Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Here we go again

Gosh, every time Boeing managers come out with their talks of things being right on par, we need to remember this, it'll be followed with some revelation that is troublesome. Why troublesome? Well, talk is cheap, as they say. These guys, Jim M is one, ought to let the engineers speak. That has been said before.

And, where the heck is the technical fellowship? Let's see who started that? Condit? The idea is that managers talk crap by necessity. That is, just about the majority of the problems with the economy comes from people listening to these idiots.

But, what the heck are we to do? Just not listen to anyone? Well, the cynic would say yes. I say no. There are people who talk truth; many times these ones are hidden or sat on to squelch their speech.

Is it possible that the new media will overcome some of those age old dynamics, that led essentially to fat-cat-ism and the world being run thereby.

Now, the message here. Many factors are at play, but we can start with 5 that will be discussed at length with further post (and, former mentions will be linked).
  1. Earned value -- it's been said before, folks, that you can't expect magic and get a product. Nor can you know a priori when something is complete. Heck, it's difficult even to know when something is complete ex post facto (see point 5 below). Now, change things along all axes in both the process and product spaces and what have you? A potentially big mess (perfect storm?).
  2. Parameterized model -- sheesh, the manager used this example in many telecons about the 787. Oh, it was within the parameteric bound. Is that idiotic (except he probably has advanced degrees)? One can lift out control variables as parameters, yes. But, just like non-monotonic logic has the problem of qualification so too will process control. Don't get me started about the idiocies of designs and parameters. Oh wait, I will go on about that later.
  3. Hype/Hypothesis -- look, managers, until you get something together and it performs, do not hype the thing. Oh, that genie was let out of the bottle long ago, alas. Needless to say, business seems to want to run itself in a mode that assumes we're all idiots. Ought things be that way (why the heck is Carson still in his position? mute the guy, please!!!).
  4. Misused mathematics -- just because we're in 2009 and have almost miraculous computational prowess is no excuse to assume that some age-old problems are resolved. Au contraire. But, how do we get the message across here? Well, we'll keep trying. The litany of misuses would be very long indeed if we had the energy to attempt the enumeration. Let's instead revisit the basic issues and hope that those who can will adapt whatever is required for them to perform more wisely (ah, how much mischief comes from the relenting focus on efficiency - why thanks, managers, yes it is you to whom we'll all point as the main enablers of the problems).
  5. Underdetermination -- oh no, what the heck does that mean? Well, did we not hear some discussion about unknown unknowns at one briefing? Was that meant in jest? Or, was it a half-hearted attempt at cheap philosophizing? In either case, any of those who work with earned value ought to consider this item, even is just briefly. Oh yes, there are other ways to express this notion; that, too, will be covered.
It's a short list but casts a wide net.

Anyone think that this last problem will be it and that things will just fall into place for magical delivery? Yes indeed, hope does spring eternal goes the saying.

Coming issues:
-- we need to discuss other types of issues, such as new media's use of private information. How does this happen without recourse? Too, is new media just a pawn? ...
-- was the program too focused on proving composite technology?


05/19/2014 -- This post is one of the most popular, even given its age (June 2009), but a post-note is necessary. The post was written during times where the unknowns seemed to outweigh knowns (nod to our old friend Carson). Of course, thing changed after that. Does what happened later change the context of the posts or demand a content change? Not in my mind. In fact, the blog is still here as oops abound more than we would like to believe. And, in many cases, engineering has it easier, as there are means to test available. Computing, though, has a whole other set of issues. See modern programmers (this blog) and formally truthful (related blog) for continuing discussions.

01/01/2011 -- This theme? We're done. Engineering is a shining example of human effort. Finance? Ah, cannot be said by a civilized tongue!

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 -- Scott is riding off to the sunset.

07/14/2009 -- Somehow, the confounding continues.

07/05/2009 -- We can now get serious.

Modified: 05/19/2014


Anonymous said...

Here are some more issues to look at:

-- where is the Board? Asleep at the wheel? They are definitely culpable. Do they understand their responsibilities? Gosh, are they a bunch of in-bred idiots handpicked by Harry?

-- this is definitely not your fathers' plane. How can a plane designed on paper (okay, computer paper) be considered airworthy enough to finalize the production process to build the thing? There should have been prototypes built, preferably in house.

-- how can Boeing expect that they can outsource responsibility (the Board allowed this?) and get something by other than magic? Sounds like Boeing outsourced its reputation too. That is too bad since very good people work for Boeing.

-- why does the Board allow Scott C and Jim M to stay around? Their fork-tongued selves are becoming very problematic (making Boeing's BadDreamLiner a joke).

Anonymous said...

I guess we got our answer. Boeing is cutting the program.

What we ought to know is that all information will be funneled through PR, except that leaked to such as the flightblogger.