Clear study path for CCIE certification

So like many others finishing their CCNP’s, ive been looking at the CCIE R&S track. There are two obstacles to become one of the prestigious ones with CCIE digits. One is the written exam, and the second is the lab exam. Of these two, the lab exam seems to be the big one of the two. I would like to add a third however. That one is the study path to passing the other two.

What I mean by this is how you layout a complete plan on how you want to obtain the CCIE, from the beginning to the finish. There are alot of seperate things on both the written and the lab blueprint, with very little guidance on what sort of gap to expect from CCNP to CCIE (R&S). It is therefor pretty hard to determine what books to read, what labs to do, what to read up on, in what order to do things and so on and so forth. I have asked around about this, and it is very individual how people tackle this issue. Some people will prepare for the lab exam with full vendor material along with books to learn the technologies, and during this course they will do the written. Another approach is to treat the written for itself and after that is done, study for the lab. I am at a toss-up on what is the right choice, should I ever embark on the journey. My beef with doing the whole thing at once, is whether or not the theoritical part is there to do the vendor material, and with the written-then-lab approach, it is that the written will be all theory and not much hands-on to back it up.

In the end, I am 100% convinced that a plan of any sort is nessecary for any chance of success, so this is not something one can just skip by and hit the lab from the get go. A vendor offered plan for this sort of thing would be in order I think. They have alot of success-stories and will therefor be able to form a clear and consise opinion on how to start planning out your journey.