10 Ways that Home Renovation Projects are Oddly Similar to Automation Projects

automation - projects - software - implementation - agile (1)I’ll admit it. My name is Becky and I am addicted to home improvement shows. Love It or List It, Fixer Upper, Flip or Flop, House Hunters, House Hunters Renovation, Property Brothers, Buying and Selling – I watch them all! And with good reason. Winter in Wisconsin doesn’t leave you with much else to do except to hibernate where it is cozy and watch TV show marathons. And fantasize about home improvement ideas (as well as moving to a warmer climate, but that’s a different topic).

While watching my version of reality TV, I started to notice that the lessons that are learned and applied with each project are oddly similar to the lessons we have learned throughout the years implementing software and Cloud automation solutions for our customers. For anyone out there planning a home improvement project – or a software implementation project – here is what I would recommend you keep in mind:

  1. Higher expectations than what you can afford.
    1. Ok, I get it – we all want the Barbie dream house, right? Myself included. But unfortunately it is more than what most of us are prepared to invest in order to obtain. I think the key is to look around at what you can afford within your budget, and set your expectations accordingly.
  2. Need to renovate to get most of what you want at a price you can afford.
    1. On Property Brothers, they get the list of “must haves”, then show the buyers a house that meets all of their wants, which always comes at a much higher price tag than they have budgeted. Instead of trying to get everything you need all at once, perhaps you should consider tackling your biggest pain points first, and making other changes down the road if you still deem them necessary.
  3. Need a general contractor to take care of all the details.
    1. The general contractor (or the project manager) is a must have when you are working on a project. This person is responsible for bringing in the appropriate staff to complete the job, handling bumps in the road, anticipating what will work and what won’t work based on past experience, managing expectations and making sure that the project is on schedule and on budget. This person is responsible for assisting in the success of your project.
  4. Need to budget for contingency.
    1. You think you know what you want… until you get into the new house, maybe live in it for a little while and then you can actually see what is needed. Alternatively, you may encounter issues that could not have predicted until you actually open up the wall and see what is under the surface. Bottom-line – you need to plan to unforeseen costs or features that will come up during the project. Maybe building a home should be done with the agile methodology in mind.
  5. Actual implementation is more complex than you think it should be.
    1. Everyone wants the open concept house that is popular these days. It’s as easy as knocking down a couple of walls, right? Wrong! Most of us do not understand the logistics and the structure that needs to be in place to make that happen. All you need to know is that the engineers are there to ensure that you will have a solid foundation to build on and live with for years to come.
  6. Either pay to make the house work for your needs, or adjust your life/processes to work with the house.
    1. We have a choice. We can either invest big bucks to change the entire structure of a house to make it fit our needs, or we can make small adjustments to our day to day process to make the general outline of the house work. It’s completely up to you – but keep in mind that your investment will reflect this.
  7. Everyone has to be on board.
    1. If you have a naysayer, or someone who is not fully invested in your project, they are going to fight you on every decision and it may have a negative impact on making decisions or getting the project done in a timely manner. Or worse – your project may never get off the ground! Manage the change or their feeling towards the change to ensure they see the benefits of the changes that are being made, and how it will have a positive outcome on their day to day activities.
  8. Know your wish list of must have items.
    1. Over and over again, I hear the same things making it on the wish list – open concept for entertaining, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, guest bedroom, dining room for dinner parties, etc. How many dinner parties are you really hosting on a regular basis? And why aren’t I invited to these, since they seem to be so popular?! I think it is smart to make a wish list, but then also note the story behind it. Example: I need open concept kitchen and living room so I can keep an eye on my two small children. With context, it will help you prioritize what you actually need, and what is just nice to have.
  9. You will get frustrated at the lack of progress due to things being done behind the scenes.
    1. When things don’t happen as quickly as we think they should, it leads to frustration. We thrive off of instant gratification! But what we don’t know is the preparation and the implementation and testing that is happening in the background. Keep calm, take a deep breath and trust the team you have hired.
  10. Always happy in the end! Even if you did not get everything you wanted.
    1. Most importantly, there is always a happy ending to every show! Whether they only got half the things on their original wish list, or whether the project ran slightly over the original time frame, the homeowners are always ecstatic about the outcome! They ended up with something better than what they had, and the hard work they put into the project was worth the time, money and effort that was invested.

Thinking of renovating your home? Well, don’t call Esker for that. But if you do want to look into renovating one of your paper-based business processes, we can definitely help you with that. From evaluating your existing process, making recommendations based on our experience, helping to build the business case and sell it internally and finally – to helping you manage the change and implement a solution, please consider engaging Esker.

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Becky Mender

Becky Mender joined Esker in September of 2007. As Account Executive, her responsibilities include working with small to medium-sized companies in all industries, helping them to analyze their current processes and determine whether automation would be beneficial for their individual situation. With the exception of custom projects, the main areas she focuses on include document delivery (fax, postal mail, email and SMS), Accounts Receivable automation, Accounts Payable automation and Order Processing automation.

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