We’ve delivered Crestron programming solutions for nearly every environment you can think of from luxury homes and yachts to Fortune 500 board rooms and U.S. military installations. Frankly, that’s a big part of what makes us different from many other certified Crestron programming companies in the U.S. Most programmers specialize in residential, or commercial, or education environments. But we’ve enjoyed working in all those environments.
Given the thousands of projects we’ve completed over the years, it’s not often that we encounter a completely new situation. But recently we found ourselves in an odd situation.
We were programming a 70-room Crestron system in San Diego—a series of non-identical courtrooms all in a single facility. The size and scope of the project wasn’t anything new for us. What was new was how the project was financed and managed. The project was being backed by a bonding company. They had taken over the financial responsibly of the project after the original dealer/installer ran into some trouble.
As part of the updated arrangement with the bonding company, we had agreed to let them audit our programming near the end of the project. We’ve never been asked to have our code audited, but given the situation, we understand why they would need to audit every part of the system before handing it over to the end users. After all, the bonding company didn’t do the original design or develop the scope of work. So adding a layer of quality control made sense. As the project was nearing completion, our customer asked to schedule the audit. No problem. We set the date and continued toward finishing the job.
Here’s Where it Got Interesting
On the day of the audit, a competing San Diego-based Crestron programmer showed up at the job. That’s when we realized that our competitor had been asked to audit our work. That’s a first for us.
But once I stopped to think about it, it made sense to bring in another company for the Crestron audit. After all, the bonding company doesn’t know anything about Crestron or programming, so they would have to use a third party. Perhaps they could have asked Crestron themselves to send a few people down, but using a local Crestron programmer probably made more economic sense.
At first, I was surprised and concerned about having a competitor look over our code. What if he picked up some tricks from our programming techniques? We’ve been doing Crestron programming for 15 years, so it’s likely that he could learn something new by reviewing our code. I guess my initial reaction of being defensive and protective was natural. Who wants to share proprietary techniques with a competitor? Perhaps that’s where using Crestron as an auditor instead would have alleviated such concerns.
Ultimately, I realized that it wasn’t a big deal. We needed to get through the audit and putting up walls was only going to slow things down. We answered the auditor’s questions, showed them how we had developed the program to meet the client’s needs, and before we knew it, the audit was complete. We passed with flying colors.
A Couple of Takeaways
It wasn’t the case in this instance, but I can imagine a situation where a competitor might provide a biased report, potentially tanking the project. I would advise that you carefully consider the motivations of people when asking them to perform a non-biased, third party review.
You also have to consider the feelings of the auditor. They (our competitor) had probably quoted on this project, and lost it to us. So you can image there could be bad feelings involved. If you plan to include a third party audit in your project, I recommend first evaluating the relationships between the parties involved. If an honest, thorough, unbiased evaluation is your goal, it’s best to remove complications ahead of time.