Johnny Mercer comes off the top rope at MoD and MDP...

...and he is taking the piss as I hope you are too
Nope, not taking the piss. I actually believe what I wrote; having tried to drag several projects up the ladder of "testability", and designed a few where we built it in from the start...

As a broad principle, nail down the APIs. Use existing standards if possible. If you've got a reasonably clean design (not always possible), you have a chance of taking the problem on piece by piece. Alternatively, if the APIs are well defined, it shows that the designers were actually thinking seriously about things.

I get quite upset about "architects" who haven't done enough time at the codeface, and seem to think that drawing meaningless blobs is fine; but also get upset at engineers who don't think about the architecture (and maintainability, and testability) as they develop.

Cohesion and coupling aren't dirty words, Blackadder. Now, Crevice...
 
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ugly

LE
Moderator
Without the bullshit bingo it almost makes sense!

We had a former Rupert come to us, he was the programme managers pet, poor bloke couldn't even pronounce the names of the kit he was briefing us about. Poor lad, the Brigadier asked me what I thought and I told him that he needed 6 weeks to 6 months at the coal face to learn what we did before he tried lecturing us about it. Something BR did with Graduates was work placements. The good ones even managed to get some help from us!
 
Ahhhh, Analysis Paralysis. The unfortunate thing, is that it's hard to recognise until you've been through it and are looking back at it; and some people don't pick up on the lesson, because they don't understand that they've done it wrong....

There you are, writing a specification, and before you know it, you've added a hint of implementational detail. Just a hint of "well, I'd better illustrate what I'm thinking when I say we'll do it this way". Before you know it, you're sucked into explaining the detail, adding lots of graphics, and starting to write out the top-level design - when all you should have been doing was a basic set of requirements. Of course, any review then gets distracted by the unnecessary detail and debates the design rather than the requirements, and it all snowballs downhill from there.

Then you do the same thing at the top-level design, and before you know it, you've got a detailed design when all you should have had would fit on the back of an envelope...
I know exactly what you mean. Many moons ago I joined a project in Abbey Wood just prior to Initial Gate. The technical support to the Programme Manager had a bill of materials that identified server models and storage space requirements. This was when DII was essentially in-year funded as a means of keeping it under the radar, so we spent a lot of time fighting off their aspiration to funnel our money to Deloitte to give us something that didn't do what we needed.

Lessons very firmly learned, although I'm not sure that my predecessor had gained much from the experience.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
Returning to MDP, the Guardian is reporting that the MoD "now aim" to have a statement to the House before summer recess, but most likely it will be delayed until post-CSR or later.

All those who are shocked we are yet again delaying and fudging take one step forward....
And from today's Times (paywalled) - "Armed forces update postpones decisions on military spending".

An update on the future of the armed forces will contain no headline conclusions and no new money... Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, will today instead outline commitments to buy the right equipment, deliver value for money and make the Ministry of Defence as cost-effective as possible
We're going to do good things, we're not going to do bad things, and all pending decisions have been carefully put on display in the cabinet marked "Too Difficult". You know the cabinet I mean: the locked one, in the disused lavatory, with a sign on the door saying "Beware of The Leopard"...
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
I get quite upset about "architects...., and seem to think that drawing meaningless blobs is fine
This, possibly the thing which sets me on fire. I recall a 'maritime information services architect' who had never set foot on a ship nor understood how they were used. We didn't get along....
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
This, possibly the thing which sets me on fire. I recall a 'maritime information services architect' who had never set foot on a ship nor understood how they were used. We didn't get along....
Dont worry they are hated across outside industry too, one on a refurbishment of an underground station couldn't despite being shown the standards understand why comms and power could share the same ducts or even be in ones adjacent, the degree of separation threw him completely the fcuking vegan cycling freak!
 
This, possibly the thing which sets me on fire. I recall a 'maritime information services architect' who had never set foot on a ship nor understood how they were used. We didn't get along....
How did he gain that position/role? Surely somebody must have trained him?

Dont worry they are hated across outside industry too, one on a refurbishment of an underground station couldn't despite being shown the standards understand why comms and power could share the same ducts or even be in ones adjacent, the degree of separation threw him completely the fcuking vegan cycling freak!
An Engineering undergraduate would be able to explain that to him!

Anyway, I know there are lots of Reservists who work at Abby Wood and in the defence sector, but would exposure to the front line by defence industry personnel help improve with integration? During World War Two they fostered links between the boffins and the front line, which helped things, so why not now?

Would a visit to a submarine or a Typhoon squadron help people see things in context?
 
Have had a lot of time for this bloke since he got elected. Talks some honest sense contrary to most of the other specimens in the HoC
Many people have. Why do you think Corbyn was campaigning in Plymouth recently?
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Anyway, I know there are lots of Reservists who work at Abby Wood and in the defence sector, but would exposure to the front line by defence industry personnel help improve with integration? During World War Two they fostered links between the boffins and the front line, which helped things, so why not now?

Would a visit to a submarine or a Typhoon squadron help people see things in context?
I have recently read a book by the senior USN subs officer in the pacific at the end of WW2. He experienced amazing pentagon and Navy resistance to getting boffins involved and also tremendous issues with boffins who struggled to understand the environment, coupled with a ban on senior officers on operation sorties let alone boffins meant everything was tested in exercise rather than on ops.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
How did he gain that position/role? Surely somebody must have trained him?
He applied for the role and was the least bad candidate willing to accept an offer.

An Engineering undergraduate would be able to explain that to him!
Assuming you've got any engineering undergrads, that is... and assuming your "systems architect" deigns to listen to them.

Anyway, I know there are lots of Reservists who work at Abby Wood and in the defence sector, but would exposure to the front line by defence industry personnel help improve with integration? During World War Two they fostered links between the boffins and the front line, which helped things, so why not now?

Would a visit to a submarine or a Typhoon squadron help people see things in context?
Can only speak for myself, but there was no substitute for actually spending some time in Cook Building (as was), in an ops room during Joint Warrior, and other excursions, to get a better grip on "lovely theory, sir, but how did you expect us to use that?" But, you needed (a) the interest and enthusiasm, (b) enough time and useful stuff to learn useful things rather than just go "look at the shiny! Right, next compartment!" which can be an issue (who's got time to play Teacher with the sea riders?)

I was very lucky in that for my first few trips out I was there to learn as well as work, and uniformed colleagues took care of me and (mostly) kept me out of trouble, and after a while I was able to do similar for the less experienced and for industry colleagues - but I was fortunate and in a pretty specific niche, plus I've always been a planespotter type...
 
I have recently read a book by the senior USN subs officer in the pacific at the end of WW2. He experienced amazing pentagon and Navy resistance to getting boffins involved and also tremendous issues with boffins who struggled to understand the environment, coupled with a ban on senior officers on operation sorties let alone boffins meant everything was tested in exercise rather than on ops.
I was thinking of British experience during the Battle of the Atlantic and rapid innovation of tactics, sensors, and weapons.

He applied for the role and was the least bad candidate willing to accept an offer.



Assuming you've got any engineering undergrads, that is... and assuming your "systems architect" deigns to listen to them.



Can only speak for myself, but there was no substitute for actually spending some time in Cook Building (as was), in an ops room during Joint Warrior, and other excursions, to get a better grip on "lovely theory, sir, but how did you expect us to use that?" But, you needed (a) the interest and enthusiasm, (b) enough time and useful stuff to learn useful things rather than just go "look at the shiny! Right, next compartment!" which can be an issue (who's got time to play Teacher with the sea riders?)

I was very lucky in that for my first few trips out I was there to learn as well as work, and uniformed colleagues took care of me and (mostly) kept me out of trouble, and after a while I was able to do similar for the less experienced and for industry colleagues - but I was fortunate and in a pretty specific niche, plus I've always been a planespotter type...
Just thinking of basics - spending a few days aboard a ship would give you an insight into the environmental conditions and physical constraints.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
I was thinking of British experience during the Battle of the Atlantic and rapid innovation of tactics, sensors, and weapons.
No doubt the experience was similar in many ways. The sheer frustration of underperforming torpedoes came through the pages.
 
Would a visit to a submarine or a Typhoon squadron help people see things in context?
We had, in our Combined Arms & Tactics Course syndicate at Warminster, a Civil Servant* operational analyst** who had been sent along to get more of an understanding of the LAND environment - not as a complete instructional package, but as a start point for his future learning. One of the other syndicates had the newly posted SO2 (Arty) for CATC(N) - then an exchange with the US Army.

See? Those STAB courses could be quite useful at times:cool:

*No, he didn't get a gun or (IIRC) a command appointment... but he came on the exercise, dressed in DPM sans rank slides / headdress.
** @jrwlynch used to work with him
 
Just thinking of basics - spending a few days aboard a ship would give you an insight into the environmental conditions and physical constraints.
I've been on both sides of that, the host and the "civvy sent along to get some awareness".

As a host, I essentially treated them as a Young Officer and they shadowed me for a few days. The value was a bit limited depending on the programme, but in a week they got a good awareness of cruising routine with some time in the Ops Room and in the various technical spaces. I gave them as much time as possible with the Seniors, recognising that they have a job to do and it's easy to get in the way.

As the visiting civvy, in an entirely different context, I was treated as overhead. Didn't really refer to my previous experience so there were no assumptions. The previous experience did mean that when I wasn't getting what I wanted from my host, I managed to wander off and find the seniors myself. I wouldn't have got much value from the visit had I stuck to the hosts programme, it was all a bit too formal and didn't give me time to really understand the need.
 

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