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Monthly Archives: December 2013

CNAP – Semester 1 – Chapters 10-15

(A Story of “How Levii met Tara”)

The fifth and final of a the Semester 1 training series of material. I’d originally developed this material late at night … or the wee hours of the morning, depending on your perspective. All four Semesters were originally developed while living in Abilene, TX; with later revisions after I’d moved to: San Antonio, TX; O’Fallon, IL; and Sembach, DE. The last update was made around 2005-2006 as a final handoff of instructional material to the 21st OWS systems flight to help prepare them for the CCNA examination, and as part of an after-hours DoD 8570 study group I formed for the IT/IS airmen in the area.

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Much of the work that went into developing a curriculum, summarizing data for these slides, and spending countless hours with stacks of books from Cisco Press could certainly be considered preparatory to other courses I’ve taught, any number of papers that I eventually did write, and a foundation to my self-identity as a person that enjoys sharing their knowledge; that would miss a key outcome. Those that know me have likely heard the story on how one of my earliest managers (and current colleague BTW) “conned” me into moving to Abilene. It was the light nights studying and working on this material, however, that introduced me to meet Tara. She took an interest in this strange young guy that showed up to IHOP every night with a laptop and stack of books, and who would eat his dinner with a gallon of coffee. So while I certainly hope this material finds a use to someone else, the opportunity to go back through it reinvigorates the memories of that first Christmas away from home, working on these slides, and the period that I was making a new friend; who years later … would become my wife.

This presentation covers the concepts of routing and addressing. Likely one of the most difficult areas for many people to initially grasp, sub-netting/CIDR were the subject of a few hours practice and working through problems as a group. I would typically run through three different methods of solving the problem, with increasing levels of decomposition and explanatory description back to the other methods. It’s my experience that subjects like this, as with many others that involve: formulas, solutions, proofs, sequential problem breakdown, etc., that could be solved multiple ways are often picked up quickly by the first 10% of a population, and they tend to be comfortable with multiple methods. The next 65% or so of the students will pick up given a second round of detailed explanation, but this group (and the final 25%) can be thrown back “off track” when demonstrating alternate methods, or further decomposition of the problem. It’s at this point then, that once a student ad the “ah ha!” moment, I would typically advise a student to excuse themselves from the class for remainder of the day, and give the sample problems a practice run a few hours later.

Reference Files:

The assessments and practical exam were delivered at the end of the Semester and are available below for reference.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2013 in Documents & Applications

 

CNAP – Semester 1 – Chapters 8 & 9

The fourth part of the inter-networking training material provides basic information on infrastructure and cabling standards.

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Reference Files:

The assessments and practical exam were delivered at the end of the Semester and are available below for reference.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2013 in Documents & Applications

 

CNAP – Semester 1 – Chapters 5-7

The third installment of the material developed, this presentation focuses on: media, network topologies, and introduces MAC addressing with basic Layer 2 & 3 functional knowledge.

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Reference Files:

The assessments and practical exam were delivered at the end of the Semester and are available below for reference.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2013 in Documents & Applications

 

CNAP – Semester 1 – Chapters 3 & 4

The second of five presentations used for background for the training programs I ran until around 2005. This deck provides basic information about LAN devices, network topologies, and the basics of electrical theory used for inter-networking communications.

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Reference Files:

The assessments and practical exam were delivered at the end of the Semester and are available below for reference.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2013 in Documents & Applications

 

CNAP – Semester 1 – Chapters 1 & 2

These are the first chapters of the Semester 1 slides I developed for use in the Structured on the Job (SOJT) training program for the Air Force (AF) Cisco Networking Academy Program (CNAP), along with the background lab configuration and practical exam I required for course completion. The courses were taught over a 10 day period of four (4) hours per day.  The individual lab assignments, some of the graphics, and the reading material are (C) Cisco Systems 2003 and are utilized under the fair-use sections of Copyright for training and education purposes.  Feel free to use any material on this site, and attribution back is greatly appreciated.

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Reference Files:

The assessments and practical exam were delivered at the end of the Semester and are available below for reference.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2013 in Documents & Applications

 

A Holiday Break

With the holiday season upon us, I’ll be taking a break from writing original posts and/or papers for a couple of weeks.  I won’t be taking this time to rest on my laurels, however.  I have plenty of projects to complete around the house, a decade of photos to sort and upload, and a number of older works that need dusted off and posted so that there is a possibility of others getting value from them.

Happy Holidays

I’ve continued the love of open collaboration, and strive to share my knowledge and expertise freely to those who ask of it. As every new cohort began, I opened with the same statement; which I still hold to be a positive truth:

Though I may be billed as your teacher, trainer, or as the course instructor; none of these are necessarily true. As a room of professionals, each of you have chosen to be here. I cannot teach those that don’t want to learn, nor can I instruct those that don’t wish to listen. I can guide, assist, advise, listen, and mentor. I will freely answer any question to which I’m familiar and certain, and research answers to those I am not. I’m a resource, coach, and your collaborator; and I look forward to the next 40 days we’ll spend here together.

It’s in this spirit that I’ve selected the training decks from the CNAP program to post over the next couple of weeks. The first series to follow this post will be the Cisco Networking Academy Program (CNAP) training material, slides, labs, and other handouts that I prepared as an instructor between 2000 and 2005.  They’ve been touched on from time-to-time, and although no longer relevant for the CCNA exam; the underlying technical concepts and theory aren’t the type of things that will age into irrelevance in the very near future.

In my opinion, the development, mentorship, and transparency in thought-processes are among the most defining characteristics of good leadership. Though I have largely moved out of the classroom, the lessons learned and training received in instructional design, pedagogy, and confidence in my subject-authority will undoubtedly stick with me; and be valuable in all aspects of my life. I hope any good information I might impart while republishing this series may be as valuable to you as it was to me.

Happy holidays to all, and I  look forward to our continued conversation.

//Levii

 

DoD Contracts and EVM Requirements: Worth a Second Look for Program Managers

I’ve written somewhat frequently on the benefits of quantitative management of IT programs, and specifically on some of the problems faced by defense contractors in aligning industry best-practice to ANSI-748 EVM control requirements.  I’m certainly not the only voice that’s advocated for reform on the acquisitions side of the house, and there are more than a few good perspectives in: alignment with Agile practices, Earned Value for Business Value, CMMI support for EVM, and the various tools and processes to make it all work together.  I’d therefore be remiss, if I didn’t open this post up by giving credit where it’s due. My perspective in this domain has been heavily influenced by Dale G., Glen B. Alleman, Paul J. Solomon, all the contributors on the StackExchange network, and a significant number of papers in both the academic and practitioner literature.  For anyone interested, I’ll post my reference library as a BibTex entry at a later date, or feel free to contact me on any site I frequent and I’ll package up the pertinent parts to send you.

The issue of compliance has been particularly troublesome for those projects that are effectively fixed in terms of cost (i.e. the contract award value) and resources (i.e. the bid LoE supporting the effort), while the scope of any particular work package tends to be flexible (e.g. sustainment, maintenance, or Agile development). Though I’ve argued that the DMCA guidance and intent statement in conjunction with the ANSI specification itself both allow for the use of Technical Performance Measures (TPMs) as a method of tracking progress-to-plan; the assignment of value to technical tasks, construction of the Integrated Master Schedule (IMS), and development of the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is often constrained by the Statement of Work (SoW)/Performance Work Statement (PWS), or acquisition (AQ) process.

Thankfully, a footnote and minor change to the November 26, 2013 reissuance of DoD 5000.02, streamlines a lot of this effort, particularly for those programs under the $50M threshold. Though this particular language gives 180 days to redevelop the guidance, the interim instruction appears specifically intended to better facilitate the acquisitions process, and very well could be read to open the TPM method of metric utilization by aligning more to the Systems Engineering sub-processes.

DoD 5000.2 EVM Requirement - November 26, 2013

This change reinvigorates my original argument, and while the DCMA has allowed this type of cost-allocation to technical measures for some time; acquisitions (AQ) have been constrained in the application.  Realizing that many smaller programs bore an undue level of overhead generating financial metrics that didn’t necessarily trace back to the value being derived, and that numerous projects using EVM in a strict application to comply with AQ policy have failed provide effective measures for program managers, it seems that we’re finally getting there.  The option for AQ to define EV on technical measures can be used to tightly align industry best-practices (e.g. Agile, Kanbam, CMMI, ITIL, or ISO processes) back to the EVM standard, and enable us to price contracts more competitively.  Without the additional overhead and financial wizardry necessary to get a non-EVM program to report as if it were; and with the ability to “manage by the numbers” it opens an avenue for much more productive programs, and reduction in taxpayer funded waste.

The biggest surprise, however, lies in what’s missing.  A close look at the EVM requirements themselves, as outlined below shows that task orders above $20M but below $50M must use a system that’s compliant with the EVM guidelines (and there for the optional use of TPM), but not a formally validated EVMS.

For the near-future, it would certainly appear that smaller projects, and particularly those supporting more fluid requirements that are realistically best-described as Level of Effort and/or Time and Materials (T&M) types of contracts, have had the noose loosened a notch.  I’d certainly advise any PM in the industry that’s under this requirement to take a closer look … you might find that you’ve got the opportunity to improve not only your reporting, but the processes themselves to gain efficiency and analytic intelligence for continuous improvement.

As with everything else on this site, I hope to hear your thoughts. Contact me, or leave your comments below & I’ll do my best to get back to you.

//Levii

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2013 in Business

 

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