I was planning to write something technical in my blog. But I have been busy leading a migration project for one of the largest ISP in Vietnam since two weeks ago. So I thought I'd rather share some of my new thoughts as I gained the experience in Vietnam instead.
So the story began when my team was appointed to finish a migration project that has been delayed for quite some time by another team. At that time no one knew what the reason of the delay, nor the complexity of the project so two Consulting Engineers from my team was sent onsite to investigate and hopefully we can close the project once and for all. I was not involved, but I asked my boss to put me in. Perhaps it's because the advice I got recently to do something extra, even though I have already had four projects in hand in four different countries. Or perhaps I was just curious and want to know how come my company failed to complete the project so I decided to volunteer myself.
My involvement was unplanned so there was no budget for me. I accepted the condition to share a hotel room with one of my team mates. For me it's not a big deal since every time I do projects in any country I normally spend most of the time in customer site and go back to the hotel just to take shower and sleep. I feel like I have to help my team to finish this project at any cost, especially after my team mates told me the migration project is quite challenging. It involves three data center in three different cities in Vietnam. We have to migrate the infrastructure of the ISP's Next Generation Networks. We have to re-patch the cables, move EIGRP to OSPF, re-configure LDP, MP-BGP, Cache, BGP with complex policy and what makes it more challenging is we have only two hours downtime. Two hours downtime means my team has only one hour to do the job as we need spare time in case we must rollback the network to the previous state. And the previous migration plan from another team was far from complete and cannot be executed blindly.
To make the story short, it's been a damn good experience for the past two weeks. First, we had to analyze the network and build our new migration plan from the scratch. Then we had to move to three different sites every few days to migrate the network. Downtime means hell. There were just so many things to do within very short time. But we made it. We finally migrated the network even under the very high pressure and we need to open P2 TAC cases to help us in some hardware problems. Even with all those pressures, I won't forget some of the best moments in Vietnam when I had a chance to enjoy five-star resort next to the sea in Danang, or chill out in a bar that stands over the water in the middle of Hanoi West Lake.
It still left me a big question though, how come my company was not able to deliver in the first place? In other words, how come did we screw up before? I thought I'm in the best company that can deliver superb results every time.
My brain took me to my last few days before I left Dubai to join this company. At that time my best friend asked me why I was so keen to join the company and willing to leave everything I used to have in Dubai behind. Frankly speaking, to join the company I had to move my life to a completely new country and accept lower paycheck that I used to get. My friend even offered me a job with the salary that I could only dream of before if I decided to change my mind.
I remember what I told him as my reply: I need to join this company since they can teach me how to be a proper networking professional. This is the company that makes the products, and the very same company that can deliver superb services. They have already had everything in place: procedure, templates, process, tools, knowledge base etc. It's not about the money. It's about moving to a place where I can learn how to do things properly. I have been doing all my consulting works before based only on my own ideas and past experiences, and this is the place that can teach me how to do it better. I must join to be the best in network consulting.
Obviously I was mistaken.
Even in the big company as mine people can screw up. People inside the company can deliver superb result but on the other side the same group of people can make mistakes. I found that, just as any other fields in this world, it's not the company that matters. It's not the company who drives the changes. It's the people inside the company who matter. Those people who bring new values, new ideas, build new tools, and fix the process. It's the people who change the way the world works, lives, plays, and learns.
Suddenly I realized that I was so naive when I said those words to my best friend. The company can't teach me anything more. Everything that I need to know to become a top notch consultant I have learned it even before I joined the company. I'm the one who's supposed to bring the new ideas. I'm the one who should come up with new procedures, new templates, fix the process, and upgrade the tools. I'm the one who should teach others and share my experiences from the moment I joined.
Ho Chi Minh city, previously known as Saigon, was named after the founder of the country Ho Chi Minh that means "Enlightened Will". And I feel like in this city I have been enlightened.