Working Up

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

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Expanding the AI Problem Set

September 5th, 2016 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips First you work on a small problem set. Once you learn from that, you expand the problem set. Google recently started hiring speakers with accents to help train its speech recognition software systems. Why didn’t they do this sooner? Why did they only use middle-America, white-bread Americans, or some other Johnny Carson, […]

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Tags: Adapting · General Systems Thinking · Learning · Problems · Process

Solution Collapse

May 5th, 2016 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips If we work hard enough and smart enough to the solution, we often find the solution collapses to something small and simple. At the end of all the work, we find the solution. The solution is messy, but it is a solution. Then we go home. Then we come back to work […]

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Tags: Problems · Process · Systems


March 28th, 2016 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Probably the best preparation is to be prepared to be unprepared. I prepare. I plan. I am ready. I drive some people nuts with these habits. Somewhere along the line I learned that I was never prepared for everything. Hence, I became prepared for that, too. I learned to be prepared to […]

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Tags: Adapting · Authentic · Process · Reaction

The Most Important Five Minutes of My Day

December 3rd, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Five minutes of quiet thought. Each morning, at the end of Internet viewing and blogging and before I “go to work,” I sit for five quiet minutes and drink coffee. I stare into space. I am not wasting time. It is an investment, one of the sharpening-the-saw moments from a self-help best-selling […]

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Tags: Breathe · Clarity · Meetings · Process

On the Critical Path

June 11th, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips If you are on the critical path of a project, you often behave in ways that don’t seem to make sense. The critical path of a project means a lot of things to different people. Wikipedia has a good explanation of the concept. One way to think of the critical path is […]

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Tags: Management · Process

Don’t Try so Hard

January 26th, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips I try hard at everything. Sometimes I try hard too much. <start advice> Slow down. Back away. Breathe. Drink a cup of coffee. Relax. Take a nap. Find your own little zen thing that helps you to not try so hard. <end advice>

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Tags: Breathe · Choose · Coffee · Health · Problems · Process · Thinking · Time

The Zero-th Step of Any Process

December 8th, 2014 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Before doing anything else—think. Yes, this is old advice, but it still works. Process, process, process. The world uses Agile processes now. (At least those people whose job it is to tell everyone else what their organization does tells the world that they are Agile. I tend to doubt that they actually […]

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Tags: Choose · General Systems Thinking · Learning · Management · Process

The Purpose

February 10th, 2014 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips People often choose a development method without any reason other than, “that is what everyone is doing now.” I urge a bit more thought. More thought on day one brings more time and energy the rest of the way. Agile development is all the rage today. I know because I am unemployed […]

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Tags: Culture · Management · Problems · Process

They Made Us Do That in College

September 2nd, 2013 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips There are practices that time has proven to be worthwhile. Someone in school drilled them into us. We vowed to avoid them as soon as school was out, but life eventually catches us. I have lost track of the number of times I have seen this on the job. We have a […]

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Tags: Education · Excuses · Logic · People · Process · Risk

Don’t Let Agile Slow You Down

August 12th, 2013 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips It seems that everyone is using an Agile process these days. There really isn’t anything new in Agile. And, in some cases, Agile can slow the delivery of software to users. What? Agile be slow? Yes, Agile processes can slow the delivery of software to users. Twenty years ago, I worked in […]

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Tags: People · Process · Programming