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How to Collect Good Data

How to Collect Good Data

Collecting data is an essential step in broadband deployment. Teams have to be able to gather info efficiently to keep from slowing down timelines and to ensure they can hit deadlines. 

Unfortunately, in the race to be fast, proper planning often gets overlooked. Without taking the time to really consider what data needs to be collected, teams can easily miss necessary specs or over-collect superfluous information. 

For example, some pole owners require applicants to submit pole loading and make ready within applications, meaning data must include midspans, equipment bearings, pole specs like birthmarks and tags, and guying and anchor information. Other owners will run their own make ready engineering and pole loading analysis no matter the kind of info you provide. Either way, teams have to know what’s required. Otherwise, they’ll end up wasting precious time getting data they don’t need or sending crews back to the same locations to collect information they could have gathered the first time around. 

Extra time in the field complicates the process and creates new safety risks. 

We’ve outlined a plan to help your team ensure they know what’s needed and can capture that info quickly and precisely. 

1) Know what you need 

Outline all the information you need for your records, whether it's pole measurements, crossings, addresses, et cetera. What data does your team need to pull together for future reference? 

2) Know what your client needs 

What does your client need for you to gather? If you don’t know for sure, ask extra questions to pin down what’s expected of your team. When everyone is on the same page, we’re all better set up to win. 

3) Know what other rights-holders need 

What data do the rights-holders require? Think about the Department of Transportation, pole owners (both power companies and ILECs), property owners, and so on. The more clarity you have now, the better you’ll be able to serve your clients. 

4) Put it all together

Cross-reference all the necessary data and build a workflow based on what’s required. Train and mobilize a small team to pilot the workflow for any issues as quickly as possible. Once the workflow is established, teams can ramp as needed. 

5) Build workflows based on typical scenarios

…not exceptions. Standardizing workflows based on niche situations to capture data you rarely need only creates headaches down the road. Don’t change the rules for 1 out of every 1,000 poles unless the cost-benefit of re-mobilizing makes it better to collect data everywhere just in case. 

6) Edit and re-implement 

Always look for ways to improve your process. Tend to require anchor specs? Measuring more midspans lately? Adjust the plan accordingly. Remaining flexible lets your team tweak their approach as circumstances change. Rigidity can create just as many problems as a lack of planning. 

Planning ahead takes time. However, creating best practices can streamline your team's process to save time and money in the long run. Efficiency helps clear away the frustration of repetitive tasks and gives teams greater appreciation and satisfaction in what they do.  

Keep your team safe. Cut back on calendar days. Reduce redundancy. Collecting good data doesn't need to create headaches.

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