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Change Advisory Boards (CAB) can be challenging to navigate. Often the CABs are a panel of technical and non-technical people that are tasked with reviewing the proposed change and what impact it might have on the organization. Often you (as the wireless network engineer) will have to navigate their requests for additional information and to communicate to many people before the change.
If only I could have 1000 dollars for every time I have heard “Have you talked to so and so?” or “You need to send out communication to everyone and their cousin”. I would certainly be rich by now!!!
CAB’s are very useful and necessary to help make sure different business units are notified in case a risk materializes into an outage. Plus they also help the wireless network engineer learn the political structure and risk tolerance of the organization.
One thing you can do to help with navigating these types of processes and make communication easier is to group tasks into containers.
One idea I came up with is levels of optimization as a container. So when I talk to the CAB, my change may be to perform Level 1 Wireless Optimizations on XYZ Floor. I certainly can drill down into details if asked. I have found many people won’t have the background to comprehend the details. The detailed discussions also tends to bog down the communication.
Level 1 Optimizations: Lv1 Optimizations include building out AP Groups, RF Profiles for each floor/building, Setting mandatory, supported data rates, modifying Transmission Power, and many other configuration changes. Lv 1 Optimization changes are configuration changes that can be applied or removed without too much time spent by the Wireless Network Engineer. Reports or analysis maybe performed remotely to analyze the change for positive indicators.
Level 2 Optimizations: Lv 2 Optimizations are more in depth. A wireless validation should be preformed and analyzed. Radios may be turned off or set to Monitor Mode. The time involved in Lv 2 Optimizations is much greater than the Lv 1 Optimizations.
Level 3 Optimizations: Lv 3 Optimizations are even more in depth. A wireless validation should be preformed and analyzed. Access points may be relocated, added, removed, or the entire area maybe redesigned. This is the most time consuming optimization. In many instances new cables may need to be run. This further increases the amount of time and expense of the optimization.
My results have been fairly positive with this abstraction or containerizing many tasks into groups. Most people seem to understand that Lv 3 Optimization probably takes longer and costs more than Lv 1 Optimization.
Maybe we should thank Nascar, The Auto Industry, or Video Games! After all…that Lv 3 Elven Rogue-Fighter is likely much more skilled than a Lv 1 Elven Rogue-Fighter! Or that Ford Mustang GT Lv 3 Performance Pack likely costs more and brings more performance to the car than a Mustang GT Lv 1 Performance Pack!!
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What do you think? Do you have a better way of communicating? Please share by emailing me at WiFiTodd@gmail.com