Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Day We Migrated The Mobile Network

The moment the engineer from one mobile provider in the UAE pressed the 'Enter' key to send the IOS config that would move the mobile traffic in all UAE cities to new CRS Core on Thursday's early morning, my life during the past several months flashed before my eyes. I remember having heavy discussion with the team from Cisco and customer long ago on how to breakdown the project into multiple tasks (it turned into more than 16 different tasks in total!). I remember spending quite some time with the Project Manager just to count the number of resources required to execute all the tasks. When we started 9 months ago, it was difficult to imagine the day we would really migrate the mobile traffic to CRS. The two networks, Fixed and Mobile, required to be fully optimized before we can even connect the physical link between them. The two networks used to communicate through two routers designated as the Point Of Interconnect that we had to analyze deeply before we can move them to communicate directly over the CRS. And not to ignore the interoperability issues with mobile equipments from other vendors.

The only way to achieve success is by completing one task then another. We planned for one day, executed, then made the plan for next day. We handled the challenge one at a time. And after 9 months working together with the customer, countless hours of discussion and extensive lab testing, around 120 change request windows at night, the mobile traffic has finally been migrated.

We made history yesterday. And now it's time to move on.

So here I am, 48 hours later after the migration, sitting at Charles De Gaulle Aiport in Paris waiting for my flight to Mexico to do another project. I have been working back-to-back, from one project to another without any spare time, since the first time I ever worked for project. Some people I met like to complaint about that kind of work condition. For me I would consider myself lucky if I have a chance to work in only one big project at a time. I used to handle several medium size projects at the same time. The most challenging situation is when there is overlapped, the time when I have to work in another new big project while still handling the previous one with the same size or complexity.

Mexico, here I come.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Against Blackberry, no more

It's been 3 months since I started to use BlackBerry. What? Aren't you the same guy who wrote 'Against BlackBerry' about a year ago? Yes, it's true. Shame on me. But please allow me to explain:
The local mobile operator in Dubai offered my office the BlackBerry handset for free if we were willing to switch from another operator. Since my office always pay for the premium services for everyone anyway, so it was a good deal because everyone can get the handset for free. So I got mine 3 months ago. With free unlimited data usage. It's free as in F R E E. And free good stuff can't be evil, can it?

But no, I'm not becoming addicted nor attached to it. The only reason why I like it because I can read my company email anywhere. The handset design is ugly. The screen is too small to browse the Internet even with the unlimited data usage I have. I use the messaging only occasionally since I never announce my PIN to anyone except my closest friends. So office mail is the only reason why I stick with BlackBerry.

And actually I don't like to keep reading email but here is my situation: while I like to work during night time from my own bedroom unfortunately some of my colleagues and my customers like to work in mortal office hours, 9 to 5. So when they send email during that time they expect me to read it and reply when it's required. They may not know that during the winter in Dubai morning time is perfect to enjoy the beach. Or during noon it's better to practice desert driving instead of wasting time for meeting. We can always catch up the work at night, right? With BlackBerry I can reply to those emails and people may even think I really work during the day (obviously I don't use the signature saying 'sent from BlackBerry blah blah). And once I believe I have worked for 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week, regardless the time of work either normal time or at night, then I won't bother to check my email anymore.

Anyway, with this post I'm declaring that I'm against BlackBerry no more. Unless someone is kind enough to somehow make my favorite Motorola V8 can read my office mail.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


CCIE Core Knowledge Questions aka Open Ended Questions (OEQ) is removed from CCIE R&S and Voice lab exam. Soon Cisco may remove it from the other CCIE tracks too. So now the main question is: what will be Cisco strategy to prevent those dumpers who just memorize the answer to pass CCIE lab?

The answer is obvious: bring back the 2-days format with interview!

Friday, May 07, 2010


"First rule of leadership: everything is your fault."
Hopper to Princess Atta, A Bug's Life.

It's really tough to lead.

You can't do it alone, so you have to delegate.
And when the resource is not skillful so you have to do most of the work, it's your fault.

You have to finish the work even the timeframe is unrealistic.
And when there is not enough resource to deliver, it's your fault.

You have to satisfy all the parties, meet the target and make everyone happy.
And when you have to screw yourself days and nights, it's your fault.

You have to maintain the reputation of the organization.
And when everything starts falling apart, it's your fault.

It's really tough to lead indeed.
But I'd prefer to do it again and again.
Because it's worth it.