Recently, my son noted that our family doesn’t really relax. I started to disagree with him, but on reflection, I realized he is right. Oh, we read, watch movies, play games, travel, and spend great quality time together… But we rarely have unaccounted, totally unplanned, and open time. This summer marked the third year in our current home. We love our home, and part of why we love it is that it offers us one project opportunity after another. It was my other son who picked the house, a glorified cottage. Yeah, we’re very much into home renos. Here’s the thing: house renovations, serve many purposes for our family. Not only do we spend time together, but renos—when they really do improve the home and your enjoyment of the home—are a lot like good information management planning.
And what exactly does renovation have to do with information management? A lot. Think of renovations the same way you would think of building a data dependent application in your business. Let’s consider our first major reno. The kitchen. Yes, the kitchen was fully gutted, right down to the studs and subfloor. And much as in planning an enterprise system, I conducted extensive research and considered various options before we a) destroyed the existing kitchen and b) began work on the new kitchen. And yes, it is almost always easier to build an application from scratch, as long as you are leveraging the skills and tools that you already possess. The kitchen is a focal point in my and our family’s life. A functioning kitchen is the mission critical application. We spend many hours in this room, and I had a vision of how I wanted to create a connection between the kitchen, the existing entrance way, and a planned revision to a secondary entrance. The tiles.
Continuity and Planning
The tiles were to tie these three areas together. Oh, we didn’t work on all three rooms at once. No! The kitchen was completed in the fall of 2011, the entranceway in the winter of 2012, and the secondary entrance just this past fall of 2014. Much as in planning a solid information management project, conduct your research thoroughly before delving into the nitty gritty. If you expend your time and energy about reasons for choosing a particular style, shape, design, and other considerations ONCE, you are following a fundamental principle of information management. By conducting detailed research upfront as to the type of tiles I wanted to tie all three areas together, the decision was made. The core materials were purchased and easily stored on premise until each of the subsequent rooms were laid. In our case, we wouldn’t have had to buy and store the tiles, but it wasn’t a significant number, and it was inconvenient to plan to go get them down the road. So again, the question came down to which made more sense: buy and store, or make three trips? Oh, and although it doesn’t get seen, we knew that an upgrade to the electrical panel was going to be required at some point. So, the kitchen reno included the installation of a larger electrical panel. The alternative, was to have to move the kitchen electrics again once we got to reno room three.
Budgeting should be forward-looking
Like any renovation, we were concerned about the budget, and afraid about going over budget. But it wasn’t just the cost of today that needed to be addressed. It was the overall cost of multiple renovations that would be expensed over several rooms and several years. To keep our costs from escalating, we would need to leverage each investment: make it once use it several times. For the house, that meant tiles were selected that could be used again and again, taking advantage of the bulk discounts. Measurements were taken of the various sub floors so that a single tile thickness could be selected as a standard, rather than worrying about additional subfloors or complex transitions. Tools were selected and purchased that would manage all of the projected renovations. This shouldn’t translate to wishful thinking on an enterprise level project. It should be a part of your planning. Engage the stakeholders, take the business into account, and consider the visionaries.
Lesson for Information Asset Management?
Without doubt, the single most important advantage of both renovations and leveraging standards comes down to the people. All of the skills we learned—and the mistakes and corrections that we experienced on the kitchen—were reused for each subsequent renovation. Similar tools, similar products, advance thought, and discussion continue to be the standard. These elements all made future renovation projects that much easier, that much quicker, that much less stressful, and that much more fun to do together.