Approaching 15 years at Red8, I am writing my first wordpress blog and was thinking about a key success factor working with our customers all these years. Plan your work, and work your plan, or else how do you know where you are going, and how do you know when you get there? I first heard this mantra from a professor in college, and have lived by that in my tenure at Red8. Always have a plan for a meeting, and even if plans change, you have a goal set. Always have a written project plan for every upgrade, hardware swap, maintenance or even something as simple as a disk shelf add. By doing this, there is a plan to follow, you have success criteria to know when you are completed, and you have a repeatable plan that can be peer reviewed, and repeated.
Having a written plan has saved the day many times by providing a set task list for peer review, critical path with order of operations, lessons learned and version control for the next time the task is performed. Below is an excerpt of a NetApp head swap plan using ARL (aggregate relocate) where a FAS6080 was non-disruptively swapped for a FAS8080EX one controller at a time. The ports changed after swap for this advanced in-place procedure and it is important to have a port mapping prior to upgrade, including additional ports needed. The cluster stayed up the entire time and having a mapping along with a detailed step-by-step plan allowed for a successful upgrade. I don’t perform any task from simple to complex without a written plan.