Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dreams and all

This blog has covered topics over the last year related to 'oop, loops and oops. Initially, the focus may have been a particular product, but then the scope widened to the general economy's problems. There are other topics that will be tied in this coming year.

Today, Fortune Magazine published an article on Boeing's big dream. It's an update on the 787's status. One thing that is different is the series of pictures from several suppliers and Boeing that show some process and its tooling. Both process and tooling are interesting things to know about; that we have an update like this is great.

Yet, one wonders why last year's event wasn't of this type. That is, we all know that building a new plane is difficult. And, we know that we cannot know everything that is done due to both its complexity and, perhaps, some proprietary limitation.

Yet, truly talking during a project like this about the whys and wherefores would be a learning experience for us all. Many in the flying public have interest in the technical issues.

As said before, there is an issue in engineering related to earned value (and effectiveness) which essentially deals with completion status. It's easily seen in complicated affairs that an estimate of 90% completion may just mean that the easy stuff is done and the hard stuff looms. So, the adage says that the last 10% takes more, in time and resources, than the first 90%. Naturally, we can change the ratio (80/20, what have you), and the message is still the same.

Somehow a notion seems to come around, that thinks that expertise is best shown as flawless, like a magician acting with his cape. That is indeed unfortunate. Think about it, all you OEMS.
How can the younger folk learn what's real if sleight-of-hand tactics are what they learn to expect?

I think that NASA has the right approach with its openness. So, you're at T-50 or so, and you go on hold. Well, there are usually very good reasons why countdown was halted. Anyone who would want to take the place of the astronauts and let the countdown begin is welcomed. Not really, as there is too much at stake (hubris doesn't count).

Same goes for the 787 or any thing of this nature, sales are great; but, as a WSJ article recently recapped, there are other disciplines, namely analytics and operations. You see, these need to be kept in sync, these three. But, ought sales be the overarching discipline? Well, not if performance and safety and maintainability, and a number of other things, don't get the attention that they deserve, no, they demand.

NASA also lets us ride along, though we ought to be thankful that the one shuttle was out of communications when it had its disastrous end. One difference with an OEM program now is that the web somewhat lets us tag along, even if it's as parasites.

Truth requires that we see warts as well as beauty spots. In the real world, any attempts at coverup or air-brushing is not what we need for the future.

Large OEMs need to realize their roles as educators, labs, and participants in our laying out the future. Okay, make money; yet, remember how close money is to hubris; and, allow those who can appreciate see just what are the wrinkles and how they are smoothed.


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.

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

07/31/2008 -- It's not enough to rant and spout off. So, let's start something constructive by looking at money and what it is.

Modified: 09/02/2009

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