IT project plans are often organized using day 0, 1, and 2 lifecycle phases. This helps to show the progression of a project as it moves through the various research/test, deployment, and ongoing management stages of a production-implemented technology. From a network perspective, we find common themes within this lifecycle process that each project must include to be successful. Let’s look at the specific network project tasks within day 0/1/2 phases and highlight some responsibilities and assignments that are frequently overlooked.
Day 0 network project tasks
The lifecycle phase and associated tasks that should take the greatest amount of effort is day 0. It is here where business leaders and IT architects plan to use a new technology to achieve organizational goals. This is a critical part of the process as it includes:
- The evaluation of business goals and which technology or technologies can help get the business there in the most efficient manner.
- A thorough review of how the new technology can be implemented and integrated to operate in the organization’s existing network infrastructure and associated management/monitoring tools.
- The expected lifecycle and future integrations that may need to coexist with the new technology in the future.
- Right-sizing the amount of hardware/software expected throughout the lifecycle of the network technology so scalability and extensibility can be easily achieved.
- Creating a day 1 implementation plan that includes physical setup, configuration, verification tasks, and rollback procedures. It’s here where all implementation steps are vetted, tasks assigned, and maintenance windows scheduled.
One critical mistake often made in this phase of an IT networking project is failing to work with hardware/software vendors and/or consultants. These are the people that can help choose a technology, formulate an architecture plan, and integrate with existing network systems and tools for improved network visibility, performance, security, and troubleshooting. This is the type of expertise that a business may not have in-house.
Day 1 network project tasks
If properly planned, tasks performed in the day 1 phase of a networking project should be well understood and quick to execute. All day 1 tasks should already be well thought-out and understood by all stakeholders. Day 1 networking projects are almost always conducted within a defined maintenance window. Additionally, communications channels must be fully understood so that the implementation flows smoothly and any identified obstacles can be overcome by responsible parties in a rapid manner.
The entire day 1 process should be documented, and any problems that cannot be overcome should follow rollback procedures that were summarized during the implementation planning process. Failing to document successes and failures creates a situation where future network implementations take far longer to plan and are more likely to come up against roadblocks that were already solved.
Day 2 network project tasks
Day 2 tasks start immediately after a successful day 1 rollout into production and continue throughout the lifecycle of the networking system. It's here where operations staff such as NetOps, SecOps, and other administrators take over the day-to-day operations of the hardware/software from a monitoring, performance, security, and ongoing maintenance standpoint.
One critical aspect of day 2 operations is to ensure that siloed teams have well-defined communications channels and all responsibilities are clearly outlined. Problems can arise here when teams must work together to get a specific task accomplished, such as ensuring that bug/patch fixes are rapidly identified and implemented during periodic maintenance windows. Tool sharing can also become an issue as NetOps/SecOps teams are often required to have tool visibility – but for different purposes. In most cases, it’s advised to schedule regular operations meetings where siloed teams share their thoughts on how to best go about maintaining and securing network components in an efficient manner.
Measure twice, cut once
Pertaining to an enterprise IT network, any outages, security issues, or performance degradations can impact the entire business flow. As such, careful planning must occur throughout each day 0, 1, and 2 phases. As networks become increasingly complex and integrated with other systems, it is often better to err on the side of caution and thoroughly outline where potential roadblocks might occur ahead of time. This requires that network and support teams work together to ensure that everyone is on the same page prior to making any new integrations or changes. While this ideology may hinder the speed at which network projects are put into production, it must be done to ensure that tasks are performed correctly the very first time.