Working Up

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

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I Don’t Want to Hurt Your Feelings, but…

December 14th, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Drop the “but.” It erases all previous words. Use a period instead. I said: I don’t want to hurt you feelings, but, we need to change how we do things here. He heard: we, actually YOU, need to change how we do things here. Funny how the word “but” works in conversation. […]

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Tags: Communication · Conversation · Word

Stop Listening, Don’t Wonder

December 4th, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips I write this one with some hesitancy as there is always something to be learned by continually listening. Sometimes, however, listen for meta messages, not the message as the messenger is clearly confused. Sometimes the best thing to do is stop listening—for now. And also, don’t waste time and energy wondering about […]

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Tags: Communication

Let’s Draw a Picture

November 6th, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips An old technique that always surfaces confusion and moves us towards clarity. Me: Let’s draw a picture of this so I can understand it better. Person A: We don’t need to waste time with that. We all know what it is. …a little while later… Person A: See, we set it up […]

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Tags: Analysis · Communication · Learning

An Interaction Exercise

November 2nd, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Here is a simple exercise you can use with your team to learn something about how well you work together. Step 1: Get a deck of playing cards. Step 2: Hand every person on your team some cards. Hand some person a couple of cards and hand some persons a dozen cards. […]

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Tags: Communication · Consulting · Group · Management · Meetings

Thank You Fake News and Social Media, We Needed a New Excuse

October 26th, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Why disdain fake news and social media? Let’s embrace it for what it gives us—a new excuse. I recently learned that fake news on social media controls the world. All money flows in a direction it flows because it is directed by fake news. All elections are won by fake news purveyors. […]

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Tags: Communication · Excuses

Say it Aloud First (in a safe place)

October 16th, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Advice on preparing to bring a concept to others. I have a great idea! I have a informed observation! I have something that others should hear or read! It’s obviously worthwhile. What should I do first? Say it aloud (in a safe place). There is something about saying the words aloud that […]

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Tags: Communication · Ideas · Learning

Jerry Pournelle

September 18th, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Someone who had a big influence on my life has passed away. “The Mote in God’s Eye.” Star Wars was in theaters, and everyone was enthralled. The science fiction community tried to fit in with Luke, Han, and the rest, often in vain. Every science fiction commentator had their own list of, […]

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Tags: Communication · Computing · Systems · Teaching · Writing

Write the User Manual First

September 4th, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips I review an old, and seemingly forgotten, technique for building systems in which we fully describe what a system will be and do. Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away… Maybe not that long ago, but still…there was a technique for building systems wherein we wrote the user manual […]

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Tags: Communication · Design · Expectations · Requirements

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will do

August 31st, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips This paraphrase from Through the Looking Class continues to reign in systems development. The title of this post is a famous paraphrase from the classic Through the Looking Glass. I live it most days. The conversation goes something like this: Me: The system won’t do such-and-such. Builder: Of course not. It wasn’t […]

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Tags: Adults · Agility · Commitment · Communication · Scope · Systems · Work

Fundamentals – Yet Another Part of an Unending Story

August 14th, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips It has reached the point where I don’t even ask anymore. Working systems is so much important than documentation, that…well, you know. Situation: Someone has a horrible problem. Someone else has asked them to do something that they simply cannot do. Someone asks me to look at this. Me: Please show me…any […]

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Tags: Communication · Management