5301 Bolsa Ave.
Huntington Beach, CA 92647-2099
Date: Sun, 4 Apr 2004 17:36:40 -0700
03 00050 60 04040401
Mr. Morris E. Jones
2200 Mission College Blvd
Santa Clara, CA 95052 8119
SDS on the Job Progress Update
Thanks very much for input on March 4 developing a contract for Boeing to
evaluate SDS. As of Mar 30 this is a done deal, and much of what you
suggested was put in the agreement. My ops manager, Gil, and I pretty much
held Rod's hand getting the form filled out, Gil prodded Procurement to get
it done, and Jackie Hotard actually made it happen.
.. There is no specific discussion of NDA. Rod and the Boeing procurement gal
worked out some language on areas that are unique to SDS, and POIMS is
mentioned, so I think we are okay. I sent out an announcement letter to
those at Boeing I thought should be interested. I have SDS back up now,
and have converted the records I have been writing in another program into
SDS records. As time permits, I will weave them into the history, and flesh
out at least some of the records where I now have placeholders and
handwritten notes. Not all of it will get done, as I couldn't keep up with
SDS in real time, much less play catch-up.
.. I have been meaning to answer your letter of October 8, but time has just
flown by. We seem to be in constant crisis mode scrambling to revise
budgets and schedules every time someone goes to Washington, or the customer
shows up and says something that management feels changes our marching
orders. Since they took SDS away back in January, I keep falling further
behind, as well, on my personal things to do.
Glad to have a moment to get back to you on the request for what "I think,"
about the SDS evaluation, and also about your suggestions on analysis that
drives visibility of SDS. Hope you will excuse me for not having a lot of
links like Rod does. There are a few docs out there on the Internet I can list
because Rod is keeping up with some of the paperwork during our hiatus on using
SDS at Boeing. I intend to create a script that will not allow uploading of any
record without an "OK to Publish" subject in it to insure that I never get a
sensitive record onto the web again, and then I will republish those of my
records that seem to have something to say.
.. 1st, thanks for the reminder about doing "analysis," when you wrote on
October 8. I agree with your point that keeping records helps with an
accurate memory that is better than forgetting. Rod has come up with a
phrase in POIMS, but more interestingly, the same day you wrote, our chief
architect made the comment that "organizational memory" is an important
concept about remembering accurately, so it has some resonance on our
project which, like all big projects, is just full of fancy phrases.
.. Our main phrase is "C4ISR" for Computers, Communication, Command and
Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.
A lot of these C4ISR elements is discussed in POIMS, so you might guess at some
level there is a lot in common between things SDS supports for work in the
office that our project is trying to improve for work in the field. That could
be one reason I was able to get folks here to muscle up on the bureaucracy and
get SDS back in gear for us. The techies among us understand when I ask how we
are going to provide the Army with a software system that does things we don't
know how to do. During my hiring interview, my boss, Bruce Mamont, agreed that
he needed an equivalent of the system that we are trying to build to build the
system. The idea is that the system will allow a commander to access
"situational awareness" at any point in the battlespace and at any level of
detail. Boy, could we use some of that at work!
.. I plan to do more analysis, now that SDS is back in place. It is one of
the 5 parts of "intelligence" defined in POIMS, and it is one of the 8 steps
for using SDS to perform Com Metrics. Rod and I have set this is as a
to learn more of the 8 steps,
listed in a review Rod did in Jan, on my using
SDS last year.
.. The problem is always time. SDS makes it faster and easier to find
information for analysis, but when you are constantly called away from
writing up the last meeting to go attend the next one, there isn't enough
time to use good tools, much like
people in a sinking boat are
too busy bailing water to hook up a pump.
is in my record on Feb 3. Since my records are classified, Rod mentions the
incident as well.
.. Rod kept pestering me because my meeting records showed no follow-up on
discussions of previous meetings for months at a time -- I had a hard time
getting him to understand that we almost never discussed the same thing in
subsequent meetings, unless it was schedules, and then the tendency was
simply to start over. I had used SDS for maybe 6 months before I discovered
(or Rod pointed out) that headlines in a record created from a Diary record
have follow-up links back to the originating record.
.. On your comments about Steven Covey, I have read his main books: "The 7 Habits
...", and "First Things First". Shortly after getting your letter back in
Oct., I went out and bought a more complete set of the Franklin Covey tapes,
and then discussed Covey's ideas with Rod for ways to implement good
management. Rod said there is
record on Covey
(I should have guessed!!),
and asked for comments on some old analysis back on 1992. As usual, Rod
misses a lot of the important stuff, but I was surprised to find some key
similarities in what Covey is saying and how I use SDS. I have been looking
at David Allen's "Getting Things Done" as well. There are some valuable
ideas in several of these attempts to manage effort, and I continue to look
at ways that SDS can be used to implement any of the principles that I don't
see embedded in it. Sometimes Rod finds a way to get close enough within SDS
as it stands. At other times, the ideas are simply recorded for possible
implementation in "Version 2".
.. Since it is a non-Boeing matter, you can see
my review of Covey
in the record
on November 9 last year.
You and Rod are probably more optimistic, because you have been working the
problem a lot longer, but when they took SDS away back in January, this was
pretty discouraging. With the turn of events now in the past few weeks my
faith is a little stronger that people care enough about the things SDS does
to let me do it for free. In a way, that's all I care about so I can work
productively, but I know there is a bigger picture, talked about in my
letter on Feb 29. If SDS turns out to be really helpful, as it seems now,
then the cost to produce it and support it has to be paid like everything
.. Another positive note was when a letter came out of the blue from SRI asking
about me giving a presentation on experience using SDS here at Boeing last
letter to SRI
on Feb 27, sounds pessimistic because at that time I
really thought SDS was over for me.
.. SRI wrote back asking for more details, so
on Feb 29
describes more about experience using SDS and effects on productivity.
On Mar 4 you asked for a letter on my "thoughts." This is probably too long
already, but a last thought seems in order.
.. It is none of my business, but I am really amazed you and Rod have been able
to do so much with so little to show how technology can help people work
efficiently. Even if SDS never goes anywhere in our life time and it takes
another generation or two to get SDS off the ground commercially, the
collaboration between you and Rod will one day become a classic in history
and literature, like Boswell and Johnson. You have demonstrated a powerful
model for development between people with different visions, skills and
energy that somehow works. If we had $100B for another development project,
this will still be difficult to replicate in the ordinary world of product
development. It's like a Lockheed "Skunkworks + +". So, I am hopeful that
by some miracle, as fortune has smiled on us recently in getting my SDS
"wheels" back, there will be a chance for you and Rod to do your magic for a
2nd Act of SDS. Many will be grateful to come along for the ride, even
though most don't even know it yet.
.. I keep looking at how to go about SDS, but I keep getting stopped at the
editor. Most of the current editors use an entirely different paradigm, so
starting with most of them and trying to implement the macro language would
be difficult. If we could get Medit in a Windows environment with virtual
memory and with the strings largely self-managed, and then get the macro
language working, Rod could continue to make advances while another version
was built from the requirements developed from using and thinking about SDS.
.. Thanks again for ideas and support.