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

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Entries from January 2010

Right Problem, Wrong Method, or was It the Other Way Around?

January 28th, 2010 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips There are problems and there are methods of solving them. Given these two items, there are four cases that can define projects. Let’s consider the cases and how to avoid the more painful ones. In some of my books I have written about projects that went astray, i.e. they were disasters with […]

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Tags: General Systems Thinking · Management · Problems

Improving the Work

January 25th, 2010 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Systems builders should concentrate on one thing – improving the work of the people who will use the system. Sometimes we lose sight of what we are doing. We build systems. Why? Well, to make money for our employer. We hope the system makes money for the organization that uses it. This […]

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Tags: General Systems Thinking · Requirements · Systems

Estimating Budgets: Excel and the Slide Rule

January 21st, 2010 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Estimating budgets months and years into the future is difficult. I have yet to meet anyone who does it well enough to risk large amounts of anything valuable. The Excel spreadsheet calculates well enough, but it can provide a false sense of precision. Instead, I use a slide rule. The difficulty of […]

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Tags: Communication · Estimation · Management · Technology

Restrictions and Freedom

January 18th, 2010 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Written rules and regulations restrict us. They also allow us to forget about some hazards and concentrate freely on the problem at hand. Restrictions can permit freedom. The trick is to learn where the areas of freedom exist and how to use them. A colleague was contrasting the type of people who […]

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Tags: Adapting · Communication · Government

The Magic Eraser – The Word “But”

January 14th, 2010 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips In a common usage, the word “but” erases all that has been said previously. This is a writing nicety. It is also a bad way to confuse conversation in the workplace. You have a lot of enthusiasm, but you need to check with me on things like this. Quick, without looking back, […]

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Tags: Communication · Magic · Writing

Writing and Editing via Paragraphs

January 11th, 2010 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips A technique that I use in writing and editing concentrates on the paragraph. It works for me. As with all writing tips, I suggest you try it. If it work, use it. If it doesn’t, move on. Thirty years ago, Chris Bachman took the time to converse with a 21-year-old kid from […]

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Tags: Writing

Paying the Tuition and (Maybe) Getting the Education

January 6th, 2010 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Life is full of bad experiences. There is always something that can be learned in each experience. The bad experience is a form of tuition. The learning is a form of education. Nothing guarantees we get the education with the tuition. The education, however, is there for our choosing. College is pretty […]

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Tags: Change · Choose · General Systems Thinking · Learning

Change the Future with “Unless”

January 4th, 2010 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips It is possible to predict the future on projects. It is also possible to change the future on projects. Knowing this second property and how to state it can make a big difference to project stakeholders. It is possible to predict the future. Given a system-building project that has been planned properly, […]

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Tags: Change · Communication · Estimation · Management