The Data Center Relocation Budgeting Paradox

In a perfect world, a data center migration would be planned and executed for a fixed budget amount with no surprises or overruns. For data center moves, however, it seems the complicated problems show up at the end when the budget has been depleted and the stakes are high to get the problems resolved.

How does this keep happening?

IT (Information Technology) departments know these problems can get complex, yet no budget seems to get reserved for contingencies.  In the early stages of data center move planning, a comprehensive budget is rarely prepared because the project typically suffers from a lack of budgetparadoxbiggerinformation for a variety of legitimate reasons. Some of those reasons include decisions that have not been made on what is moving, when it is moving, and where it is moving. As a result, the budget can not accurately reflect a project that is undefined.

The other extreme are budgets that start out trying to forecast these uncertain conditions only to be purposely lowered in order to get the project approved.

Is there a better way?

Perhaps not. Organizations are imperfect and each data center move project comes with this challenge.  You need a budget to make a decision about the project. That decision needs to be made in a timely manner with imperfect data.  That’s the reality. You’ll find conflicting advice on this topic. On one extreme is the idea that every minute detail must be pre-planned and the move will go perfectly. At the other end is an ad-hoc relocation where you kill snakes as you encounter them.

Both of these extremes will be costly.

The paradox is you will spend much time and resources pre-planning while your environment changes because this activity takes a long time. The result is an elongated schedule and more resources dedicated to crafting the perfect plan even while it rapidly accelerates into obsolescence. And if you do very little planning, you will spend top dollar in a crisis mode fixing the problems you created during the relocation, perhaps in a very visible and damaging way to your organization.

It’s just not reasonable to expect an organization to change its entire culture while undergoing a major data center migration. Pitching a prescription that depends on this wholesale change ignores the reality most companies face during this difficult task. That is why you often see massive project management teams constructed to complete a data center move. It’s the only way they know how to do it.

Face Reality.

The reality is that the data center move project has a deadline, many unknowns, and high stakes to completing it with the minimum disruption to your business.

If you’re open to outside assistance, then my book will help you articulate a coherent narrative for selecting the right partners for you.

What Everybody Ought to Know Before Moving a Data Center

This book pays for itself in a few minutes by saving you days of searching online.


I wrote this book to strip the mystery from a data center move, and to:whateverybody-cover

  • jump start project managers who want to understand the WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) category foundations
  • inform Executives about their budget process and cost model
  • warn Stakeholders to get Governance right
  • slice the Gordian Knot of decision paralysis
  • arm Human Resources to recognize key contributors versus the lazy, blanket recognition that demoralizes technical staff

Written in plain language, and organized to accelerate everyone’s understanding, the book is particularly useful for the first-time Project Manager and as a tool to on-board others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *