In order to help ensure the success of any network design project, the implementation process for the network needs to be carefully planned. The main element of this step involves the creation of documentation that includes detailed instructions to be followed by the engineers that will ultimately handle the implementation process.
The methods used to document a network implementation plan are often different based on the preferences of both the customer and the network designer. In some cases, documents are created for specific purposes and use tables or stepped instructions that will ultimately walk the engineer through every step of a certain process. Another method involves the creation of a master document that contains cross-references that engineers can refer to for more information. For example, if a design project involves the implementation of three PIX firewalls with different configurations, the implementation plan might include one set of generic configuration settings to be applied to each system, and then specific sub-sections that provide the unique settings for each individual system. Regardless of the specific task to be carried out, it is essential that the network designer not assume anything about what the engineers should be familiar with; good implementation documentation provides instructions that even the most junior engineer should be able to follow.
In order to ensure that the implementation plan includes adequate levels of detail, the following information should always be included in the documentation:
- Detailed descriptions of each step, in order to reduce any issues associated with misinterpretation on the part of engineers.
- References to other parts of the design document for more information as required.
- Implementation guidelines that outline issues such as any other configuration settings that a particular step is dependent upon. For example, the details of configuring OSPF on a router might depend upon basic router settings having been already completed.
- Estimated time required for each step, so that the implementation can be scheduled effectively.
- Detailed fallback instructions that can be carried out in cases where the steps result in a serious network problem or failure.