Working Up

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

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If We Tell Him, He’ll Get Mad

October 8th, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

People are free to choose their reactions to events. I am included in “people.” We all are.

I don’t know how many times I have heard the phrase that is the title of this post. There are countless variations:

  • You tell him that!
  • That’s easy to say when s/he isn’t around.
  • The last person to say something like that to him…
  • and so on.

Okay, so I or we say something to someone and they “get mad.” That person is an adult and they are free to react to an event as they wish with whatever emotion they wish. As an aside, they are not free to do anything they want to do, e.g., hit people, etc.

If “s/he” wants to react by being angry, so be it.

But you don’t know what it’s like to be around him when he is angry.

True statement. I don’t know what that is like. I can guess, but I don’t know.

I am also an adult. I choose how I will react to him being angry. I can:

  • laugh
  • roll my eyes
  • yawn
  • leave the room for a few minutes

You can’t do that!

Yes, I can, and I have reacted to anger in all of these and more ways.

Allow me to repeat this:

I am also an adult. I choose how I will react.

The same is true of you if your birth certificate indicates you are of age.

→ No CommentsTags: Adults · Breathe · Choose · Communication

America Must be Good Enough

October 5th, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

America has plenty of problems. Still, America must be good enough as people risk imprisonment to come here.

SAT scores are at the lowest  in ten years.

American WiFi is slower than the rest of the world.

The same is true with our broadband.

Our bridges are collapsing.

Yet we innovate more than anyone else and invent commerce that other countries happily copy. I guess with all our problems we are good enough to do all these things that seem to be good. And people rush to enter here ahead of the bureaucracy, i.e., illegally.

Yes, we must be good enough.

→ No CommentsTags: America

Google Search Results and Lawsuits

October 1st, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

Google is often sued for its free search results. I am missing something here.

India is investigating Google search results for antitrust violations.

I don’t understand how any of this works. I pay nothing for Google search results. They are free advice that are often worth every penny I pay. Yes, sometimes they are worthless.

So, how can I, how can anyone, complain? There must be something that I am missing here.

I do read that some countries have laws about companies that have a “dominant” position in an industry. I guess Google search qualifies for that. Still, however, no one pays for it. How can a free gift be subject to regulation?

Someone, please explain this to me.

→ No CommentsTags: Government

Page Zero of My Journals

September 28th, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

On the first page of each journal book, I first write a few things to keep me in the desired frame of mind.

Journal Writing

  • A tool for self awareness
  • events
  • people
  • things
  • feelings
  • insights
  • questions
  • experiences with ideas
  • dreams and fantasies

The Examen Spiritual Exercises

  1. Thank God for all gifts
  2. Ask for grace to know my sins and root them out
  3. Examine my day hour by hour
  4. Ask pardon of God for all my sins
  5. Resolve to amend with the help of God’s grace

→ No CommentsTags: Journal · Writing

Citizens and Citizenry

September 24th, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

Sometimes citizens of the U.S. working for the U.S. become separated from the rest of the citizenry at everyone’s loss.

Recently, heads of agencies of the U.S. Intelligence Community met to discuss the types of things they discuss in public. Several of them lamented the protests of many citizens against their efforts to protect the country. They didn’t understand the resistance. They also didn’t understand the outcries from their lack of understanding.

They are simply sitting in another world that is far distant from where everyone else sits.

There are too many recent cases of American law enforcement officials using terminal force against Americans during cases that don’t warrant that.

The law enforcement officials are sitting…well, you know.

It is a terrible tragedy when some U.S. citizens separate from all other U.S. citizens. They stop serving those other citizens and start serving government agencies. Government agencies are not real things—they are merely names given to organizations of U.S. citizens. When service to something that is not real becomes paramount, we see what we have been seeing too often.

If you are employed by the U.S. government, by the citizens of the U.S., please stop and consider that you serve all the citizens. Please.

→ No CommentsTags: Culture · Employment · Government

Job Title: Stupid Hunter

September 21st, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

I’m not sure what the job title is, but every organization needs a person whose job it is to find the stupid that is hindering everyone.

I have seen this every place I have worked. Somewhere in the greater organization, people—often smart, loving, caring people—are doing something that is just plain stupid. They have to do it as the culture forces them to, but they are still doing something that is just plain stupid. They can’t stop the stupid, because they don’t have the authority.

Hence, every large organization needs a Stupid Hunter. The Stupid Hunter digs through details as you can’t find the stupid without digging through details. Eventually, the Stupid Hunter will find the stupid. For example,

  • Some people doing nothing, and hating the boredom, while others are working 60 hours a week.
  • Budget people making engineering decisions alone.
  • Engineers making budget decisions alone.
  • Project schedules that have tasks ending before they start.
  • People writing memos to other people who sit three feet away instead of talking to them.
  • And so on…

Once the Stupid Hunter finds the stupid, the Stupid Hunter reports it to a person who has the authority and the will the wipe out the stupid. Once the stupid is gone, the organization functions much better, the people are happier, and life moves along smoother.

There are several problems with having a Stupid Hunter. One is that someone has to admit that stupid exists. That takes more humility than most people possess. Another is that people have to tolerate the Stupid Hunter asking them questions. Often the Stupid Hunter becomes a pain in the rear as the Stupid Hunter continues to ask and ask and ask and…

Finally, the people in the organization have to change once the Stupid Hunter finds the prey. You would think that people would be happy to rid themselves of stupid, but that is one of the things about stupid—it just seems to stay.

→ No CommentsTags: Change · Competence · Consulting · Work

I Love My Unsolvable Problems

September 17th, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

We tend to love to live with our own problems.

I read recently of a great innovation in fonts for programmers. Someone has just invented a new font that makes it easy to tell the difference between the number one and the lowercase letter L. Wow! 2015 and we’ve finally solved the problem.

I first encountered this great innovation in 1987. Someone at work found a font where…blah blah blah. This is a one followed by an L: 1 l . I must be using some advanced font because I can tell the difference.

All this blather about programmers and fonts illustrates on aspect of human life and endeavor:

We love our unsolvable problems.

Let me tell you about all the unsolvable problems in my life (I won’t go into them at this time, but if you want to know…).

Understand please, my life is full of troubles that no one can solve (like the number one and the letter L). Don’t suggest any quick fixes. I have explored all of them and proven them to be faulty. You see, I am a tough, tough person. I must be tough, because I have pushed and pushed against my unsolvable problems and found a way through my sheer fill-in-the-blank-with-a-good-attribute to live life regardless.

I don’t want anyone to solve my unsolvable problems. If they did, my excuses and fill-in-the-blank-with-a-good-attribute would both cease to exist.

→ No CommentsTags: Adapting · Excuses

The Proximity Law

September 14th, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

Things that are similar tend to be near one another. The same seems to hold for people.

I am sure someone has already named and explained this law. Oh look, here is an actual definition.

Oh well, I won’t get credit for inventing this. It is a shame that few persons understand the existence of the law, what it means, and how to use it.

In software development, it is known as the error-prone module. If I find several errors in one piece of software, there are probably a bunch more in there that I haven’t found yet.

Write Edward Abbey spent a few years of his life looking for lost people in the desolate American southwest. When they found the dead body of the lost person, they often found the remains of another dead person nearby. It seems that there are places in nature where people stumble and die—proximity.

I find it a tragedy that there are some people who attract tragic persons. Those about them tend to have tragic lives filled with bad decisions and bad results. Perhaps those persons at the center of all this tragedy have a tragic effect on others.

Please, if you find such persons at the center of tragedy, run away.

→ No CommentsTags: Choose

The Aspirin Illusion

September 10th, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

I’m caught in the aspirin illusion yet again. When will I learn?

The suppression of pain instead of the eradication of the disease for which the pain is a warning. Gerald M. Weinberg

Here is my story…

I had headaches in the mornings. I took Excedrin extra strength, migraine, etc. which is aspirin, acetaminophen, and caffeine. I did this for years, perhaps 15 to 20 years.

And one day I discovered that I had headaches because I was dehydrated. All I had to do…was drink more in the evenings and this eliminated 95% of headaches.

How stupid was I???? I was suffering from the aspirin illusion.

→ No CommentsTags: Adapting · Clarity · Health

Software Developers

September 7th, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

This is yet another job title that is constantly misused by recruiters.

Software Developer: another stupid job title that reveals the ignorance of those trying to hire people.

Yes, I am a software developer. No I don’t have ten years Java programming experience. Are you trying to hire a programmer or a software developer? Yes, there is more to developing software than programming. What more? Well, software development involves:

  • requirements
  • analysis
  • design
  • tradeoff analysis
  • programming
  • testing
  • documenting
  • integration
  • and even management

Need I continue building the list?

→ No CommentsTags: Communication · Programming · Work