One of the biggest issues I have seen time and again on projects is communications management or lack thereof. The Cisco Announcement or lack of, for the CCIE SP Lab is a prime example again of this. Many candidates have received the official email but there is no notice here => http://www.cisco.com/web/learning/le3/ccie/announcements/index.html
Putting my project manager hat on for a second and this causes confusion. The same can be said for ISP’s. On many occasions tickets would be raised with the ISP, say area office WAN performance issue for example. Ticket gets raised with the Customer Service Desk who subsequently log a ticket with their ISP counter parts, call gets passed onto the ISP line team, their job is looking after the circuits themselves, tail circuits, local loops, etc. They begin to look at the problem, meanwhile the support manager of the customer calls his CRM [Customer Relationship Manager] in the ISP looking for an update. The CRM gets in touch straight away with the lead engineer who knows the customer\site well and gets on the CE\PE’s looking at outputs. He diagnosis a QoS marking that has been completed incorrectly and makes the change required. The customer suddenly sees their backup\AV rollout\file transfer\application\whatever suddenly increase in speed. Case solved or is it? The customer service desk is sometimes unaware that the issue is resolved so they contact their counterparts in the ISP who contact the line team who are still trying to figure out the issue -> confusion.
My Solution? Single points of reference – owners if you will, both on the ISP and Customer Side. They own the call from it’s inception through to resolution and issue RFO [Reason for Outage] reports post call resolution. All communications such as verbals\mails\etc go through them or they are cc’d on them. This eliminates mis-communications\provides ownership\prevents confusion and finally inspires confidence especially on the customers side.
Cisco promote unified communications but perhaps a cohesive announcement of the above change through email\updated web pages and official announcements through the Cisco Learning Network would have been better that the current situation for SP candidates.