What a week for learning

Week ending 11/10/2019

From embarking on a journey to uncover the best value technology for network core switches, to understanding the audit for the desktop port density in Hackney office sites.

The discovery of new technology took the shape of another workshop lab test session hosted by the ‘Open Compute’ vendor. The lab test consisted of a brief presentation showcasing the Open Compute network capabilities, followed by a workshop session in which our engineers were given access to a virtual staged environment giving them the opportunity to carry out a range of networked related stress test and any other common problems which they may typically encounter within our network environment in order to establish if the ‘Open Compute’ network solution will be able to adapt and indeed surpass our network needs.

What we aim to deliver

The primary deliverables for the team in SPRINT 14 will be the audit for the port density, finalising and shortlisting the discovery to core and distribution level network vendor options, first drafts of firewall design and to begin mapping and streamlining the procurement steps for this project. 

What we have found challenging

Cisco vendor solution: Currently the one thing we are finding challenging is organising Cisco test lab. They tend to want to steer the direction of our requirements. I put this down to a legacy vendor relationships in which we have been lead by the vendor.

Procurement Process: We are currently experiencing a bit of back and forth in the procurement process. Our current bottleneck is the internal legal department who are currently in receipt of a vendor agreement pending approval. No clear indication of the turnaround.

Next Steps

  • Organise the Cisco test lab
  • Complete the port density audit
  • Hash out the mapping doc for the procurement steps

Swings & Roundabouts Week notes 04/10

Swings & Roundabouts

At the start of this week, my team seemed optimistic and keen to deliver on the forthcoming SPRINT, which we were all keen to make a start on. The team sat down with the product owner and had a very productive SPRINT, planning session. After sizing up each task by order of complexity using a story point system. (More on story points and their benefits in future posts.) As a team, we were equipped with our newly found individual superpowers in hand and ready to tackle the challenge that was identified as “SPRINT 13”.

The first day in the 2nd week of SPRINT 13 looked great but by day 2 and 3, emergency service desk calls resulted in half of my team being pulled off the project which ultimately had an impact on our outputs for the closing week of the SPRINT 13.

What did we deliver
Despite the limited resource availability, in the sense of team members, the team did manage to pick up some momentum and make a start on some tasks which we had agreed to deliver. Unfortunately, the tasks we were unable to deliver on will be rolled over into the next SPRINT.

Despite the challenges we successfully completed RFQ cabling for delegated sites. We have begun developing and designing a firewall for the data center satellite site campus network, as well as the design for the data center connectivity.

What did we find challenging
This phase in the project lifecycle is strongly based on procurement. We are currently having some challenges understanding the steps for procurement approval for some of our new vendors, which has caused some slight delays in costing approval turnaround. Unfortunatley the team hadn’t really factored in this constraint in their planning.

How do we plan to overcome the challenge
The team has agreed that one of the key focuses for the next upcoming SPRINT will be to fully map out, document, then cross-check for approval the relevant stakeholders on the correct steps for new vendor procurement. This should prove to be not only helpful to the team but the business as a whole.

Next Steps

  • Map out the procurement process
  • Look into solutions on how we can plan better in the unfortunate instance when team members are pulled into emergency engineers’ cover. (This will be hashed out in the next team Retro)
  • Prep for the next team Retro
  • Organise and plan the VOIP desktop audit
  • Kick-off SPRINT 14


Week ending 27/10/2019

This week has been all about getting into the technical and beginning my journey to understanding the ICT procurement process.

Let us start with my team’s discovery this week, which was easily one of our highlights. The Network Redesign Team were tasked with exploring the potential for new vendors, to improve our current network – Cisco-based closed environment solution and providing an alternative future proof solution which also meets our current requirements.

With this in mind, the team used two days this week to attend workshops held by vendors offering potential answers to our challenges


We were invited to two demo workshop-style presentations –  

 ‘Aruba’ and ‘Open Compute’. Despite both companies being leading networking specialists, the two had very different approaches to the requirements presented to them.

Aruba is a very established industry brand. The report back to the ‘Mothership’ following on from the workshop revealed that they had some unique enterprise features. One that stood out, in particular, was the ‘RAP’, an offering which includes role-based network access and Adaptive Radio Management (ARM), which gives remote workers the same high-quality Wi-Fi experience as being in a central hub.

The Open Compute workshop was very impressive. As the name suggests, Open Compute is open source technology networking solution. We were particularly impressed by their ease of integration and ‘relatively short up-skilling window’, (although the jury is still out on that one). Another plus is the ease of scalability as the system environment has no ‘lock-in’s’ so our engineers would not be tied down by licenses, which would allow us to be flexible with our IA design making us more agile to user needs.


As we actively embark on the hunt for new networking solutions for Hackney, we explore exciting technological advancements available on the market in this fast-evolving world of networking.

Each of the above approaches equally has its fair share of pros and cons. However, we are still in the discovery stage. More will be revealed as we bring our scuba diving kit for a deeper dive into both of these platforms and other solutions.


Week Notes Ending 20/09/2019

I sometimes ask myself, “If I was able to have one superpower what would it be?” Funny how I always find myself wanting to be able to control time and weather. What does this have to do with my weekly review I hear you ask? I posed the same question to the Web first team to find out, in an inspired superhero way, each project team member’s superhero strengths. (After all, you never know when you might need a superhero to rescue) The concept tied in nicely with the superhero-themed Retro.

Highlight of the week
The team retro was the highlight of this week. As a team, we unpacked some hidden truths which needed to be surfaced for us to acknowledge, understand, build and progress.

Objectives for next week
We have clearly defined goals courtesy of our sprint planning session some of which to mention
– Finishing off requirements for gov wifi & gov roam
– Completion of switch testing

Special Thanks!
Special thanks to my team this week for being so awesome! Thanks for trusting the process, eventually we will build on trusting the person.
Finally a big thank you to the ‘Storm Trooper’ who rocked up just as things were about to become worthy of a ‘Kleenex’ advert with group hugs to match. This whole week has helped me understand the team dynamic and superhero strengths quite early in the project lifecycle.
Like a said, you never know when you might need a superhero to aid and rescue.


First weekly planning review for the network redesign

This week has been a week of learning, meeting team members, putting faces to names, requirement gathering for an understanding of project overall objective. The end goal being to create the building blocks for the foundation of relationships with team members and stakeholders in order to best steer my team in AGILE ways of working which best fit a practical and customer centred solution based project delivery.


SPRINT Goals for this closing week have been raised and approved for the following PO’s

  • Optimity, Hyperoptic & Community Fibre
  • Open Compute kick off workshop preparation enquires answered with green light for next steps
  • I have been introduced to my team and stakeholders
  • I have begun work cleaning up the Trello board into a Kanban view
  • Organisation of LAB for next phase demo and testing with Aruba and Open Compute


  • Backlog refinement
  • Sprint planning and team retro
  • Presentation of new IA design to stakeholders
  • Open Compute & Aruba workshops


  • The findings from the workshop

WEB First Network HLD Team

Anthony Aboagye, Chidi Oko, Evan Wolliston, Gerard Mason, Husain Asania, Isaiah Oketola, Nana Duncan, Shafiq Ahmed, Mal Morris, Lindsay Rex