Thursday, January 31, 2008

Globalization, why not?

The main trouble with 'globalization' is that it's either seen in the context of the political punditry or it's being exploited by the 'greed' (and, many times, silliness) of the busy-ness (business, if you must). Noone is presenting a view that indicates the naturalness of this phenomenon or that attempts to paint what are the attributes that have universal appeal when expressed properly.

That last wouldn't be far from a 'manifest destiny' for mankind which would include a world view beyond the planet, so why the extreme arguments about collections of dust. The former cannot be handled by science which has painted itself into the corners of materialism and reductionism which, by the way, are not insurmountable barriers (it'll take some gall to argue with those hard-minded folk to allow that science based upon the study of the human far outpaces any other to date, yes even cosmology - truth engineering argues a 'human-in-the-loop' framework that is motivated by quasi-empirical issues).

In the history of the planet, there have always been movements from one place to another. Just think of the hapless insect carried to new regions with the wind. Mammals, and birds, allowed for some interesting migrations. Human trekking is something that we will continue to study, the latest realization (and, perhaps right) of which is the basis for the appeal of new things, like the 787 whose OEM was founded upon a particular point of the planet which is the latest cauldron for mixing out new things.

That same planetary point being associated with the moral-hazard-reinforcing Fed whose actions yesterday were (and this will be shown, via further discussion) based upon an antiquated model.

So, we move; and, we do so in all sorts of spaces, the web enabling a whole new order (hey, guys and gals, that thing can detract from what preceded it and what is more of more power - hint, human-in-the-loop) that is kin to what ails the economy (capitalization being held hostage, essentially, see above).

So, why ought not our abstractions move? What? Well, tasks and jobs, for one thing. As well, given the increased communication ability, wouldn't space then collapse? Giving us what some programs are finding hard to control, that whole new realm of the dispersed team, to wit, the motivation, originally, for this blog.

As an aside, those with the greedy minds did early exploitation because they could get labor-asset outputs for next to nothing. It is real nice to see that those in places, like India, who see this disparity eventually get to where that gap diminishes; yet, such progress does not reduce the potential for partnership in the least, except in minds that are not seeing globalization for what it really is (ought to be).

So, we have the natural progression of humanity as one side of globalization, but we also have now the technology enablers which now are more masters than servants, due in part to their being warped by too much management and too little labor input into what needs to be done.

Related concepts will be 'sustainability' and such; so the subject is large.

However, finance is only one player; currently it's gaming based. Maintainability is something that the finance guys ought to be learning from the mathematicians, engineers, and physicists rather than winning games; that there is a problem first needs to be described; then, we'll have fun with defining answers, proposing experiments, and enjoying the new insights.


08/01/2013 -- Ben cannot unwind or taper downhe has too many Doves. We'll have to get back to the king thing (yes, the divine rights of the CEO, new royalty, in other words) and dampening of these types by a new outlook (Magna-Carta'ísh).

12/08/2009 -- Consider Paul and current CEOs.

09/09/09 -- The pursuit can raise some other types of issues.

06/15/2009 -- Globalization, and capitalism, now a dirty word, according to one in private equity.

10/02/08 -- Recently, the old models failed. Or, to put it into other words, the Wall Street model of the past couple of decades crashed down. The US taxpayers are on the hook to save those who took more than their share.

Now, it's becoming obvious that what we're seeing is a new type of colonialism develop under the auspices of business. That is, globalization. The advent of the trans-national entity of this type portends all sorts of dynamics that we'll need to understand better.

You see, we're very experienced with trans-national issues that are political and social.

Oh yes, too, there is the strike at Boeing. Does business seem to have the idea that they have already colonized labor?

Modified: 01/01/2013

Monday, January 28, 2008

Middle and out

This little blurb is part of a continuing pro-log leading to explicit analysis of the problems related to earned value in the situation of globalized organizations, abstracted models, and a gaming-based ontology.

Most engineers will be familiar with the concept of the middle. Good projects work middle-out.

To see this, let's use the computer as an example. In the modern era when computers are everywhere (are we tired of ubiquitous, yet?), we can think of the interfaces between hardware and software. At the boundary, there are always problems. Who drives? Software? Hardware?

In a project that is defining a new 'system' both the hardware and the software must gel at some point. Of course, the latter is more malleable (we like to think; changes have consequences, though). But, hardware can change. Analysis at the middle-out position has allowed successful convergence many times. Though, one must remember that iterations may be necessary in order to really optimize a design.

Now, in projects, middle-out makes a lot of sense as a means to describe what goes on between levels and organizations. It is hard to attain such a balance for many reasons, not the least of which is that the analytical demands that need to be met are operationally-based from current work (when doing something for the first few times).

Systems engineering was developed to look at these types of issues. But, it needs to work with a whole lot of other disciplines.

In modeling, we like to use top-down and bottom-up. That top-down world loves power, and the exhibitions that result through the use of power. The bottom-up? Well it's not so easily described given the morass of the pits.

That is, the top-down involves a movement from the one to the many. The particular spread as things fan out can vary widely. Throughout the modern realm, there have been experiments with depth and breadth of this fanning.

Perhaps, the emphasis on the top-down has come about through its efficacy in many situations. It has been shown to work if there is a sufficient number of willing effectors (with characteristics as being healthy, cared for, etc.) at the levels below the top-most node (CEO, etc.).

That brings up an aside that the top-down view that doesn't try to keep its lower levels healthy is more than suspect; it is the major bane preventing an economic expansion that is our right. To wit, a whole lot of problems related to pay (hugh imbalance), motivation (hands-on needs to get respect back - how do we do this?), etc.

Also, technology requires a different balance. The top-down view does not, nor can it, know detail (SOX notwithstanding, which is basically financial in motivation). This is something to look at; abstraction has a purpose; things-in-themselves, well, some have purpose prior to any of our wanglings, but they can out-rule abstractions.

So, what are we to do? Well, for one thing, be aware of the dynamics and manage accordingly.
At the top, let the Board of Directors be more than figure-heads. Get a CTO involved who really knows and isn't just a gamer. Elsewhere, don't expect that the military model of command-control applies everywhere.

At the bottom (and between), work for innovation and trust. Preserve performers. Provide mechanisms for continuing improvements. Nothing new. Except, don't expect to be a company that people will flock to if you don't apply your principles (don't just talk them).

In a new product, who would support the middle-out position between the business views driving the motivation and the end-of-the-chain (poor slob, getting all the grief; trying to manage expectations that are possibly not realizable?) people?

Well, if one is going to argue for systems engineering, it would have to be independent of, and not accountable to, those driving the requirements, would it not? That is, technical projects get in trouble due to too few technical resources of an integrative nature being at hand as they are needed. Lean is partly a culprit (it works ex post facto in making improvements).


01/15/2012 -- A new wrinkle: perhaps, the middle way toward the unfolding of potential for all.

11/30/2011 -- Of late, there has been an OWS movement. It seems to not be hierarchical; that irritates the top-downers who like to think that their controlling viewpoint is truth. Have we ever seen a true middle out that respects the bottom up? I don't know. Even in science, you have those who think that theory trumps. Engineers are smart enough to know better. Ah, people and their foibles.

09/14/2010 -- Must and may. Two important concepts.

09/02/2009 -- Lets face it, folks, undecidability needs to be discussed and adopted in any complex situational setting, especially if computers are involved. Only hubris pushes us to make loud exclamations about what we're going to do in the future.

08/31/2009 -- We're going to look at this, again, from the finance view as we expand theoretics and technicals via an econoblog.

07/05/2009 -- We have to see how the computer (and computerism) influences this.

06/15/2009 -- Globalization, and capitalism, now a dirty word, according to one in private equity.

Modified: 01/15/2012

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What can we know?

Well, the Fed has done it again, with an unusual twist. 'Emergency' save of the morally hazardous? Gosh, the Greenspan put lives.

Well, the Fed deals with a system that can only be described as 'dismal' to now (the system can change for the better). So, they have to experiment as they go along. We can allow a little leeway for error since the heart seems to be in the right place.

One might argue that this 'moral lack' is not unlike an OEM who might try to 'change' along almost all decision axises simultaneously with consequences that become more apparent through time though one could also argue that any new apparency might be forced rather than insightful in terms of real 'earned value' analysis.

An OEM can plan to have a test period that is sufficient to prove both product and process, and our learning how really is of the essence. With the economy, where is the test bed? In a sense, what we see is the old problem of knowing what is real versus expected.

The economy could have a test bed, or sand box might be a better concept. Why is this needed and how to do we do it?

Well, with the growing opaqueness of the financial instruments, all are exposed to the playings of the financial gamesters. The computer and applied mathematics enabled all sorts of variations on creativity.

But, 'hey you guys, get your hands off our money' is something that they need to hear more.

Mind you, the opaqueness does not imply malfeasance necessarily (rather, it's an issue related to the quasi-empirical). What has happened, folks, is that what we learned from studying nature has migrated over to the money area. Finance has given big bucks for physicists and mathematicians to come play games.

Well, in science, nature knocks people down when they are wrong. In the economy what happens? Well, the fat cats land on their blubber; those who suffer are the poor unfortunates who have been leaned to the bone.

Just as an OEM cannot control through a wide-expanse of time toward 'real' earned-value, and we see many instances of this, we cannot expect anyone to control that which is studied via the 'dismal' sciences.

But, we can be thoughtful and control risk. In the OEM arena, that implies heavy focus on testing and process proving through 'real' experience rather than too much reliance on analysis and parametrics (or, we might add, letting the other guy handle the difficulties while basking in anticipated glory).

In finance, we need to think of how to put out the sand box. Then, the gamesters can play to their hearts content. We might even throw in more money as needed. Or, extract, to boot.

Stay tuned, as truth engineering involves many things, but one of the consequences will be knowing how such a 'sand box' might look and work.

One new factor?

Well, the baby boomers are going to get to where they don't want games played with their hard-won assets. That might be enough motivation for a slight start toward the right direction. After all, we are not all gaming teens forever, though some might like to think thusly.

The Fed needs to show more maturity. Of course, that whole position covers only one (monetary) of many aspects of a difficult issue.


08/01/2013 -- Ben cannot unwind or taper downhe has too many Doves. We'll have to get back to the king thing (yes, the divine rights of the CEO, new royalty, in other words) and dampening of these types by a new outlook (Magna-Carta'ísh).

09/09/2009 -- Alan's reign will be looked at, in time.

09/02/2009 -- Lean assumes a current framework which can be improved. That the process is still effective during the change can be checked easily. However, if it is not still effective or we do not have a stable framework, then we were, by necessity, in the undecidable state.

08/24/2009 -- Last year, Ben blinked and panicked. He frantically pulled out all stops as if with no thought for tomorrow. Now, he has no use for 'mea culpa' big daddy that he is. Ben, start to unwind now. The Vienna School's view that these things are undecidable (which is a computational issue) is right on.

Modified: 08/01/2013

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Risk versus effort

In general, these posts look at what lessons can be learned from our daily grind with 'oops and loops, with the inevitable oops that occur now and then. The idea is to not beat on anyone; rather, one motive is to show the necessity of truth engineering as time continues to bring forth issues that seemingly are boundless.

Have the planning guys really grasped how to handle risk? Granted there are differences in the ontologies of the technical and the managerial on this subject, yet even within the technical side those who think that they can minimize risk to almost nil ought to re-examine the basis of their world view (hint: quasi-empirical issues).

Too, if reducing risk (technical, not financial) is accomplished by pushing out effort, then things ought to get suspect.

One hears a lot about how many modern views are better analytically (we heard the concept, parametrically consistent, referenced yesterday), yet, things-in-themselves do not necessarily agree with our confidence; this ought to give us pause on several sides. We'll be looking further at issues involved with technical risk.

Now, in terms of financial risk, one can only hope that markings stay away from the regions of model (partly myth) and myth. How? We need to look at that further.


08/01/2013 -- Ben cannot unwind or taper downhe has too many Doves. We'll have to get back to the king thing (yes, the divine rights of the CEO, new royalty, in other words) and dampening of these types by a new outlook (Magna-Carta'ísh).

01/17/2013 -- Grounding due to fire.

01/31/ 2011 -- Referenced from 4th January. As well, remember how 'model and myth' was decided by Congress, despite protestations by the bean counters? Note how their decision has allowed expansions that may be bordering on bubble.

08/31/2009 -- New dynamics.

01/22/2009 -- Eventful year all around. Now a new day and way to consider many matters.

Modified: 08/01/2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Time goes on

The WSJ plays a central role, as do other news and analysis sources, but today it hit the jackpot in terms of the interests of this, and a related, blog.

On 1/15/08, a main story covered the winners in the sub-prime event, confirming, in a sense, that these things are zero-sum despite the hype argued by some economists. We know about the losers who range from people who face, or have faced, losing their house to various financial institutions that bled heavily, including some smarty-pant hedge funds (more on this later).

Well, on the receiving end of some of those loses is another hedge firm with a different set of bets.

What is common is that the financial instruments involved are relatively new and seemingly entrenched now (Greenspan is consulting on these). Well, those higher-order thoughts involved are duly noted here, but, folks, believe it or not, we're talking hot air, for the most part (despite the fact that many live a fairly rich life while the multitudes suffer from want - age-old problem, in a sense).

In the pm, WSJ noted that there would be a 787 delay which will be published on 1/9/08. Well, there are connects between these two things that will be discussed here and as part of the expansion of truth engineering.

Yet, there is a supreme difference. Finance does not deal with reality to the same extent as does designing and building a plane. In the latter case, the thing can be put together and flown. But, one would hope that such a phase would take precedence over trying to get the means together to put the things out for use. There are several lessons here, perhaps, that we can look at.

In the former sense, there is a wide gap between reality and the workings. Okay, all these numbers flow through the computers and out to the tape (for the youngsters, that was first - all the titillating modern display are mainly extensions of the ticker). Supposedly, the overseeing agencies have put effort into making sure that what flows can be justified (audited), though I really wonder, as can they track 'short' actions that are purely virtual (no, and getting deeper will see that derivatives can hide a whole lot of nothing).

Yet, those numbers, in a sense, represent what is supposed to be a support for doing something real (say, provide food to eat, goods for use, etc.). Finance will always fail that test; hence it ought to be tied more closely to something real (if not gold, pick some arbitrary element).

Program management has some equivalent pitfalls, though the case is better due to the big test environment created by nature and our extensions. One of these is related to earned value which has to do with knowing where you are in the real world sense as you look at some map that is supposedly sufficient to provide guidance through the world (speaking here of the virtual overlay of any project - where at the other end is going to be a real entity).

Somehow, we've lost sight of some key issues. Well, thankfully, events bring about examples that can be used for study.


08/01/2013 -- Ben cannot unwind or taper downhe has too many Doves. We'll have to get back to the king thing (yes, the divine rights of the CEO, new royalty, in other words) and dampening of these types by a new outlook (Magna-Carta'ísh).

09/09/2009 -- Alan's reign will be looked at, in time.

Modified: 08/01/2013

Friday, January 11, 2008

Fourth poll series

Note: Poll completion.


- You can support your favorite charity by using bet2give (787 Q2 fly, 787 in 2008 closed, 787 on time closed).

The poll:

The first, second, and third polls are completed. This fourth poll series looks at upcoming Boeing 787 milestones and asks the most probable date for their accomplishment.

- In your estimation, '787 power on' will be before Valentine's Day (Feb), Easter (March), Mother's Day (May), Labor Day (Sept). All are 2008 dates.
- In your estimation, '787 first flight' will be before May Day, Bastille Day (July), Halloween (Oct), Easter 2009 (April). The first three dates are 2008.
- In your estimation, '787 first delivery' will be before Christmas 2008 (Dec), Nowruz 2009 (March), Red Nose Day 2009 (June), Fiscal Year 2010 (Oct, 2009).
- My role is with -- We won't be able to establish any correlations, however knowing who might be taking the polls might be of interest. We'll continue to have this part of a series.

Usual poll etiquette assumed; polls are oriented toward information and not mis / dis-information.
- A casual user cannot double vote on any poll. But, there is no guard against intentional duplicate votes by those who know how.
- There is no consistency checking between polls.
- There is no meta-information about who votes or why.
- There is no way to correlate between the polls, however the 'role' poll allows some indication of interest.

Modified: 01/20/2013

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Poll or not

Note: 01/11/08, Fourth poll started.


Time is passing, so things might get more interesting.

You can support your favorite charity by using bet2give (787 in 2008). Things seem to be going better than with the first poll (787 on time).

We'll look at other polls and reassess whether to have more here this year, (such as Will the 787 stick to its certification schedule?).

Prior polls: first , second, third

Modified: 01/20/2013

Before and after

New poll, 01/11/08.
One wonders about the games played in a 'market' economy, though 'games' might just be some type of human proclivity with which we'll always need to cope.

Today, the FED (the money printers who want to support 'moral' hazards in the market, it seems) said that it would reduce the rate which drives those parts of the investment realm that are favored by the more conservative who don't like having so many hands trying to remove whatever money is there in the pocket. Some analysis seems to indicate that the present trouble was due to too much liquidity from the rate being too low.

Why always this bail out of frivolity? Recently, I read where some manager said that risk analysts had told him that they could calculate to within a couple of decimal points. My reaction was: what? in what universe? dreamland? Of course, they can provide numbers; what reliance can we place on them?

In another realm, in May of 2007, Business Week had an article related to 'crunch time' at Boeing. A reader comment there noted that the 7/8/07 looked to be a 'show and tell' (AWatcher May 22, 2007 3:26 GMT) (or as Leelaw #50594 likes to say 'potemkin' in regard to the hugely publicized affair).

Yet, we have about that same time comments from the CEO saying that "problems in the Dreamliner production won't prevent Boeing from delivering the 787 on time", though there were various mentions about experts doubting that Boeing could pull this thing off in the time frame planned years ago. Also, polls seem to indicate that most who participated thought that there would be delays (long before Boeing announced the schedule shift).

So today, more rumors are coming about in regard to another delay; of course, some of this just might be mongers getting into their 2008 stride.

Where are the mature heads that want an exuberant, yet controlled, economy while at the same time wanting 'wise' project management?

The May 22, 2007 comment asked these questions which are still apropos with some unanswered.
  • That the program is allowing pieces to be shipped without all the 'stuffing' reeks of a 'show and tell' event for 7/8/7 (well, marketing is running the game - could be the practice assembly that wasn't scheduled?). [yes, a practice put together, but the hoopla continued unabated]
  • Can this plane hit May 08 even if there are some delays (however slight) getting the test vehicle off the ground? [well, we found out that it would not]
  • There are so many new factors, how can there be such an abbreviated test period? [that talk of an abridged test has gone away, we hope]
  • If a time-line re-adjust now would produce a better plane, why not bite that bullet and do so (After all, Boeing must know a lot more now than 2-3 years ago; to keep asserting that things are fine will look worse later.)? [someone needs to carry forward a more wise way to handled these things - now, it looks like a cat-and-mouse play - what is believable?]
  • Why doesn't the 'Mythical Man-Month' principle apply here? [open question]
  • Also, why doesn't Lean say "stop the line" when there is a problem (don't push defects downstream)? [well, the line did eventually stop or slowed to a snail's pace]
Well, all the things asked by these posts, beginning with the Seed post still apply.

Slogan: modus operandi involves 'blog and truth' and minimizing 'hogwash' in all affairs.


08/01/2013 -- Ben cannot unwind or taper downhe has too many Doves. We'll have to get back to the king thing (yes, the divine rights of the CEO, new royalty, in other words) and dampening of these types by a new outlook (Magna-Carta'ísh).

09/02/2009 -- Lean assumes a current framework which can be improved. That the process is still effective during the change can be checked easily. However, if it is not still effective or we do not have a stable framework, then we were, by necessity, in the undecidable state.

05/18/2009 -- Testing in flight is within sight.

Modified: 08/01/2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Blogs and their use

The WSJ (both print and online) has been doing a lot of legwork trying to understand what went wrong with the financial gamers of recent (by the way, two writers were brave enough to use zero-sum game - we really need to look at those who argue non-zero-sum where the basis is imaginary [and I'm not using that is the lauded connotations of advanced mathematics]). We'll be pulling from those types of traditional media to build analogs that are appropriate here.

One would hope that engineering projects, despite the tie into money, would have a little better handle on things, as, after all, something material comes about at some point. And, those things can be test the various ways necessary.

Though, looking at software makes one still wonder about all this. In the terms of software, though, releases can stage. Perhaps, we've learned to live with this given the fast modes brought by the web. Other products need to be complete prior to release; would not that make schedule something to be more insightful about rather than to just push milestones over quality?

Also, financiers, and their money, may have an economical basis, yet something stinks there; some might tout greed, but we have an even more fundamental problem to resolve. Greed could be 'umpired' with the proper 'gaming' model. Of course, perhaps those who successfully line their pockets like the rugby metaphor more.

But finances are only part of 'oops, loops, and oops. We'll need to be more multi-faceted, general, yet specific where it is of interest and use.


08/01/2013 -- Ben cannot unwind or taper downhe has too many Doves. We'll have to get back to the king thing (yes, the divine rights of the CEO, new royalty, in other words) and dampening of these types by a new outlook (Magna-Carta'ísh).

Modified: 08/01/2013