Working Up

Working Up in Project Management, Systems Engineering, Technology, and Writing

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Someone has to Pay for the Study

September 3rd, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

Of course the study was funded by someone. How else would it be studied?

Of course that study says XYZ, it was funded by the XYZ industry.

I see this all the time. A study states something. Immediately, some persons deny the study because it was funded by a group of (evil) persons who have an interest in the outcome of the study.

Those claims are true about the funding of the study, but the report could still be true. I mean 2 + 3 could still equal 5 no matter who funded the study.

After all, someone has to pay for these studies and investigations and tests and such. Can you please find me a group of persons who are qualified and eager to work for no pay? We could have them do the studies. Maybe the government would create an independent studies group to perform all the studies. Then again, one political party would vote for that, so they study-ers would be owned by that party. They study-ers would have to live somewhere, so they would be owned by their city, state, region, and country.

Is anyone impartial? Why do we ask, “Yes, but according to who?”

I guess no one trusts anyone anymore. This must all be Nixon’s fault, except that most people weren’t born yet when Nixon was President, so it must by Clinton’s fault (which Clinton?).

→ No CommentsTags: Trust

Lying and Liars

August 31st, 2015 · No Comments

by  Dwayne Phillips

Verbs sometimes lead to nouns. Some of which we should seek to avoid.

If you lie, you become known as a liar. That verb leads to that noun. Funny how that works.

Once you are a liar, can you erase that? Can you do anything to remove that noun from you. Perhaps not. Perhaps that should impede the verb that leads to the noun.

→ No CommentsTags: Communication

Sentences and Paragraphs

August 27th, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

I learn what a technical writer does (now that I are one).

I have been working in a job titled “technical writer” for about a month now. I wasn’t sure what that job title meant or what a technical writer actually does. After an entire month or so, I have concluded that the following is the job description:

Take blurbs, conversations, and sometimes even written bullet points and produce sentences and paragraphs.

Usually, this is about technical matters.

→ No CommentsTags: Work · Writing

Find the Disconnect

August 24th, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

News is happening when there is a disconnect in the pattern A leads to B.

Consider this: A leads to B.

So, find A, and when it leads to something other than B, you have a news story.

For example, more money spent on schools leads to better student performance. When it doesn’t, we have a news story. We have irrational behavior and, for some reason, we think that to be unusual and, hence, a news story.

(It seems to me that irrational behavior occurs so often that we would think it normal and not newsworthy, but that is just me.)

At least the behavior is irrational when viewed from the perspective of “we are trying to lead to better student performance.” If what we are trying to lead to is “more jobs for people who really don’t do anything but accept a paycheck,” we have rational behavior.

Perhaps defining B (the leading to thing) is the key or something like that.

→ No CommentsTags: Communication · Economics · General Systems Thinking

Looking for New Ideas

August 20th, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

Here is one technique for finding ideas. It is based on four archaic tools: a flat surface, a book, a pencil, and a piece of paper.

Looking for ideas? Here is a technique.

  1. sit a flat surface (desk, dining room table, McDonald’s, bar (yes a bar))
  2. put a blank sheet of paper and pencil on the flat surface
  3. read a good book
  4. as ideas hit you, and they will, jot them on the blank piece of paper

You can do step three with either fiction or non-fiction. It depends on the type of ideas you seek.

You are welcome. This technique is copyright free.

→ No CommentsTags: Ideas

Remote Sensing and not-so-Remote Sensing

August 17th, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

Recent experience with Pluto shows us once again that all the expert ideas about remote things are usually wrong.

Sensing something from a distance, a.k.a., remote sensing is difficult. I’ve written about this before. Everyone seems to know this, but that doesn’t stop people from acting as if they are exceptional. I mean, all you have to do when sensing from a distance is start by saying something like,

We are basing our statements on distant measurements and we believe…

(Note the use of “and” instead of “but”)

Now we have a close fly by of Pluto. Up close, Pluto has some features that it shouldn’t have. Gosh, how could the experts have been so wrong? Another example of the difficulty of remote sensing.

Sorry, but now I go back to one of my least favorite topics—climate change. Experts are stating the temperature of the earth 10,000 (did I put the correct number of zeros there?) ago based on data sensed from afar (this time the distance is years, not miles). They don’t preface their statements with the recommended preface. Instead, they speak with enough certainty to cause well-intentioned to legislate legislation and proclaim proclamations that eliminate jobs and generally disrupt the lives of other people, while not altering their own well-guided lives.

Perhaps, just perhaps, one day we will learn.

→ No CommentsTags: Estimation · General Systems Thinking · Learning · Science

I Know How to Start the Windows Task Manager

August 13th, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

Knowing how to repair a system indicates something about its quality.

I know how to start the MS Windows task manager. You press the Crtl-Alt-Del keys at the same time. A window pops and displays option. One option is the task manager. The task manager allows me to kill processes that are stuck or broken in some way.

On an Apple computer in OS X, there is a “Force Quit” function that allows me to kill a process that is malfunctioning. There is a key sequence to cause the Force Quit window to appear. I can’t remember that key sequence. I guess that is because I need to use it about once a year.

This states something about the reliability of MS Windows and Apple OS X. I suppose is states something about the reliability or quality of any system. If I know how to repair the system, I have repaired it before which means it has failed before. Hmmm.

If I have memorized how to repair a system, I have repair it often. Hmmm, quality? Not so much.

→ No CommentsTags: General Systems Thinking · Management · Problems · Systems · Technical Debt

The Meeting is Over

August 10th, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

The meeting is over. Hereafter, we are having a friendly chat.

→ No CommentsTags: Management · Meetings

Write the Worst Last

August 6th, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

Sometimes the best thing to do as a writer is to skip the difficult parts and only do the easy things.

Writers, why kill yourself? Write the easy stuff first. You may learn how to write the difficult stuff in the process. And then best of all, you may decide that the difficult stuff is unnecessary so you leave it out.

Usually, the “Introduction” is the most difficult section of any piece to write. Writers stare at the screen waiting for that first section to come them and never do anything because it never comes.

Try again later.

→ No CommentsTags: Writing

The Kids can See

August 3rd, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

Kids today are anxious to move one to something better. That frustrates us old folks. We have a solution, if we choose it.

This is one of things that bothers us old people about young adults:

They want to move up and move on and do something else (too quickly)

They haven’t worked long enough in one spot to have earned the right or something to make the move. When I started working, I knew a little about the one spot where I worked, and that was it. I did not push anyone to let me move on and up because I didn’t know what else existed.

The difference between us when we were their age and them today is they can see. Technology allows them to see the rest of the world. They want to move on because they know that this one spot is not the entire world.

Do you want them to stay with you in this spot to help you produce? You have to make this one spot better. That is my challenge—make this one spot better. The choice is mine.

→ No CommentsTags: Adapting · Adults · Agility