is everyone’s responsibility to take ownership and to help solve the issue. As the systems integrator, you were contracted to deliver a complete, functioning system.
Understanding the issue will help determine who on your team needs to find a resolution and get final sign-off from the customer. Having a comprehensive punch list will help your team understand what items need to be completed.

Remember, customers don’t change their minds just to change their minds. Communication is key to making sure everyone on the project understands the intended functionality of the audiovisual system. Your job is to help the customer visualize the system, then provide them with that functionality.

Learn insight and tips on how to increase your customers’ satisfaction by listening to State of Control Episode 30: Do it Right the First Time. Steve Greenblatt, David Hatz, and Jim Maltese discuss common issues that arise during projects and what steps you can take to create a great customer experience.

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