Working Up

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

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What are We Doing Here?

April 27th, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Another fundamental question in systems engineering. Like the rest of the questions, ask with caution. Ever ask the titular question at work? Ever ask it out loud and expect an answer? Perhaps you are a systems engineer. Perhaps your workplace needs a systems engineer. The question seeks to find the reason behind […]

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Tags: Analysis · General Systems Thinking · Questions · Systems

And Then What Happens?

March 27th, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips There is a fundamental question to ask in analyzing and engineering systems. Why don’t we use it more often? A: We put this into the system. B: And then what happens? A: Well, now the system can do this great function for the users. B: And then what happens? A: For one […]

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Tags: Adults · Communication · General Systems Thinking · Questions · Systems · Thinking

Software Systems Engineering and Agile Development

March 2nd, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Agile development is not an excuse for knowing what you did, why you did it, and how you did it. You’re doing agile development. You hold a meeting to start a sprint (different methods use different names for this). You sprint! You meet again at the end of the sprint. What did […]

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Tags: Agility · Analysis · Communication · Engineering · Systems

Systems Engineering—The Piece of Paper Test

February 2nd, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips What is systems engineering? One answer is, “you can do it with only a pencil and piece of paper.” I have been plagued with the question, “What is systems engineering?” for too long. As a job seeker, a common job opening is Systems Engineer. A quick reading of the job description shows […]

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Tags: Systems · Work

Systems Engineering—Opening the Black Boxes

January 30th, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips One function of systems engineering is to open the black boxes, look at the entire system, and apply some wisdom. We often build systems by connecting existing systems and subsystems. These existing pieces are black boxes, i.e., we don’t know or don’t care to know what is inside them and how they […]

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Tags: Adults · Analysis · Engineering · Systems · Technical Debt

People are (the most important) Part of the System

January 26th, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Sometimes we have to update the technology even when old technology still does the job. Requirements are real. We work to meet requirements in systems. Once the requirements are met, that is it. But what about the people? Many years ago, I worked with a system that used old technology. It was […]

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Tags: People · Systems

Systems Engineering and Interfaces

January 23rd, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Systems are commonly built by connecting smaller systems. This requires that the systems are connect-able, and that requires a defined interface. Most of the time, we build systems by connecting large boxes together in a system diagram. There are exceptions, and another post will discuss some of those. Still, connect the boxes […]

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Tags: Adults · Communication · Engineering · General Systems Thinking · Systems

The Cheapest Part

August 8th, 2016 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Sometimes the cheapest and simplest part of a system is the one that fails and you may have to buy half a dozen of them to find one that works. I had a bad experience repairing that large appliance in the bathroom. Did you know that you can crawl under a toilet? […]

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Tags: Adapting · Agility · Analysis · Systems

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

Engineering the Software versus Banging Out the Code

April 18th, 2016 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips There are major differences between engineering systems and “just doing it.” The consequences are both obvious and predicted. For at least 25 years, I have heard and seen in action the mantra of “good enough software.” Get a partial solution, ship it, improve it. Great stuff. Except time has shown that the […]

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Tags: Engineering · Programming · Systems