Working Up

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

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Systems Engineering and Social Media

November 23rd, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips The recent rash of misuse and abuse of social media reminds us of that old, boring practice called systems engineering and limiting systems to do only what they are supposed to do. Recent news reports point to all sorts of “misuse” and “abuse” of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. These […]

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Tags: Engineering · General Systems Thinking · Requirements · Systems

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

Design Success! (or is it failure?)

February 15th, 2016 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips If a system designed to last a few months last 12 years, is that a success or a failure? A recent story hailed the success of the NASA Mars rover. The rover was “designed” to last a few months, but is still going after 12 years. Wow! What a great design and […]

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Tags: Design · Engineering · Government · Requirements · Systems

Last-In, First-Out Requirements

April 13th, 2015 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips I review a requirements-management scheme that indicates no requirements management. I once worked in an organization that built systems. Everyone worked very hard and very long hours. There was one problem: We never delivered a single system Why not? The problem was with managing requirements. Each month we held a requirements meeting. […]

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Tags: Management · Requirements · Systems

Two Unspoken Requirements

November 24th, 2014 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Many projects make no sense. They are driven by two unspoken yet paramount requirements. I have seen many projects that were driven by two unspoken but paramount requirements: The project must cost a certain amount of money—no more and no less You have to look like you are trying to do something […]

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Tags: Culture · Expectations · Magic · Management · Requirements

Great Ideas and Those Who have Them

October 20th, 2014 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips A great idea is merely a requirement; it is not a design. The thinker of the great idea is important, but so is everyone else involved in the endeavor. Allow me to start with a blunt statement: Steve Jobs did not design the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, and nothing else that […]

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Tags: Design · Ideas · Requirements

Why Pay a Systems Engineer?

June 16th, 2014 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips When you consider it, systems engineers do something that everyone already does. Right? Systems Engineers do a simple task: they ensure that all customer requirements are built, tested, and delivered. They keep lists and tables and all sorts of things that trace all work back to every customer requirement. So why do […]

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Tags: People · Requirements · Systems · Work

The MD vs the Veterinarian

August 5th, 2013 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Should we send our customers to a veterinarian, i.e., someone who is accustomed to working with beings that cannot speak? First, a story: My granddad was a stubborn man. My granddad was ill and went to a doctor, an MD. My granddad was paying the MD a lot of money, so he […]

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Tags: Communication · Requirements · Systems

What Programming Languages Do You Know?

June 20th, 2013 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Programming languages are relevant but not critical to software engineers, but recruiters at job fairs love this question. For the record, I list my languages. I have been going to job fairs recently trying to find a job. People claim they are looking for systems engineers, software engineers, and software systems engineers. […]

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Tags: Programming · Requirements


May 12th, 2011 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Systems are built to satisfy the requirements of the user. Sometimes, engineers want to add things, i.e., they desire to add things. Such are “desire-ments,” and they can kill projects. I walked into an existing project. Well, I  wasn’t in the middle of the project, but I was to work with a […]

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Tags: Fun · General Systems Thinking · Requirements · Work