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Little Details:
What to Watch for When Managing a Large Project

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

John Wooden

It’s midnight. How did that happen? She’s totally lost track of the time and now her dress is a mess and her ride home has turned into a pumpkin.

That little detail about the time limit sure made a difference—wouldn’t it have been nice if Cinderella’s fairy godmother had stuck around to help her stay on track? The devil’s in the details for fairy godmothers and their not-so-distant cousins, project managers. For more detail on, well, details, we asked John Nichol, one of our project managers, to sit down and talk with us about the little things that come up during big corporate office design projects. He lit up when we asked him about details and, as usual, he had a story for us...

To hear John tell it,

  • JohnWe’re sitting in a meeting and I said,

    “[Patty the Planner], looks like you’ve got your uh, induction boxes here in the corner.”
  • PattyShe said,

    “Yeah, I was trying to make it look neat.”
  • JohnI said,

    “Problem is this is Fairfax County, if they’re not where the inspector can see them, he’ll fail you.”
  • ContractorAnd the contractor turned around and said,

    “He’s absolutely right.”
  • John So,

    I head on back over into the new space with the contractor and mark out where the [induction boxes] should be set up so that they could pass inspection…It’s just one of those little idiosyncrasies that changes from jurisdiction to jurisdiction – and you gotta know this stuff.

As another John once said, in basketball as in office space planning, “little things make big things happen.” We’d take it one step further and add that little things make big things happen, for good or bad. That outlet placement can power all the associates on the third floor, or blow everything like Wile E. Coyote in an Animaniacs rerun. So keep an eye out for the little things, the big things, and everything in between, because the devil really is in the details.