May 142020

Like some dystopian drama set in the near future, the COVID-19 Zombie Apocalypse has had a huge effect on the world; finance, business, health, travel, social and more. Globally we hit the E-Stop button and nearly half the world’s population has been on some form of lockdown or movement restriction, and many of the lockdown restrictions were implemented with little notice to businesses and plant operators.

Now we are getting to the restart.

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Apr 082020

Business as usual

I have been working remotely for a little over ten years, so the current work from home is in many ways business as usual for me. I haven’t turned a wheel on the car for a couple of weeks, have only been outside the house to walk the dog and buy milk, and I haven’t been closer than 6ft to anyone but my husband. All normal. So much is not normal, but these things, for me, are comfortable.

In all that time working from home, in globally distributed teams, I have learned some things. Ways to work effectively, ways to collaborate effectively. I know that much of this is second nature to many of the people in my network, but it is new to a lot of people who have had their work environments turned upside down.


Workshop facilitation can be particularly challenging as a virtual activity, and I do agree that it is normally better to do it in person, face to face, with a whiteboard, yellow sticky notes and all that goes with physical co-location. Sometimes that is not practical; when the team is globally distributed and a half day workshop would cost significant time and money is the traditional reason, but social distancing is the more pressing reason.

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Oct 302019

I have recently noticed that many DOORS Next users seem unaware of the Glossary Terms feature. It is a very simple idea, and has been in the tool for some time now. I will explain what it is and how it works with a few screenshots to help.

First of all, what is it? You can define a number of Glossary terms, with the abbreviated form, and a longer description. These can then be used, in the abbreviated form, within other requirements, and will show you the description in a rich hover window. It helps in a couple of ways; it allows you to use terms and abbreviations without confusion, and also encourages consistent use of one form of the abbreviation.

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Aug 222019

I have recently brushed up on some basic Agile training, it mostly applies to teams and, at least the literature, is focused around software development. I am not a software developer, and I work on my own for a large part of the time. That makes it sound like the training was a waste of time, but it wasn’t.

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May 112018

A common request is to maintain traceability into the supply chain. This has always proved to be problematic for a number of reasons, some technical and some political. I am offering here a potential solution.

We have, in many industries, now progressed beyond the clone-and-own approach to reuse, and some support for genuine reuse of requirements and other design data has become expected.

The underlying principle that I have used is that the organization owning the data is the only organization that will be afforded editing privileges. This applies whether the organizations in question are different legal entities, working to a contract, departments within a single business, or individuals with clear responsibility boundaries. This allows us to manage the access rights based on the owning organization.

DNG currently has the limitation that anyone who has read access to any of a Project Area (PA), has read access to the entire Project Area. This can be managed by use of smaller PAs, tied together with a Global Configuration (GC).

Another issue has historically been that of access and firewalls. It has been rare for organizations to let suppliers inside their firewall. Cloud hosting eases this to some extent, and if your immediate reaction to that is one of horror that your data could be trusted to the cloud, then please look a little deeper. It can be as secure as working with a server in the basement of one of your many sites. Continue reading »

Apr 062017
Going beyond a headful

As a unit of measure, a headful is not consistent. Not consistent between individuals, not consistent in any one individual from day to day. I will explain what I mean by the term, how it varies, and how to stretch it. Firstly the definition. The Collins English Dictionary defines it as ‘the amount a head […]

Feb 142017
Storing Standards in DNG

Many industries rely heavily on a large number of standards, a selection of which are used on each project. There is a perennial problem of managing these so that they are visible within the engineering data environment along with other design artifacts. I wrote previously about some approaches to creating and maintaining traceability to the […]

Jan 192017
How big is a project?

How big is a project… or more specifically, how big should a DOORS Next Generation project be. Where do we draw the project boundaries in DNG. The answer, of course, is ‘it depends’, the trick is to know on what it depends. At one extreme, you run a single project and have everything in there. […]