Working Up

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

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Entries from April 2014

Programming vs Something Else

April 28th, 2014 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Just about anyone can learn to program a computer. Not many people earn degrees in Computer Science. I first noticed the above statement in 1978 (yes, I am that old). Students were telling me how they loved to write computer programs. We were taught something called PL/I in those days. Then the […]

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Tags: Computing · Education · Programming

The Bologna Environment

April 24th, 2014 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips I’ve heard people in meetings tell me stuff that was just pure bologna. Then I had to ask myself why I created an environment where people told me bologna instead of the truth. I once managed a project where an engineer stood in a meeting and explained that a hardware part had […]

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Tags: Communication · Management · Meetings

“Tech” Companies

April 21st, 2014 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Somehow, at some recent point in time, someone tried to change the definition of a technology company. Blame it on old age, but I am fed up with what the media, in particular the technology media, calls a “Tech Company.” Headlines tell me that our President (Obama) is meeting with CEOs of […]

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Tags: Communication · Technology

There is a Diagram for That

April 17th, 2014 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips There is an old diagram that helps explain what a system does. Sometimes, these old diagrams are lost and need to be found again. Apologies to Google and the Chromecast, but it is a good example to mention. Me, i.e., old engineer: What is that? Young Engineer: It is a Google Chromecast. […]

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Tags: Communication · Systems · Technology · Thinking

Herding Cats and Those People Who Say That

April 14th, 2014 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips I ache for the people who say “herding cats.” I really ache for the people who work with the people who say “heading cats.” Almost every week, I hear someone say: Managing fill-in-the-blank is like herding cats. Deep sigh and groan. I ache. How can a person refer to their colleagues as […]

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Tags: Communication · Management

How to Instruct People How to do Something

April 10th, 2014 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips I point back to a classic but little-known work on instructing people how to do something. Way back in time in the mid-1980s (yes, I am that old), I stumbled onto a book written by Edmond H. Weiss titled How to Write a Usable User Manual. I thought it was a basic […]

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Tags: Communication · Design · Teaching · Writing

The Purpose of Testing

April 7th, 2014 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips A good test provides information—no more and no less. Let’s take a step back to the fundamentals of engineering and building things. Part of building some thing is to perform some tests on the thing. Why perform a test? The oft-cited answer is, “to show that the thing works.” Deep sigh. We […]

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Tags: General Systems Thinking · Systems · Thinking

The Spam Comment Magnet

April 3rd, 2014 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips It is SEO backwards: words that draw spam comments like a magnet. I don’t receive many comments on my blog posts. I receive many more spam comments than real comments—about 100 to 1. One post I wrote in 2009 draws more spam comments than all the other posts combined. It is titled […]

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Tags: Adapting