Network Design Principles: Design by Committee

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Significant engineering designs are rarely the result of one person’s effort. Network design performed by a single person may be acceptable if user requirements are simple and the possibility of getting things wrong is low or easily fixable. Otherwise, the design effort should involve a group of experts and relevant stakeholders, including users. Designs by committee have better chances of success when requirements are complex, various technologies are involved, and decisions are irreversible.

Today’s networks are complex and they involve wide range of technologies. It is not possible for any single person to be an expert in all these diverse topics. Moreover, complex network can be divided into smaller components whose design can be carried out concurrently by several teams. An individual designer, on the other hand, must handle the design sequentially.

Consider forming a multidisciplinary team of experts to design networks that have complex requirements and the consequences of failures are intolerable. If you are a lone designer, present your designs to collogues and solicit their feedback. Regardless of the project and team size, seek the clients involvement and buy-in by sharing your progress regularly throughout the design process.

Read about other Network Design Principles.