The lull before the storm; I've done the planning and the expansion project proper starts (slowly, at first, manic for a while, steady and manic once again) in a week's time. Here's my tool set:
Engineering plan: a big drawing using Google Sketchup, the free on-line CAD package used mainly for modelling in Google Earth. Look what I can do:
Schedule: a spreadsheet itemising the various necessary works and installations, linked to both Production (we don't want to run out of beer) and Budget (we don't want to run out of money). The coming 'holiday' period is inked in with my initials - well, it's better than lounging around relaxing with fine food and beer, or so I tell myself.
Budget: a tight affair. Nothing more than a list of expected expenditure, organised in a fashion that makes sense to me, the primary user. It's timelined so I can forecast cash flow implications (look, I haven't got a very large capital pot OK?). I update it regularly as prices are confirmed, the bottom line fluctuating little, either way. It's like a vital signs, real time readout.
The Cast: a small group of highly trusted trades persons, experts in their respective fields - R the Brick, Cool S and B the Spark, all local, augmented by Lofty A and J the Boil, proven specialists picked up from friends in the Biz.
The vessels we're buying are second hand and still in use as I write, the owner testing his new, 21st century stuff with a first brew tomorrow (good luck M, make it so). If all goes well we're set fair for a decommissioning party hours before the Yule break, and a few long shifts whilst you lot engorge yourselves on Little Cracker.
I've woken in the middle of the night for the last three, thinking and worrying about the minutiae of the job - I've been here before, it's a perfectly healthy reaction and means I'm fully engaged in the task. And it'll go on for another three months so forgive me if I look a little frazzled from time to time.