Planning an Upgrade
Planning is the process of deciding what actions are needed to accomplish a goal. This
Planning for an upgrade should include input from both technical staff
Documenting the Plan
Planning is essential in a complex environment to ensure that a project will be successful. Planning can
Whatever planning you undertake must be put into the form of a written document. Representatives of the areas that will be affected should
Reminding those who are working on the plan about recent accomplishments and upcoming deadlines can help facilitate cooperation. For example, a short meeting on Monday morning that quickly reviews the previous week's work and includes a discussion about goals for the upcoming week might be helpful.
Evaluating the Plan As It Applies to Corporate Policies and Procedures
Before beginning to write any kind of plan that will be used for a major upgrade project, be sure to review the current corporate standards. A company should have one standard word processor that is used throughout the company, or at least throughout any major division of the business.
Most applications today that perform ordinary tasks, such as spreadsheets, word processing, or database functions, also come with tools that enable you to interchange data with other
When developing the plan, first examine the current standards. Then, taking into consideration the future expansion of the network, the capabilities of products currently in use, and the direction certain technologies seem to be taking, develop a revised list of standards and sell it to the organization.
Of course, there will always be exceptions. For example, the corporate standard might require that the Oracle database application be used throughout the company. However, a specific vertical market application used in a research lab might work only with another database product. When there aren't various vendors from which to choose, you might be forced to accept a deviation from the standard here and there.
Any good plan will have a clearly defined set of goals to provide some kind of benefit to the business. Although an overall view of the project's goals can be used to help sell the idea to
After you come up with a written list of the goals that will serve to guide the project, prioritize the list. When initially developing a list of project objectives, your staff might be over-enthusiastic, and you can find yourself with a large shopping list that attempts to solve every problem and
Users should not be expected to understand what goes on behind the scenes in the complicated area of networked computer systems. They might only know that they can or cannot get their job functions performed in a
Milestones and Criteria
Based on the goals that the project is expected to achieve, build into your plan the procedures that will be used to measure success. Select items from your list of objectives that represent major changes to the network and define the metrics that will be used to determine whether the goal has been met.
For example, a goal can consist of achieving a reduction in network utilization for overloaded segments. Monitoring utilization with a LAN analyzer can be done before and after the upgrade to obtain factual information that can be used to establish the success of this upgrade. Other metrics might include items such as network response times, user satisfaction, or new functionality. The last item is a little more abstract than the others are. How do you measure the impact of new functionality
If you find that you are having trouble deciding what benefits you will gain from the upgrade and cannot
Nobody is perfect, and no plan can ever be precise enough that you can bet your life that everything will go as expected. Whenever possible, for any major modification you intend to make to the network, you should also have a plan that can be used to restore the network to its previous state. Having good up-to-date documentation about the network can be useful for troubleshooting. When you have scheduled downtime with users and are under a deadline to finish a task or a project, it is more useful to have a definite set of procedures to follow if problems arise that prevent the execution of a task or tasks in the project plan.
A back-out plan does not have to include abandoning the entire plan. Most network upgrades do not occur all at once, but are instead done in stages. At each major step in the plan, have a procedure that can be used to undo the change.