Network Design Step 1: Identifying Business Constraints

In a perfect world, a network design project would not have any business constraints. The network designer would be given a list of business and technical goals, along with a blank check. Unfortunately, business constraints like financial issues, corporate policies, scheduling, and personnel issues must all be carefully determined, considered, and well understood in order for a network design project to succeed. Overlooking any one of these areas would at best lead to a few unpleasant surprises, and at worst, potentially doom the network design project to failure.

The list below outlines some of the more common business constraints that you should be familiar with, along with examples.

  • Budgets. Financial considerations represent the most common business constraint. While some companies develop a fixed budget for a project in advance, others tend to be more flexible, especially in cases where the scope of a project changes after the current situation is assessed. Regardless of whether it is flexible or not, the budget associated with any project represents the classic example of a business constraint, and one that is generally easy to identify.
  • Corporate policies. Businesses of all sizes define policies and procedures based on what they perceive to be best practices. Since policies vary from organization to organization, it is critical for the network designer to gather information about any policies that might impact a project. An example of a corporate policy that represents a business constraint would include a company requiring you to deal with a preferred vendor.
  • Scheduling issues. Scheduling issues are an example of another very common business constraint. As part of deciding to pursue a particular project like implementing a new network or an upgrading an existing one, a customer will generally include a schedule that defines when the project should be completed, as well as individual milestones.
  • Personnel issues. Personnel issues are an example of a business constraint that can take many different forms. For example, a company might not have sufficient staff to allocate to a project, or those staff members may not have the required knowledge to participate. Similarly, personnel issues can also impact project schedules based on the availability of staff when factors like other projects or vacation time are considered.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.