Current Role – Manage the IT Component of the 2008 Head Office Relocation   Leave a comment

This was a significant project, with a specific timeline. Our head office was moving, and I was the IT lead.

Not only did it encompass co-ordinating the moving of computers for 220 staff, the re-commissioning of business applications involving teams across the nation, and the relocation of 60+ servers. But it also involved co-ordination with the three data communication providers that we had at the time, and leading discussions with senior executives about the move and the risk mitigation procedures we would have in place.

I had at my disposal about 40 people and four days. I split them into three teams. One team managed the desktop computing, the second the server relocation, whilst the third managed the computing services re-commissioning. The desktop computing team was tasked to re-connect and test the PC’s on each of the desks, it included replacing CRT with flat-screen and checking that the new Cisco VoIP system worked.

And that was an added complication, we moved from a standard PABX in the old building to a Cisco VoIP system in the new. I was also the technical lead for that project – co-ordinating user training, making system design choices, liaising with the third-party supplier.

The second team, to a set schedule and order, removed the servers, switches, etc (after I had shut the server room down in graceful manner – applications first, backend second, infrastructure third, switching last) and relocated them to the new building. The order and schedule was important as I wanted to give some sense of redundancy (ie, AD servers spread across separate racks), and I wanted to bring things back up in the reverse order from which I shut them down.

I had scheduled the computing-services recommissioning team to be available after the servers were relocated and computers rebuilt. This team of application owners and testers was spread out across the nation (I needed to make sure that the WAN was still working and the internet-facing services were still available). As a result of the server relocate order decisions that I made, we were able to perform some perfunctory tests of each of the applications before the application testing team did their work. Their testing proved that the move was successful by the Saturday afternoon.

The final part was having IT helpdesk and VoiP trainer “floor walkers” on the first day of work. They were tasked to troubleshoot minor problems with computers, printers and phones on the spot and refer up the chain anything else. Their work was larger done by lunchtime.

So, from a move leadership perspective, I was across each of the many details and had several meetings with each of the teams leading up to the weekend, but once the design and choices were set delegation to section leaders was the modus operandi.

And, from a timing perspective, although we had four days to get the new head office up and going, we completed it within 48 hours. Thus, when people came to work in the office on the Tuesday (we started the Thursday night), and when people interstate started to work on the Monday morning – it was as if it was just another business day.

And so, that adage “prior planning prevents poor performance” was truly proven during that long weekend in March, 2008.

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