What Are Common Mistakes Integrator Engineers Make?

Ethan's original topic: "What Are Common Mistakes Integrator Salespeople Make?" inspires this one, looking instead at engineers, designers, and specifiers.

What do you think?


  1. Trivializing the gross amount, or handiwork required, to install equipment. (You want me to hang this camera WHERE?)
  2. Designing systems without future maintenance work or troubleshooting in mind.
  3. Trying to characterize all designs as variations of a favorite platform or brand.
  4. Placing too much emphasis on fringe features rather than gross usability.
  5. Thinking that a non-technical person is just an idiot.

(... and these are just the ones that I am guilty of!)

Trivializing the gross amount, or handiwork required, to install equipment. (You want me to hang this camera WHERE?)

This one always killed me. Especially when you got no guidance as to how you were supposed to get a wire from point A to point B.

Believing manufacturer hype. That a certain product will magically solve your most difficult problems.

Lettings your sales people talk you into cutting corners or pushing the boundries of what will work in the interest of saving costs so the system will be more likely to sell. In other words, letting the sales person dictate what should be possible.

Not properly informing your sales person of any caveats or disclaimers that need to be communicated to the customer.

Trying to figure out a spec or feature yourself instead of picking up the phone and calling the manufacturer to make certain how something works. Don't know if this is false pride or what. But the manufactuer should know better than you how their product works. Ask them if you are not 100%, that's 100%, sure.

Overestimating the capabilties of wireless networks.

Not properly giving yourself a buffer range when figuring storage space for a given number of days retention.

Not having someone double check your work if someone else can do it.

Not double checking your cost prices in case you mis-typed something.

Not informing management when a sales person is "rogue", making inaccurate or false promises.

Failing to remember YOU are part of the sales proces, and must be tactful and professional when called upon to communicate with a client directly in support of sales.

Your sales people are not your adversaries. They are part of your team. Without them, no one gets a paycheck.

As a integrator you have a project concept or description of what the end user wants to achieve.

Then you have reality, whats the perception of the engineer, what he thinks he wants to achieve.

Not really knowing the industry or having a limited background in the industry he wants the world in concept and knows what he thinks he wants.

Documents, Designs, Sets up the process, Standards and retrieves the info from the reps. he knows , Then Good or Bad it goes forward in the process, going out to pubilc bid , review , walkthrus.

Based on the Factory Rep. He sets up the standard, sends then out for review.

Really not sure of what or if there is better products or what they do.

Buy into a product and not know of different options available.

Overstating, overpricing, over upgrading the expectation levels, and trying to bring up the education levels of the buyers, users, clients involved.

KISS : so the avg can use, understand, remember how,why,what to do/use system

Limit what you Tell /Give the end user to keep down the expectation levels

And Finally, But the Most Important item is to:

( Test, Verify, Check out the Products you specify (not just cut & paste spec's) )

How many times have you purchased,bought,installed products that are Out of Date , Not compatable with other products, with software incompatability issues, outdated