Integration Project Trouble Shooting

This spring, we asked a number of our more seasoned technical staff to share their thoughts on a variety of questions, providing insight that could be of benefit to you, our customers. In modern parlance, their responses constitute what might be called hacks (of a positive nature) of system integration projects. This first in a series will address project trouble shooting.

Common Problems

We asked “What’s one problem most people deal with?” As you could predict, there is no “one” answer to the question. At the top of the list is communication. Getting return phone calls is a challenge, as is knowing who to call, depending on the situation. It’s no coincidence that communication skills was the number one attribute of quality project managers discussed in a previous blog. 

Another common problem cited was the lack of understanding about installation and construction. A need for additional training on the subject was indicated as a means of addressing this problem. Number three on the list was the struggle many people have working with, and trusting, IT departments, despite the critical nature of the IT role, particularly in our current environment of extensive cyber mischief. 

Useful Tips

We received some excellent feedback to our question regarding the most useful trouble shooting tip our people could share. The most practical of the responses was simply to look for what has most recently changed. According to engineering director Derick Lamar, “PLC programs do not change on their own. Issues with existing systems usually come down to a fuse or a failed piece of hardware.”

Common Mistakes

When asked about the most common mistake owners make, business development manager Frank Gonzalez cited a critical one, a false sense of cybersecurity safety. Because people think their system is not a target, they don’t take their vulnerability seriously. 

Derick Lamar had another excellent bit of wisdom, that people don’t look for answers in the right places. He explains that someone has almost always experienced the same or a similar problem in the past. People should use Google searches, PLC forums, tech support, and peers as valuable sources of information. “Do not keep banging your head against the wall.”

In a future post, we’ll discuss myth busters and misconceptions. Stay tuned.