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Paul Strickland
Paul Strickland

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Beginning to write more

Today I found out about the #100DaysToOffload challenge, the idea being for people to publish 100 posts on their personal blog within a year. Regularly writing on here has always been a challenge for me, but I do find it to be a good experience. So today marks the start of my challenge.

There isn't a great deal to say today except two things that stuck in my head.

Running in the middle of the work day

After writing a bit about how I needed to change my lockdown remote working routine, I set out to run after my first block of productive work this morning. Having started at 06:30 and achieved a fairly flow-like state for a couple of hours, I didn't end up getting outside until 11:00. I then managed a good hour of running, and only about 90 minutes away from work. It felt quite good. Returning to the desk was a bit difficult, but certainly not impossible. I will try to continue that approach for a few more days this week.

The challenge of flexible versus rigid approaches to process

As I research more into the ideas on offer in systems engineering (and particularly model-based systems engineering), I try to apply the ideas to whatever constitutes our "system" at work. It's not easy because we do not produce in the traditional sense. However, the most startling thing I realised today was that we operate with a sense of robust and rigid process, yet do not have a fully comprehensive model to capture that system in its entirety. This leads to ambiguity and difficulties result from misaligned interpretations of what we should be doing and how we should do it. At the same time, the nature of our work relies on a sizeable degree of flexibility in how we work.

My challenge, as I continue to understand the application of systems engineering to our work, is to reconcile those two competing elements. Ideally I would be able to construct a robust model with the required degree of flexibility built into it. It's fairly academic at the moment, but really gets my brain working.

I'm publishing this as part of 100 Days To Offload. You can join in yourself by visiting

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