Working Up

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

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I’m not Testing, Just Noticing

December 21st, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Sometimes I fill the role of the “just notice-er.” Perhaps that should be an official title in systems development. I was preparing a demonstration of software we developed in house. Something wasn’t happening as I expected. I asked a couple of the programmers to look over my shoulder. “Look at this,” I […]

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Tags: Communication · Conversation · Notice · Systems · Testing

But This Worked Before!

December 18th, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips Nothing is so cruel as to learn that the system we built doesn’t do what we thought it would. We are good, smart, caring people. We work diligently to build good systems that serve others. We test. We really test—no kidding, no fooling around. We really test. Then one day, someone walks […]

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Tags: Breathe · Learning · Reframe · Systems · Testing · Thinking

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

Technical Budgets

September 21st, 2017 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips A review of one of the fundamentals of systems engineering. We create and manage budgets of key technical performance measures. System engineers work with technical budgets. Examples: size weight power attenuation memory use RAM memory use disk time to complete an operation We are building a smartphone. We are told to keep […]

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Tags: Engineering · Systems

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

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

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