Something to BRAG About

If you are old enough, some of you will remember a TV commercial from the 1980s in which an actor said, “I’m not a doctor, although I play one on TV…” I want to preface this column by saying that I am not a project manager, nor have I played one on TV. But I […]

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Letting Go of Yesterday to Get Ready for the AV of Today

It was 1997 when AV entered my world through desktop videoconferencing. I was an ignorant twenty-nothing college student. On the invitation of a friend, I stumbled into an internship for desktop collaboration. I’ll save you the math, I’m 49 now. And in ’97, desktop collaboration technology was as immature as I was. How are people […]

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The Art of the Site Survey

Once, as a new AV project manager, I found myself helping the warehouse manager unload the equipment at my biggest project. These were some big displays; we had to tilt them carefully to get them into the service elevator. “What happens if the displays don’t fit in the elevator?” I said to my companion.  He […]

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‘Tis the Season to Keep Lists Organized

This Christmas season, I hear lots of talk about Santa and his list. I know I’m making lists. I have a lot of things I want to get done, and I carry that list around with me to make sure it happens. There are piles of notebooks next to my computer to keep track of […]

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Happy Project Manager Appreciation Day!

It’s probably apparent to rAVe readers that inspiration for columns often comes from things that happen in my work life. I’ll help a client solve a problem and think, “That’s a good idea for a topic. Someone else will probably get something out of reading about it!” Today’s column sprang from a recent conversation with […]

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Adapting to Agile: Workflow Changes to Project Management

When customers come to AV resellers and installers to ask them to provide an AV installation, part of the service is project management. Someone has to communicate with the customer and stay on top of the progress and any changes that are made. Customers are familiar with project managers; they usually have a whole set […]

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Where the Magic Happens: Engagement and Goodwill

Working As a Team It’s down to the wire. It’s going to take all hands on deck to save this install. We have to get it done — too much is on the line. Twelve hours of work today? Could be more. This one is going to take as long as it takes. Every integrator […]

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Better Off Said: Honest Communication Leads to Clarity

“We need an engineer on-site today.” “Hello?” I said into my phone. “Um …Who am I speaking with?” “You are the project manager for Important Customer’s AV project, right? It is nonoptional that we get an engineer on-site today.” I was across the country at the office Halloween party receiving a call from the Eastern […]

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The BOM’s Incredible Journey

Every job has a bill of materials. Telephone or network jobs only need a handful of suppliers. However, AV jobs get materials from everybody and their brother. There are enough quality manufacturers to fill a convention center — it seems they may even do that again soon. There are some lessons to learn here. The […]

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Making the Change Order a Friend

“This means I’m going to have a very difficult conversation,” I once heard the project manager say. She had found out from the project team that a change was needed. Clearly, she dreaded the change order. It’s been said that no customer wants to be presented with a change order, and I’ve seen AV installers […]

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Avoiding the Parts Run

“But they sent the wrong color. Did you know that this job has an open ceiling plan? We have to have gray or it will stand out.” The cable on-site was blue, and we needed 1,000 feet of gray right now or the schedule and budget would go off the rails. I called the cable […]

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Steps for Success in International AV Installation 

In my time as a project manager for users and integrators, I’ve supported many international projects. National projects inside my country — America — follow the practices and customs I know. When I oversee work done in other countries — even multiple countries at once — I have learned to look for specific gotchas. At […]

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Sales Can Get a Boost From Project Managers

Any salesperson will tell you: Everything is sales. Of course it is. Isn’t our life and our work about convincing people to see the value and take action toward a goal? We want to come together and put some money on the table. Invest some capital into the idea. That’s the only way ideas become […]

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Integrators and Higher Education: An Evolving Relationship

As long as I have been writing columns for rAVe ED, my aim has been to help integrators understand where they can provide value to the higher education market. The business has changed so drastically over the years, that the value propositions of ten years ago no longer exist. I write about this because I […]

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Gantt Charts Are The Best Charts: Part 2

In the first installment, I had mentioned that Gantt charts used to take up an entire wall. That meant that they weren’t mobile, which required team meeting to be planned in the office where the Gantt chart lives. Now, with software solutions, you can take your project’s Gantt chart with you and your team can […]

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Gantt Charts Are The Best Charts: Part 1

There are some topics that get all the attention in the trade media. That’s usually because the subject is exciting or novel. Mostly those topics are product-related and form a constellation of gushing puff-pieces when exciting new products are launched. That’s not to say that every article about a new product is exciting. I once […]

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Jetbuilt Adds Project Management Functionality for InfoComm 2019

Jetbuilt today announces Project Management 2.0 to provide Jetbuilt users with a single platform for sales and project management. Project Management 2.0 features a management task list to create an enhanced visualization of steps, conversation, photos and documents between project managers and technicians. Users can comment on individual tasks from the Desktop software or with […]

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Startup XTEN-AV Will Debut Cloud-Based AV Design System at InfoComm 2019

Built for AV system integrators, XTEN-AV today announced the launch of its cloud-based platform to transform how AV system integrators design and execute their projects. The platform follows AVIXA’s published standards and guidelines to enable users to design for different spaces more accurately and efficiently. XTEN-AV offers an extensive library of audio-visual brands and products […]

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Scope Creep

One of the most prevalent themes in any AV/IT industry discussion is the continually increasing globalization of the sourcing for product development and most specifically software. No longer is the underlying code for the majority of AV products written by the brand on the front panel. In fact, more often than not, that software is […]

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Are You Really Listening to Your Clients?

DILBERT © Scott Adams. Used By permission of ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION. All rights reserved. The wild, wonderfully sarcastic and incisive mind of Scott Adams as represented in his legendary Dilbert comic strips perfectly illustrates the core point of this column. It seems, based on the less-than-stellar outcomes of project after project thrashed out on industry […]

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Shut Up and Listen!

Author and educator Stephen R. Covey, probably most well-known for his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” often said in his presentations that: “Most People do not Listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Think about the last meeting you attended. I don’t care what the meeting […]

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D-Tools Introduces Mobile Quote 2.0 iPad App

D-Tools today announced the release of Mobile Quote 2.0, a native iPad companion app for the D-Tools System Integrator (SI) platform. Mobile Quote 2.0 says it can make it easy for industry salespeople to seamlessly generate a project scope and pricing estimate for client review and approval during the initial client meeting. The data collected is then instantaneously transferred into D-Tools SI […]

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Corporate Culture and The AVL Industry

There’s a pattern of overworked teams in the audio, video and lighting industry. From the manufacturers to systems integrators, the lunch conversations at industry trade shows is almost universally the same: too many projects, not enough time, too many quotas, not enough qualified leads. Some of this is certainly due to a business-as-usual approach that […]

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Creating Visual Experiences Through Sightlines — Part 1: The Need for Collaboration

In a recent article in Church Designer Magazine, author and design leader Chuck Hultstrand provides an excellent overview of the key elements required to create visual experiences through the use of integrated sightlines. With this article as our inspiration, we will use his writings as a launch pad for a series of upcoming blogs. The […]

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Jetbuilt Announces Request for Proposals and Project Sharing

Jetbuilt is streamlining and enhancing the Request for Proposals and Project Sharing process with its newest online tool. The Jetbuilt RFP Project Sharing tool eliminates the need for antiquated spreadsheets while providing increased ease of collaboration with clients and vendors. Jetbuilt’s newly released functionality allows consultants, facility managers and technical directors to utilize the intuitive […]

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Scope Creep, Scope Leak and Now Scope Seep

Every integrator is all too familiar with the dreaded scope creep and thanks to a fantastic article by Mark Coxon, we are now familiar with scope leak. While those are both challenges that require more actionable strategies that we’ve seen tabled up to this point, those are topics for another day. Have you ever head […]

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Remote Cubed: A Remote Chance of Remote Support for Remote Events

Over the last few years, a revolution in teamwork and technical support has taken place in the installation portion of our industry. Once network ports began appearing on the equipment that we sold, remote administration, remote monitoring and remote support all became possible, but it really has taken a couple of years to convince clients […]

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New Company EventCollab CEO Tommy Melancon Talks Product Launch

EventCollab officially launched their company and project management software this week at InfoComm 2015 – as part of the InfoComm Innovations Showcase. Their focus is on rental staging companies; however, this product has applications across the industry for project and event management. Check out this link for a demo video of the product: Watch this […]

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EventCollab Launches at InfoComm – Aims to Help Rental/Stagers

EventCollab today announced it has launched the follow-up to its first released product, ShowBook. Providing a full event project management suite all in one online interface was the ultimate goal for the company, and that has been achieved today. The much-needed cloud-based solution will enable live event professionals to seamlessly collaborate with all event stakeholders […]

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Manage Your Projects – And Your People

This month’s column is a little bit different from others in the past. I some ways, I am not ever writing about AV or education. Instead, I am writing about something that is near and dear to all tech manager’s hearts, and I am assuming everyone who does work of any type: management. How do […]

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Need Project Management Software Just for AV Integrators?

The heart and soul of iPoint Control are the project management and work order systems. And, as most off the shelf solutions don’t work for the custom AV industry, do yourself a favor and spend a few minutes on their website to learn how to use it. We played around with the software for much […]

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The AV-Team

“In 1982 a crack commando unit was sent to Japan by IBM to install a Video Conferencing system that did not yet exist. These men promptly saw the potential and left IT, escaping to the Audio Video underground. Today, still wanted by an array of clients, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have […]

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