Effectively managing multi-source, Multi-site technology deployments
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Information Technology infrastructures continue to be dynamic, evolving, and business critical investments for companies of all sizes. Even with moves to virtualize end user computing functions, the evolution of network architectures, mobile computing devices and corporate security requirements will continue to necessitate technology upgrades requiring, at their core, the rudimentary act of placing hardware at specific physical locations on a prescribed timeline. In distributed corporate environments, deploying a range of devices sourced from multiple suppliers into geographically dispersed locations can be a challenge in material management and logistics planning. This Multi-Source, Multi-Site style of deployment is a complex balance of competing timelines where failures to meet delivery targets can have costly impacts that cascade throughout the project. Perturbations in global supply chains, manufacturing schedules, and local shipping capacities drive fluctuations in a supplier's ability to consistently and predictably execute to delivery timelines so it is the task of a deployment Project Manager to interpret a variety supply chain signals and take action to minimize the negative impacts of supply chain challenges. In that effort, the deployment PM will benefit from a structured approach to defining how available supply chain data will be used to help manage expectations, monitor execution, and effect the overall deployment success. In this paper, I present an approach that breaks deployment planning into 3 primary deliverables; the Site Plan, the Data Plan, and the Monitoring Plan. Executing those three plans will drive a PM to understand the supply chain data available to them, translate that data into information useful and understandable by all stakeholders, and monitor the progress of the supply chain against a deployment schedule. In practical terms, those plans culminate in a data mining and data management methodology that can be supported with spreadsheet based dashboards that provide both a fixed Snapshot of the status of the deployment as well as a rolling Timeline of key material movements over the duration of the deployment. The data management approach described here is specifically designed to avoid complex macro development, database queries, or software purchases that may not be available to all Project Managers. Applying the Multi-Source, Multi-Site approach, a PM can gain useful and relevant information from various streams of supply chain data using straightforward spreadsheet manipulations. With a clearer picture of supply chain execution, a PM tasked with a Multi-Source, Multi-Site deployment can better leverage project change control methods to improve their chances of successfully meeting their schedule and cost targets.