Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Project Riyadh

- Vēnī, vīdī, vīcī. I came, I saw, I conquered.

This is my sixth week in Project Riyadh and hopefully the last. When I was told to be involved in the project the scope was: to lead the team to fix some design issues by migrating 15000 VPN customers in 3 weeks. My mind at that time was so focused to that number, and with a simple math considering the team can work continuously without a break it means we have to do 700 customers per night.

Once I arrived in Riyadh on the second week of July I realized the main challenge of the project is not to migrate the customers, no matter how many per night. There was lack of information and no documentation provided of the existing network and services. Network migration project relies on the information. Information of the existing network. Information of what the new network is going to be. Then we need to build a bridge between the existing and the new network. We need to build the methodology and procedure to ensure we can have a smooth transition period. The correct approach to make the migration process will not impact the daily business.

Without proper information, it's really difficult to come up with the right procedure. Without the right information, the methodology and the process can be misleading. No information, no bridge.

Fortunately I was and I am still surrounded by the best and talented engineers in the team. I remember Harry Stamper once said "I'm only the best because I work with the best". Like the Joe's, when all else fails, we don't. When any other team may refuse to continue working with a very less resource, lack of information and a very tight schedule, my team and I decided to continue the best we could.

We made mistakes in the first week but by making mistakes we learn more and more about the existing network. The customer environment is very unique so there is no way to finalize the migration process in the lab environment. We have to execute the migration and build the procedure at the same time. We are learning about how to migrate the network by doing it. Most of the team members worked more than 16 hours a day. And after few weeks, I was able to finalize the process, methodology and procedures, and I have all of those documented properly. Having a proper document of the migration process means anyone can continue my work even if I'm already out of the country.

This project may not make the top in my preferred projects list but I'm still happy because my team and I are able to accomplish something that was considered impossible. Yes I was not able to complete it in 3 weeks. Most probably it will be completed only by next week. But I communicated this frankly with the customer that due to the lack of information we have to share the risk. And one of the risks is we need more time to complete the project, especially I found there are many other services need to be migrated not only the VPN customers. I'm a kind of guy who doesn't like to make excuses. So to me what's important is to be clear and communicate all the challenges with the customer. And by working together as one team, anything is possible.

Yesterday was the independence day of my country. I hope my independence day from this project is coming soon too.

Those who have been following my blog should know that I have another important thing to do next week. Due to the high pressure from Project Riyadh, I didn't have time to prepare for it. But I will just try the best as usual.

Lack of preparation, yes. Lack of confidence, no no.

Project London, here I come.

7 comments:

Matt said...

Your job sounds both difficult and rewarding. Some day you'll look back at all of the massive projects you've completed and remember how much you've accomplished in your life. That will be a really wonderful feeling. :)

Engineer Alaa said...

Nice post, it is really inspiring, I like the concept of when every one fail or refuse to do, we won't.
Himawan, I am following your post from time to time and from every post I have to learn something new unless when you start to talk about Formula one or two..whatever

amplebrain said...

Nice post,
When I grow up, I would love to be like you. :-)

All the best on Wednesday!

Anonymous said...

cool...but i think it'll be more helpful if you share technical things based on this experience... anyway... MERDEKA !!! :)

Anonymous said...

Himawan,

Best of luck in London, have got any CCDE internal in the organization yet? Or could you be the first there as well :-)

Looking forward to hearing and reading about the experience of the exam, of course under the restrictions of the NDA...

Himawan Nugroho said...

Hi both anonymous,
just as there is NDA for CCIE/CCDE exam, there is an agreement as well with the customer to not disclosing to much detail information about their network and the project related to them in open space like this blog...

Anonymous said...

Every blog you put in here .. its very interesting ... its inspiring to others like me to go on ...

Im a fan ...