Some things are true, even if you don’t believe them. We’ve all been handed impossible deadlines at some point in our careers. However, despite what management thinks, there are decrees that are just plain not feasible. Part of the problem is that most people don’t understand how long it takes to implement technology.
Average small to medium-sized technology projects take at least 30 – 45 days.
Obviously, mileage varies based upon the scope of a technology project. The following is a list of common scenarios:
Hardware delivery – The major manufactures typically quote 10-15 business days to build, process, and ship servers and workstations. Holidays or component shortages increase that timeframe. Only off-the-shelf or pre-configured items may be delivered any sooner. The problem is virtually every technology gadget today is built to order or you’re getting something dated from overstock.
Software activation – Even software like Microsoft Volume Licensing requires an estimated 3-5 business days to process before you can download the software and access the activation key.
Evaluation and Approval – It’s high priority until management hears the cost. Then you lose at least 5 business days getting competitive quotes on commodity items. Picking a services vendor may take 30 – 90 days. If the owner is out or only approves quotes or signs checks like every Thursday, then you’re only further behind for a pending drop dead date.
Office 365 migration – An Office 365 subscription can be setup in minutes. However, there are dozens of options to select when planning. Then pending changes must be announced and demonstrated for staff. With moderate to high bandwidth, typical migration throughput is only approximately 1GB every 6 minutes. Cutover is typically seamless and less than an hour. However, then you have device configuration and decommission of related on-premise servers followed by testing and training. For all of the previous reasons and excluding emergency situations, typical Office 365 migration projects take 15 – 30 days.
There are likely dozens of other typical examples. However, hopefully these timeframes will help you set realistic expectations the next time there is:
- A new hire that starts next Monday
- 25 workstations to deploy by mid month
- An Exchange Server that could fail any day
The reality is that management owns the responsibility for understanding business situations and planning ahead with checks and balances for any contingency. However, if they are never informed about timeframes, then project outcomes and the fate of your career will be as arbitrary as outlandish deadlines.