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Old 28th Jan 2013, 23:58
  #249 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Oxford, England
Posts: 297

Back when I worked at Boeing (and we still had some involvement in the
design game), I could run down the hall and go talk to some engineer
responsible for another subsystem. Maybe dash off a memo to record
things. But once we adopted the outsource everything model (thanks,
McDonnell Douglas), the equivalent communications had to go through
'proper channels' to ensure contractual compliance.
But would that stop you from calling the engineer to have an informal
chat, then formalise the results later to keep the paperwork straight ?
If not, how do you ever finish any complex multivendor project if even
a nut and bolt change has to go through formal channels ?.

Sounds familiar though. It can be bad enough within the same organisation.
I worked on a project with a large multinational computer company.
We were building a special system for a large customer. The computer
board had onboard firmware to allow bootstrap from a variety of hardware
devices and we needed to add some code to allow boot from an
unsupported device. The division that made the processor board were
in the US (we in UK) and flat refused to supply the source code. It
was only with the intervention of a very senior manager that we gained
access. Crazy, both working for the same company and assumed to be
working for the common good of the company.

Brookes wrote a book about big project management called "The Mythical
Man Month", iirc, in the 1970's, about software project management within
IBM. Well worth a read, software or not, even now...


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