common time-management mistake: rack & stack

George Bonser gbonser at
Fri Feb 17 16:28:30 UTC 2012

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jeff Wheeler 
> Sent: Thursday, February 16, 2012 11:30 PM
> Subject: common time-management mistake: rack & stack
> Randy's P-Touch thread brings up an issue I think is worth some
> discussion.  I have noticed that a lot of very well-paid, sometimes
> well-qualified, networking folks spend some of their time on "rack &
> stack" tasks, which I feel is a very unwise use of time and talent.
> Imagine if the CFO of a bank spent a big chunk of his time filling up
> ATMs.
> Flying a sharp router jockey around to far-flung POPs to install gear
> is just as foolish.
> Not only does the router jockey cost a lot more to employ than a CCNA,
> but if your senior-level talent is wasting time in airports and IBXes,
> that is time they can't be doing things CCNAs can't.

I see this as a double-edged sword.   You don't want your "C" staff out in the field actually installing gear as a general course of operations as that is a great waste of their time/talent unless the "C" role is more "honorary" than anything else.  That said, you might want a senior technical person on site overseeing the installation, checking the configuration, interfacing with vendor staff, testing things, etc.  And it is good to have this senior staff member present when things go sideways as is often the case with new installations and often these issues are physical and are best solved with someone senior on site who can make decisions on the spot or carry more weight with the provider to get things done quickly. This should be someone that was involved in discussions with the vendor's rep. during the planning phase.  If you get too reliant on sending only the cage monkeys (a term I use with fondness) then what happens when problems turn up greatly depend on your corporate culture.  Do they simply stop, report the problem and wait for direction?  Is there anyone on site that has the trust of the organization to make decisions on the fly and cut through the organizational red tape? Can they authorize a configuration change to work around something unforeseen?  Having someone senior enough on site to make these decisions and carries some weight with the vendor can greatly reduce the time it takes to get a data center up and running.  Granted, he doesn't need to be there when the initial cables are being laid out but should be there once equipment starts being installed in racks and configured.  Having that experience and authority on site at the time of installation can be quite valuable.

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