#012 – Pari Singh – Fast, Iterative & Collaborative

Pari Singh is the CEO of Flow Engineering



– Flow Engineering:

– Pari’s LinkedIn:


00:00:00 – Introduction

00:01:00 – Flow Engineering

00:03:06 – Systems Engineering and Design Teams

00:06:02 – The Evolution of Systems Engineering Tools

00:11:11 – Building Capability Step by Step

00:13:20 – Analogue, Digital, and Systems Phases of Engineering

00:16:14 – Flow Engineering’s Genesis and Mission

00:25:54 – Client Engagement and Product Lifecycle

00:29:44 – Systems Engineering and Modern Industries

00:36:11 – Navigating the Various Engineering Tools

00:42:52 – Safety Concerns in Fast-Paced Engineering

00:45:02 – Far future

00:49:22 – Vertical Integration and Manufacturing Decisions

00:53:29 – Avoid being spread too thin

01:01:08 – Role of AI

01:04:50 – Closing


– LinkedIn:


00:00:00 Joshua

All right, everyone, welcome to the System Engineering podcast. Today’s guest is Pari Singh. Perry is the CEO at Flow Engineering and Flow is a company that’s dedicated to revolutionising the way engineers work. Our flow has a requirements tool that is powering the next generation of aerospace.

00:00:21 Joshua

Nuclear and robotics companies. He’s very passionate about this topic and you’ll never hear that in this conversation. So I really hope you enjoy.

00:00:30 Joshua

And justice, before we start, be sure to sign up to the newsletter.

00:00:34 Joshua

At and that link will be in the description below. It gives you updated with the latest episodes and many other interesting things, so be sure to do that.

00:00:49 Joshua

So yeah, hope you enjoyed the episode.

00:00:53 Joshua

Great. So welcome, Parri. Great to see you today. How you?

00:00:56 Joshua

Doing I’m good.

00:00:57 Pari

I’m good. How are you?

00:00:58 Joshua

Good, very well.

00:01:00 Joshua

So I wanted to talk to you about your exciting company flow engineering. Would you have to describe to us what you do and what sort of products and services you offer?

00:01:09 Pari

Absolutely. So slow engineering is building a modern requirement management tool to help systems engineering teams and design teams move and iterate much faster than they can do today.

00:01:22 Joshua

OK. OK, that’s.

00:01:23 Joshua

Succinct. I guess we better unpack what some of those words mean. So you said modern requirements tool. What do we mean by modern?

00:01:33 Pari

Yeah. Also question. I think it really goes down to the why we built flow and why we’ve built this product. We think there’s been a really fundamental.

00:01:42 Pari

Range in the systems engineering community, but also in the engineering community holistically over the last 20 years. And there’s a really fundamental change it’s changed.

00:01:52 Pari

The way we.

00:01:52 Pari

Work and that’s caused our existing tools to be validate and sort of we built flow to map to this new way of working. So So what is all of that? Well, let’s start with systems engineering and how it’s evolved over the last 20 years. Systems engineering used to be document LED, you’d get a systems engineer, you’d put them in a corner.

00:02:13 Pari

And you say build all the stuff that I need to do for requirements and verification and also for the regulatory.

00:02:19 Pari

And it would be a little disconnected from the wider design design community. And as complexity is increased over the last 20 years, our systems have become more and more complex. Systems engineering has gone from this activity that can sort of operate in asylum and can do longer term work to being much more deeply.

00:02:39 Pari

Connected with the design team.

00:02:41 Pari

So systems engineers now need to be.

00:02:43 Pari

The heart and centre.

00:02:45 Pari

Of a modern design organisation and almost to the point where every engineer and mechanical engineer and electrical engineer, a fluids engineer, all need to have a systems mindset and the systems engineers role is sort of changing that from being the.

00:03:00 Pari

Person that does the.

00:03:01 Pari

Work to being the person that empowers A-Team to operate.

00:03:05 Pari

With this systems mindset.

00:03:06 Pari

So there’s really fundamental change in in workflow has caused two big things to change. The first big thing to change is the the pace of change.

00:03:17 Pari

Systems engineers love the idea that we can sort of do all this analysis and.

00:03:21 Pari

Sort of breakdown.

00:03:22 Pari

A model and and work out all the emotion knowns at the start of the 10 year project and then nothing will.

00:03:27 Pari

Ever catch us?

00:03:28 Pari

And we’ll be completely fine and we get.

00:03:30 Pari

To the end of the.

00:03:30 Pari

Project and we work that all out.

00:03:32 Pari

But but in today’s projects, change is.

00:03:34 Pari

Just part of.

00:03:35 Pari

The game. There are things we’re not.

00:03:37 Pari

Going to know.

00:03:37 Pari

And if we sat in the corner and we worked every element.

00:03:40 Pari

Out. We’re never.

00:03:40 Pari

Going to start the.

00:03:41 Pari

Project, so we’ve gotta be reactive to change and.

00:03:44 Pari

Sort of work out what we don’t know as we go.

00:03:47 Pari

So the first big thing to change is this sort of change happening in organisation and the second big thing to change.

00:03:53 Pari

Is because of that.

00:03:55 Pari

We need normal engineers to be part of the systems engineering community and we need them to have a systems mindset and interact with the requirements and understand how V works, understand what they’re doing.

00:04:07 Pari

Fits into the V cycle, so those two big changes have caused our requirements. Tools are old school tools like IBM.

00:04:14 Pari

Was to sort of.

00:04:15 Pari

Be massively out of date and out of touch with modern teams.

00:04:19 Pari

And what we.

00:04:20 Pari

See modern teams.

00:04:20 Pari

Doing is actually just starting on something like JIRA.

00:04:23 Pari

Or a Google Sheets.

00:04:24 Pari

And just.

00:04:25 Pari

Kind of writing requirements and bringing their team in and collaborating around these requirements and propagating change and seeing how change.

00:04:31 Pari

Propagates through this design team.

00:04:33 Pari

And what we fundamentally believe is.

00:04:35 Pari

If modern teams have great tooling, we could massively accelerate the rate of change in these in these organisations and term systems engineering from this thing that you sit in.

00:04:45 Pari

The corner to rule the heart.

00:04:47 Pari

Of the organisation.

00:04:49 Joshua

OK. That makes sense. So do you also think there’s there’s methodology and there are tools and?

00:04:57 Joshua

It sounds like what you’re suggesting is to adopt this the methodology. This modern methodology that that you think is is beneficial. You also need a a tool that can work with that methodology.

00:05:11 Joshua

And your tool.

00:05:12 Joshua

Is is potentially a good one for that.

00:05:14 Pari

Yeah, absolutely. So. So let me be, let me give you the answer and then let me.

00:05:19 Pari

Flip the answer.

00:05:20 Pari

Its head and tell you why the answer.

00:05:22 Pari

Doesn’t make sense.

00:05:24 Pari

So so the answer is absolutely tools play a really critical part in how we do stuff. Just see what’s happened over the last 10.

00:05:30 Pari

20 years with Facebook.

00:05:32 Pari

And Twitter and all of these tools that have sort of been hacked or built to give people dopamine at certain times, really great tools, absolutely Foster and change behaviour or turn behaviour.

00:05:47 Pari

Off. So if you take.

00:05:48 Pari

A tool like IBM doors and you give it to a modern design team.

00:05:52 Pari

They’re not gonna want to interact with the requirements. They’re not gonna want to open that thing at all. So really great tools play a really important part in this modern process.

00:06:02 Pari

100% and we think the best tools actually help accelerate design and help accelerate the rate of change in an organisation. And when you look at the software engineering industry in particular, we’ve seen that story play out over the last 10 years. Tools like GitHub, less familiar tools, things around CI CD.

00:06:22 Pari

Continuous integration and continued development have massively accelerated the pace at which modern software is built, going from shipping a desktop app once every year to today where we have 3 or 4 updates live when someone is using the.

00:06:37 Pari

Today, that same tool infrastructure should be able to help our community massively accelerate design cycles. Will that be next generation vehicles, aerospace missions or even space missions?

00:06:51 Joshua

Apparently there was.

00:06:52 Joshua

A little cut out in your signal, I think when you said less family known tools it cut out. I think you’re going.

00:06:57 Joshua

To say continuously.

00:06:58 Joshua

Deployment continuous deployment. But let’s just check.

00:07:00 Pari

Yes, CI CD, continuous integration deployment and then the.

00:07:03 Pari

Second, I was going.

00:07:04 Pari

To say is I think tools are the last element of the puzzle.

00:07:08 Pari

Right. There are really important.

00:07:10 Pari

Element that the last element you correctly mentioned process but before process, I think the the most important thing you need to get.

00:07:16 Pari

Right. Is the team, so if you hire a bunch of people that come in with a solid mindset and say, oh, I’m just do mechanical engineering and I sit over here in mechanical engineer and you tell me.

00:07:27 Pari

What to do and?

00:07:27 Pari

I’ll give it to you 6.

00:07:28 Pari

Weeks later, it’s not gonna work the.

00:07:30 Pari

First thing, modern projects and needs is bringing a design team together.

00:07:36 Pari

That all start with the system mindset. Am I doing the thing that’s the right thing for the overall system first and foremost? Then the next thing is process. How do we foster that system mindset? How do we deliver quickly? How do we iterate fast?

00:07:49 Pari

And then almost laugh.

00:07:50 Pari

Out of the puzzle, the thing that comes out.

00:07:51 Pari

Of those first.

00:07:51 Pari

2 is what are the tools that codify that relationship?

00:07:57 Joshua

Yes. Yeah. And on your website, I think you say you say something revolutionising how hardware engineering is done. Yeah. And you compare it to to software. Yeah, a a listener might say. Well, software is in the world of the entire domain is software and you maybe there’s some guys who care about.

00:08:17 Joshua

Getting your performance running on the CPU or GPU, but it remains in that fixed domain.

00:08:22 Joshua

But you know you have a rocket behind you. You know, that’s a classic systems engineering example where there’s a lot of different domains. All interacting. Absolutely is it, is it a bit of a stretch to say that you can apply, you know, what works and.

00:08:35 Joshua

Software to hardware.

00:08:38 Pari

I think the essence of your question is correct, but I will push back on your question in a number of ways. So so the first thing is the software and hardware are two different domains.

00:08:50 Pari

Software you can have day long.

00:08:51 Pari

Week long design cycles.

00:08:52 Pari

You can push them. Yeah, you can see the.

00:08:54 Pari

After that, if you’re designing a next generation nuclear reactor or you’re designing a next generation launch vehicle, that’s not true. And.

00:09:01 Pari

The cost of failure.

00:09:03 Pari

On a launch vehicle with people going to space is significantly higher than the cost of failure on Facebook, for example, so. So of course these are two different domains.

00:09:14 Pari

And of course.

00:09:16 Pari

If you just try and rip out a bunch of processes and you just stick them in hardware, it’s it’s not gonna. It’s not gonna work.

00:09:24 Pari

So I agree with.

00:09:25 Pari

With you and and I’d say most of the listeners there.

00:09:29 Pari

Where I think you’re wrong is is really the mindset of agility.

00:09:37 Pari

And of iteration and I.

00:09:39 Pari

Think even 10 years ago you could have argued.

00:09:41 Pari

With me about.

00:09:41 Pari

This but seeing what SpaceX has done with the Falcon Nine, we used Falcon Heavy Starship Star link and it it really is that software mentality applied to hardware and I don’t mean spreads and I don’t mean.

00:09:58 Pari

Tickets, and I don’t mean testing. What I mean is, can we take this really huge complex products with lots of different risks? And can we boil it down to something which we.

00:10:09 Pari

Can ship today.

00:10:10 Pari

And then can we iteratively add to that and de risk different factors if you go back to even the 60s and the 70s, the two big things that come to my mind are that the Saturn 5 and the SR-71 Blackbird. That’s exactly the mindset that we have then that we seem to have lost in the 2000s.

00:10:30 Pari

And if we look at how the Saturn Five was developed, we didn’t start and say, hey, we’re going to map out every requirement to the Saturn 5, and then we’re gonna wait 10 years and design every element and.

00:10:38 Pari

Put it together and.

00:10:39 Pari

Hope it works. We we slimmed it down to genuine.

00:10:42 Pari

And we slim.

00:10:42 Pari

That down to mercury. And we said, hey, can we just derisk the fact that we can go up and down?

00:10:48 Pari

Yeah, pass it. Pass them on. Carmen, line. And then once we can go up and down, can we do multiple stages? The tap those stages and go into orbit and then can we do much more complex stuff while we’re going all the way to the moon and back? And I see modern teams like Hermes, like SpaceX, really embody that iterative, agile mindset.

00:11:07 Pari

That we seem to have lost in.

00:11:09 Pari

The 2000s.

00:11:11 Joshua

So we’re sort of building up a probability step by step.

00:11:16 Joshua

Little bit at a time and once we’ve sort of locked down that capability, we have a foundation to build onto the next capability rather than that Big Bang of you know we have to build the Mars rocket in one-on-one massive step.

00:11:29 Pari

Absolutely fast. Iterative is always the right way and I think the reason for that is the unknown unknowns are so large.

00:11:39 Pari

And whenever we have unknown unknowns, there is a risk to overanalyze them right and and. And when you overanalyze A component, you will always miss the systems integration. So what the best projects do what the Blackbird did? What Mercury did is they they started integrated and then they stayed integrated, right? They said, what is the absolute smallest thing we can build.

00:12:01 Pari

As an integrated system, and then how do we start to add complexity to that integrated system to be able to evolve it to do the complex things need to need it to do?

00:12:11 Joshua

And what’s interesting, you brought up sort of spacecraft of the 50s and 60s that all that this design work was being done on very, very rudimentary computers and telecommunication systems.

00:12:24 Pari

I’m sleepy.

00:12:25 Joshua

And you know what we have today is I don’t know how many orders of.

00:12:29 Joshua

Magnitude better, but like.

00:12:31 Joshua

Your 3D cat like these.

00:12:32 Joshua

Even the thing the 1980s were just so much more.

00:12:36 Joshua

Art. And it is, you know, if if a non engineer was to sort of just look at the offices of of that 1960s design studio and then look at the 1:00 today that they would be.

00:12:52 Joshua

Kind of amazed, I imagine. As you know the the A moon going rocket could be created with people you know working with pencils and paper like literal pencils and paper, yeah.

00:13:03 Joshua

And yeah, it does sometimes feel like have our capabilities to do engineer.

00:13:08 Joshua

That pace with these tools we have today, yeah.

00:13:13 Pari

I I actually think you sort.

00:13:15 Pari

Of learned the essence of the core transitions that have happened. I.

00:13:20 Pari

Think if we.

00:13:21 Pari

Step out the weed for a second and we look at the systems engineering or the engineering fields as a whole.

00:13:28 Pari

I can see three distinct phases for the engineering world. What I call the analogue phase.

00:13:35 Pari

The digital phase and the systems phase, so the analogue phase is that it’s it’s back in the 50s and the 60s it’s.

00:13:44 Pari

Where we’re working out how to design complex systems and how to 1st bring them to markets and everything was done on pen and paper. Right and and that sort of was fine and we got away.

00:13:54 Pari

With that, we did drafting.

00:13:55 Pari

By hand, we did the calculations on blackboards. We did physical tests and everything was analogue and and and V1. What ends up happening is as we were able.

00:14:04 Pari

To do that.

00:14:05 Pari

The functional complexity.

00:14:07 Pari

Breast and that moved us into the second era, which is the digital era.

00:14:11 Pari

So our geometry became a lot more complex and to be able to deal with the increasing complexity in geometry we invented tools like parametric cat and then eventually 3D parametric cats to increase with the complexity on the test side, we invented simulation.

00:14:28 Pari

And digital testing methods to be able to massively increase amount of testing we’re doing in a cheap way and to increase the amount of our literal complexity we did, we went from blackboards to spreadsheets where you can make a change to a number and see the impact that unblock loss. And that works really well for us in the 2000.

00:14:45 Pari

But really, we’re in a new era today than we were back then that, that era, the archetypical sort of image I have of that era is the space shuttle and the optical image I have of the first era of the analogue era is the the 75, the octal image I have of today’s era, which is the system zero is the Falcon 9 rocket and this.

00:15:04 Pari

Era is really marked not by functional complex.

00:15:08 Pari

But by cross.

00:15:09 Pari

Functional systems complexity. It’s when your mechanical affects your electrical which affects your software which affects your fuel profile which affects something else. And and really what we need to do is we need to be able to foster a multidisciplinary cross functional.

00:15:27 Pari

Integration and that’s really what kills teams or makes teams great. The best teams that I see in the world really understand that everything comes down to cross functional collaboration and the role of a systems engineering that isn’t to be the person doing the trade-offs but is to be able to glue the team together to empower them to have those conversations.

00:15:48 Joshua

Current sales, are you almost envisaging in my head at least I’m envisioning some sort of a matrix where you’ve got all these sort of different individuals representing these different sort of domains covering your product and it’s likely quite a dense matrix where if each individual location there is a is an interaction between your.

00:16:10 Joshua

The propulsion system and your electronics or things of that nature.

00:16:15 Joshua

OK so.

00:16:17 Joshua

Does I mean what was the genesis of your company? And it sounds like you’re very passionate about you’ve moving towards this this future. But like what, what caused you to to actively sort of want to you haven’t taken an easy road to be?

00:16:31 Joshua

Involved in this? Yeah. Well, we we sort of.

00:16:35 Pari

Have a winding and crazy.

00:16:37 Pari

Story when when we started the company.

00:16:42 Pari

It was really born out of her frustration. I became an engineer because I wanted to design things that mattered. I wanted to do some work and then see the impact of that work and eventually put a rocket on the moon. You know, I feel like in the 1960s you could say I designed the combustion chamber that flew on the 75 rocket.

00:17:02 Pari

That put a person on the.

00:17:03 Pari

Moon and I sort of.

00:17:04 Pari

Didn’t feel that in in modern engineering anymore. So I really wanted to do something that matters and.

00:17:10 Pari

Do it quickly.

00:17:11 Pari

And sort of iterate with that and learn with that institutional knowledge. So what we did is we.

00:17:16 Pari

Ended up building a harder.

00:17:17 Pari

Company and we called it the rocket company and we were the fastest design consultancy in the world for rocket engines. A customer would come to us and give US requirements for a low TRL hybrid or liquid rocket engine and we will be able to give them drawings and the analysis of a design in the course.

00:17:36 Pari

Of two weeks.

00:17:37 Pari

The fastest in the world was 8 weeks and we could do it in two. And the reason we could do it so quickly is we basically built tools that also made it and accelerated the design.

00:17:45 Pari

Process and after about a.

00:17:47 Pari

Year and working this way. This fast, agile iterative way.

00:17:53 Pari

Someone had a conversation with us and they said, look, what you’ve really invented here is this new agile way of doing engineering and if you can take this.

00:18:01 Pari

To the world.

00:18:02 Pari

Then you can help every industry, whether that be the medical industry or the nuclear industry or the space industry. Start to iterate quicker and and that opportunity was just too good to pass up.

00:18:13 Pari

Like the idea that the.

00:18:15 Pari

Work that I do and my team does.

00:18:19 Pari

Can help accelerate.

00:18:21 Pari

Every physical hardware engineering industry in the world by 5% a year, 10% a year is is mind blowing to me. And that’s really what made.

00:18:29 Pari

Us pivot from.

00:18:29 Pari

A hardware company to a tool building company saying can we build really incredible tools? That number one, help engineers and #2 actually accelerate the design process for systems engineers and.

00:18:41 Pari

And complex engineering projects.

00:18:44 Joshua

OK. Yeah. And it’s often the way, isn’t it that the?

00:18:48 Joshua

The product that.

00:18:49 Joshua

The company ends up focused on isn’t the one they started with, and I was reading about Slack, you know, the messaging thing. But they were a video games company who got so fed up with the IM systems of the past that they made their own and then everyone was like, oh, can we just buy?

00:19:05 Joshua

This off.

00:19:06 Joshua

You and no longer a video games.

00:19:09 Pari

Yeah, I mean, there are so many. There are so many companies there for that trajectory. But I I think really great companies.

00:19:16 Pari

Aren’t built out of a spreadsheet or a McKinsey White paper. They’re built out of an emotion.

00:19:21 Pari

And like an urgent need to do something better to see a problem fixed and for us, the biggest problem in the engineering industry wasn’t nuclear, and it wasn’t energy, and it wasn’t even space. It was the engineering industry itself.

00:19:37 Joshua

Yeah, yeah. Now resonates. So when you engage with a A.

00:19:43 Joshua

Client or a customer?

00:19:45 Joshua

Is this a sort of a consultancy thing where you’re actively having to educate them and and change their processes, or do they just install the software and done?

00:19:55 Joshua

Like, how does that work?

00:19:56 Pari

Until the software is.

00:19:56 Pari

Done. That’s it. So so, so that’s a long way of saying I think there’s a divide in in the industry and what we used to do is we used to try and educate and sell to traditional defence primes and say, hey, you’re doing this really complex things that are amazing.

00:20:16 Pari

And if we’re able to take a slightly more influential approach, the whole the whole way.

00:20:20 Pari

We work is going to be significant.

00:20:22 Pari

Better and we’re going to be able to do things faster with less risk and and as any great systems engineer will tell you, changing a system is hard, if not impossible. What we ended up finding is we ended up finding that there’s already a corner of the universe.

00:20:43 Pari

Which have invented this new way of doing.

00:20:46 Pari

And it’s this agile, fast moving, iterative. Typically startup or scale up stage company who who need to move fast. Whoever financial and incentive to move fast and really understand the future. And it’s those teams that are currently developing the future of the engineering industry.

00:21:07 Pari

And it’s those teams who we serve. So whenever we speak to a customer, it’s really clear in the first.

00:21:11 Pari

Couple of minutes.

00:21:12 Pari

On whether that company gets it and has that philosophy, and if they do, it’s gonna be magic and the new sparks, and they’re gonna pull the product out of us.

00:21:20 Pari

They’re gonna get us daily feed.

00:21:21 Pari

Back and if a.

00:21:22 Pari

Company is siloed and a little old school, then it’s probably not gonna work out.

00:21:27 Joshua

OK, so those comments who you engage with, where it goes well is almost like they are maybe using a spreadsheet or a Google sheet in the way in which would work well with your software. So then they can just very quickly migrate into your software and and get all.

00:21:43 Pari

Those benefits the best teams in the world refused to use IBM.

00:21:49 Pari

And they refuse to use IBM doors cause again. They start with the people. Does everyone have a systems mindset and they build the processes around that and?

00:21:56 Pari

Then it’s so.

00:21:56 Pari

Clear. You’re putting a square peg in.

00:21:58 Pari

A round hole with IBM doors. It’s just not.

00:22:00 Pari

At all that’s built.

00:22:01 Pari

For the modern, the modern fast moving, iterative agility mindset and and what we see happen most often actually.

00:22:09 Pari

Is a team will typically start with JIRA, they’ll say hey, Jira is fast and JIRA is collaborative, but I can just write a requirement in JIRA and I can give it to.

00:22:18 Pari

One of my engineers.

00:22:20 Pari

And they’ll end up building their own tool requirements tool in JIRA. And it’s really when they outgrow JIRA and they start to realise JIRA is not a requirement at all. It’s not built for systems engineering and there’s gonna be really fundamental issues with this is when they they see flow and the like. Where have you been? This is what we wanted for ages I.

00:22:37 Pari

Think one of our.

00:22:38 Pari

One of the companies were working with.

00:22:40 Pari

Actually, spent $1,000,000 of of an R&D grant by NASA to develop flow internally and when they met us, they were like wherever you being please take the IP that we’ve developed and then sell it back to us. You know, like we don’t wanna be in the.

00:22:52 Pari

Required tool game we wanna be in the aerospace game.

00:22:56 Joshua

Yeah, because even like the the maintenance of these internally developed tools can get really out of hand and you, you end up UM.

00:23:05 Joshua

Having to hire quite a lot of software developers just internally and you’re not, you’re compensating for that for your in your own business. So it is.

00:23:15 Pari

And you want the best tools in the world. You don’t want the tool. That’s just good enough built internally. You want the the thing that really works, and it really helps you focus on your.

00:23:25 Joshua

Another potential pushback people could have for the the modern way of doing systems entering. You describe your answer of safety, and if you move too quickly, people will get injured. How do you respond to those sorts of criticisms and are even valid?

00:23:47 Pari

So. So maybe let’s start with safety and.

00:23:51 Pari

And and look at modern companies like Rivian and like SpaceX and the companies that have been successful that have come out this.

00:24:00 Pari

New era are.

00:24:02 Pari

They meaningfully worse in safety than what we.

00:24:04 Pari

Have with Volkswagen.

00:24:05 Pari

And what we have with the traditional defence primes.

00:24:09 Pari

I think the answer is no.

00:24:11 Pari

So so the first thing is we we today.

00:24:13 Pari

Have black and.

00:24:14 Pari

White definitive proof that this new way of doing engineering isn’t any worse than safety than than they all were doing engineering, but I think they take fundamentally different approaches.

00:24:24 Pari

The traditional approach is to say let’s look at all the things that could possibly go wrong over the next 10 years.

00:24:30 Pari

And let’s spend an enormous.

00:24:32 Pari

Amount of time devising those today.

00:24:35 Pari

And that’s not the mindset I got manned to the moon with. The with the Apollo era. It it’s not the mindset that gave us the first nuclear reactors.

00:24:45 Pari

The mindset that we need to take.

00:24:46 Pari

Is. What can we do today that’s safe?

00:24:49 Pari

That gets us to the next phase and what can we do to the next phase in the next phase and eventually we will work ourselves up to safety. But safety comes the requirements on safety for a Falcon one are different to the requirements on safety for Falcon Nine are different the requirements and safety for the Dragon capsule, which are different to the outcomes and safety on.

00:25:09 Pari

A bridge that carries.

00:25:11 Pari

People across the river 100.

00:25:13 Pari

1000 a week or whatever it is.

00:25:15 Pari

Uhm, I think we need to work our way up to that and we need to be able to incrementally build smaller, more focused iterations where that’s not the thing we’re risking the the old playbook is to derisk everything all at once, right at the start. And the new playbook is to take one risk at a time.

00:25:36 Pari

And to level our way up and understand.

00:25:38 Pari

That safety will.

00:25:39 Pari

Be a thing, but if we’re able to start, integrate it and stay integrated, the big things that cause rockets and aeroplanes and nuclear reactors to blow up will be tested along the way and will.

00:25:51 Pari

Catch them along the way.

00:25:53 Joshua

Yeah. And so is there a part of the life cycle that you tend to engage with, with, with your clients or is it across the whole thing?

00:26:03 Pari

Yeah. We typically tend to engage with clients that sort.

00:26:09 Pari

Of have done.

00:26:10 Pari

The early days hack that.

00:26:13 Pari

Have done the early stage prototype where you just blew stuff together and you Weld it and you duct tape it and it looks about right and it’s technology doesn’t matter that that’s a part of that. You don’t need a requirement at all and you don’t need.

00:26:25 Pari

Us to be.

00:26:25 Pari

Involved. It’s when you’re bringing.

00:26:28 Pari

A real product to market and there’s a level of sophistication and complexity on that and you need.

00:26:32 Pari

A slight bit of rigour.

00:26:34 Pari

That’s when we start to get involved. So so the unique thing that flow does that no other tool in the world does is that we combine speed with rigour. Typically you can see this spectrum where on one side of IBM doors it’s extremely rigorous, but at the cost.

00:26:50 Pari

Speed, but on.

00:26:51 Pari

The other side you can say we don’t.

00:26:52 Pari

Get requirements at.

00:26:53 Pari

All we’ve got zero process, extremely fast. But you’re gonna blow stuff up. And in that spectrum, we’re probably about here. We’re probably about 20% where you’ve realised twenty 8820% of the world will give you 8 of the outcome. You need a little bit of process and that’s actually going to help you deliver your next iteration faster.

00:27:10 Pari

That’s where we get involved. Early stages of projects requirements phase when you’re starting to work stuff out and to bring your multidisciplinary team into loop.

00:27:20 Joshua

And then is there a a time where you sort of feel that you then step away or would you be you’re likely pushing forward as you know that product say goes into mass production or?

00:27:31 Pari

Yeah, I mean, like we are a classic in the sense of what a requirements tool is. We start at the early stage of concept and once you’ve shipped a product, you’ve you’ve met your requirements are happy, you’re on to the next.

00:27:42 Pari

Product and the next product the next.

00:27:44 Joshua

OK. And do you have a sweet spot for the the scale of the system you’re involved with like, I mean, are you able to?

00:27:52 Joshua

Describe any examples of.

00:27:54 Joshua

What would maybe?

00:27:54 Joshua

On the smaller side or the bigger side?

00:27:56 Pari

Yeah, absolutely. And.

00:27:58 Pari

And again, sort of. There’s this dichotomy in.

00:28:02 Pari

In that, with the modern era. So I think if you looked at Sir, you could say CERN is obviously massive scale complexity and you look at the wood world, you can say wood was absolutely not not complex. I’d argue that.

00:28:14 Pari

Water bottle? Yes, a water bottle is not complex. So. So this, this, this sort of. I’m gonna break this idea that you have actually even modern nuclear.

00:28:16 Joshua

OK. Yes.

00:28:23 Pari

Let’s start really simple and they work their way up to that complexity. So we absolutely work in a couple of core industries, the space industry, the nuclear industry, the medical industry, the automotive industry and in these industries, we’re working with people that need to deliver really quickly and need to take a cross functional systems mindset.

00:28:43 Pari

To be able to do that so we have companies that are designing next generation electric vehicles, whether those be motorcycles or electric cars. We have companies designing small modular nuclear.

00:28:54 Pari

The assets and we have companies doing hydrogen powered aircraft. We have companies designing modern satellites. It’s really cross functional systems mindset. That’s the thing that makes our customers great.

00:29:05 Joshua

And would they be handling all the requirements for for those systems so you know, like an EV? Or would it be for a subsystem?

00:29:14 Pari

Yeah, and great question. It probably brings us into a really.

00:29:18 Pari

Nice tangent, which is.

00:29:21 Pari

How do you work with split?

00:29:23 Pari

Yeah, yeah. And then what is?

00:29:24 Joshua

Automotive, which is, you know, a big chain of suppliers and then supplying suppliers.

00:29:30 Pari

Exactly like the tier ones and the tier twos and the Tier 3. And what is no em anymore. How does vertical interesting with this so so the first.

00:29:38 Pari

Thing I’d say is.

00:29:40 Pari

Let’s start with what is the role.

00:29:43 Pari

Of of an OEM or a modern company.

00:29:46 Pari

And I’d say the.

00:29:47 Pari

Role of an OEM or a modern company?

00:29:50 Pari

Isn’t to do engineering.

00:29:51 Pari

This is the misconception. The modern the the role that these companies have is to work out.

00:29:59 Pari

What the market needs?

00:30:02 Pari

And to design a system around that market, who does the work is another story. That’s the really hard part is to say we want to build a electric bike. Great. What’s the range of that electric bike? Does maybe electric car? Does it need cruise control? Who are we selling to? Why is it different?

00:30:22 Pari

That’s the essence of what makes U.S. special. This sort of customer centric or market centric mindset is really the crux of it.

00:30:30 Pari

And then the.

00:30:31 Pari

Question then is how do we deliver that if we want to eventually deliver 1,000,000 units?

00:30:36 Pari

Yeah. What does our MVP look like? And then what does the next one look like? What’s an internal prototype versus what’s the first thing to be read in the car? So the essence of?

00:30:44 Pari

What makes a great?

00:30:46 Pari

Engineering company is is systems engineering and is requirements engineering is really understand what they’re doing. Once you understand the the problem.

00:30:56 Pari

The execution becomes a lot more trivial. You know it becomes a lot simpler. It’s that great Douglas Adams quote, which is if you work out the question.

00:31:06 Pari

That’s that’s the hard part.

00:31:09 Pari

And then Part 2 is how do you deliver that, whether that be internal capability, you hire engineers and you give them work and they deliver stuff for you or you work with suppliers or you work with tier ones and tier twos. If you have the requirements.

00:31:23 Pari

That is the.

00:31:23 Pari

Essence of what makes your product everything else is then just execution.

00:31:28 Joshua

OK, but I.

00:31:31 Joshua

I guess, yeah, many listeners would think, well, the SpaceX seemed to do a lot of internal manufacturing. I guess you might say well.


Tell it.

00:31:40 Joshua

Yeah. On the assumption they’ve been following a process similar to what you described, they’ve then chosen to build internal capabilities to do manufacturing themselves. For whatever reason they’ve given, but equally an an alternative SpaceX could have done that outsource those that manufacturing to someone else if they’d preferred.

00:32:00 Pari

Yeah, absolutely. Like manufacturing vertical integration is is much more around timeline and cost and availability. I think the decision that SpaceX has made to vertically integrate is really based around speed and cost, but SpaceX could exist.

00:32:15 Pari

Not being ready in.

00:32:18 Pari

They’ve just chosen to go down that route. Here’s a really interesting note though. Dan Golden, I believe he is a former administrator of NASA, posted something this week where he said design is overrated.

00:32:31 Pari

And and I really couldn’t agree with them more. And when I talk about requirements, it’s not necessarily just.

00:32:37 Pari

The requirements of the product.

00:32:39 Pari

But it’s the requirements of what we need to build that’s unique and special that will help us deliver our mission to to the market. So for example at SpaceX, but most companies at Stoke Space as an example that I’ve done this recently, they’ve they’ve picked stainless steel as a as a material for a launch vehicle, which is pretty unique.

00:33:00 Pari

And so, so why have they taken saying it still? Well, there’s two big reasons. Big reason. Number one is manufacturability and big reason #2 is availability. You can you can build out of in canals and canals very expensive it’s it’s hard to procure or you need to procure it at scale and then you it’s really hard to manufacture and it’s really hard to put it to a CNC.

00:33:22 Pari

So we could go down that way and that way makes sense if you’re building 1 rocket. But if your goal is to build 100 rockets a year, then suddenly you realise the system isn’t just the design.

00:33:32 Pari

The system is the entire machine you build that gives you your outcome of 100 rockets a year, and that’s and there are requirements around that, right? Great system design isn’t just the design of the product, but it’s the design of the product, the manufacturing, the supply chain, the entire process around that that makes the company.

00:33:53 Pari

I think the best in the world, unequivocally, is Apple.

00:33:56 Pari

Apple ship billions. I believe they shipped 7 billion something that iPhones they they ship hundreds of millions a year at least iPhones. But it’s not just the fact that the products amazing, it’s the fact that they can ship it with such high confidence and such good QA at such a large scale that make.

00:34:14 Pari

It really special.

00:34:15 Joshua

Yes, yeah. And and how they can go from the presentation on the screen of you know, the latest iPhone to it being available in a.

00:34:25 Joshua

I’m in uh, you know southwest England right now. And it seems like it’s, is it within a week like it and that there hasn’t been sort of?

00:34:33 Joshua

You know, go off into sort of intellectual property leakage, but they they seem to have managed all of that. And yeah, that, that that is very incredible.

00:34:41 Pari

Well, I just drift on that for a second. You have obviously a manufacturing, a massive manufacturing base in China, but now we’re looking at sort of Vietnam, Taiwan.

00:34:51 Pari

Obviously the trips.

00:34:52 Pari

Even India is coming into the picture. When?

00:34:54 Pari

It comes to manufacturing.


But you as.

00:34:56 Pari

A user have no idea if that component was manufactured in Vietnam or China.

00:35:00 Pari

You can have two identify phones.

00:35:02 Pari

That are built exactly the same quality level.

00:35:04 Pari

That have different components manufacture in different places and even though and like the system isn’t just the plot, I think the thing that we gotta realise.

00:35:11 Pari

Is the system is the.

00:35:12 Pari

Entire group of manufacturing people process supply chain that comes together to be able to spit out a result.

00:35:20 Joshua

Yes. And I guess the the people with you know strong interest in sustainability and sort of environmental matters would then be saying and the disposal approach and how can that then both material?

00:35:32 Joshua

Be recycled or harvested again for for the next generation.

00:35:38 Pari

How about at the start of the?

00:35:40 Pari

Projects not at the end of the projects.

00:35:42 Joshua

Yes. Yeah, exactly. And I think nuclear is a super interesting one in the you know, the amount of.

00:35:50 Joshua

Debate and you know about, you know, where we’re going long.

00:35:54 Joshua

Term store. You know these.

00:35:58 Joshua

Spent fuel rods and things and you know, sort of the ultra long term, you know it I believe that that there isn’t an open facility yet for you know storing ultra long term you know nuclear waste but yeah so.

00:36:16 Joshua

One challenge I think startups can have, which is both positive and negative, is customer feedback and use it to iterate on on your product.

00:36:28 Joshua

How do you balance between are being responsive to customer feedback but also not being sort of constantly chasing whatever they’re after at the expense potentially of a, you know, making a bit of a Frankenstein product that doesn’t make it much sense as a cohesive thing?

00:36:46 Pari

It’s it’s next.

00:36:48 Pari

The question I think if you speak to every modern product leader, software or systems engineer, they’ll, they’ll they’ll both whine and winter that question because it’s such a great question. There’s obviously no magic bullet. If I say just be responsive, you’re never gonna build a great product, say, just build a great product. Never gonna be in the game, you. You’ve obviously got to find the art.

00:37:09 Pari

Being able to balance both this.

00:37:10 Pari

What I will say is that a lot of software.

00:37:17 Pari

That systems engineers use.

00:37:20 Joshua

Is awful.

00:37:21 Pari

It’s atrocious. It’s the worst thing ever. When you look at any industry, you look at the design industry and you look at tools like Figma and sketch and abstract. You look at the video game design industry. You look at tools like Unreal Engine and Unity and you look at even the chip design industry and tools like synopsis and Cadence with VHDL.

00:37:41 Pari

You’ve got software engineering.

00:37:42 Pari

Industry tools like GitHub and Circle CI.

00:37:45 Pari

These tools that creatives are using to push the frontier are incredible. They’re almost works of art. They actually help an engineer engineers get excited to use them, and it meaningfully helps the industry move forward. And they look at our industry.

00:37:59 Pari

And the bar.

00:37:59 Pari

Is so low it’s so so, so low.

00:38:03 Pari

I think the answer for why it’s terrible.

00:38:07 Pari

Really comes to to one of the questions.

00:38:09 Pari

You just asked which is.

00:38:13 Pari

We’ve built Frankenstein pieces of software that don’t do any one thing well, but do a lot of things in a very poor quality way, and then it being sort of hodgepodge. It’s more like spaghetti than it is like a cake, if that makes sense. I think our industry.

00:38:29 Pari

Needs to do.

00:38:29 Pari

Better, I think. What?

00:38:30 Pari

We think of as the bar of great software.

00:38:34 Pari

In our industry needs to go up and the higher the bar that we have and we set, the faster our industry collectively is going to be able to design and iterate.

00:38:43 Joshua

Yeah. Yeah, it does.

00:38:45 Joshua

Seem I can’t remember what year it was when Microsoft Office made that transition from the.

00:38:52 Joshua

There was like a file button and an edit button and the drop down it moved over to that ribbon. Yeah, it was a surprisingly long time ago. I think. I think it was like 7 or 10 years ago. And yeah, there are many tools which everybody listening will know about on the stand. The Microsoft design standard of like.

00:39:10 Joshua

Windows XP rather than you know where we are now. And yeah, it’s it’s a little disappointing, yeah.

00:39:17 Joshua

So there’s there’s a lot of.

00:39:18 Joshua

Consolidation right now of of engineering tools and you know sort of push to be under the umbrella of of one of these, these big ones.

00:39:27 Pari

Do you have a?

00:39:28 Joshua

Sort of sense of advice that you’d be giving you.

00:39:30 Joshua

Know people who are.

00:39:31 Joshua

Securing tools as to.

00:39:34 Joshua

How to navigate that landscape?

00:39:41 Pari

I’ve got advice and I’ve got horror.

00:39:42 Pari

Stories let. Let’s start our horror stories. So I spoke to a an aerospace company recently, and this company builds modern electric aircraft. And I spoke to the head of compliance and this guy is an incredible engineer and he’s really good.

00:40:00 Pari

At what he does.

00:40:01 Pari

The veteran in the industry.

00:40:03 Pari

And what became clear in our conversation with them is he’s been so burnt by buying software.

00:40:11 Pari

That he wants to minimise it as much as possible and just pay a stupid amount of money for one tool and not.

00:40:18 Pari

Pick for five years. Ever.

00:40:19 Pari

Again and obviously there are four big players in.

00:40:21 Pari

Our industry and he’s picked one of them and he just wanted everything to be bought by that one, that one company.

00:40:27 Pari

And that way he wouldn’t have the headache of dealing with any of this before. That is very similar to dealing with IBM in the 1980s. You know, you’d go to IBM to give you all your software you’d need, or or you’d go to Lotus or you go to whoever it was.

00:40:47 Pari

I just think we can do better. So so.

00:40:50 Joshua

Swelling in back then you know there was a famous clothing and no one got fired for buying IBM that like you. You went with a big player and so if it didn’t go right.

00:40:58 Joshua

You can tell the boss well.

00:41:00 Joshua

You know, I didn’t do anything crazy or stupid, you know? You know.

00:41:05 Pari

And it’s really hard because our is there a new company that’s coming about doing modern cat on modern here then probably not like and.

00:41:14 Pari

If if they.

00:41:14 Pari

Did build a modern CAD software on shapes. Good example would.

00:41:20 Pari

Real manufacturing aerospace organisations actually convert. Probably not, but but what I will say is for every major Kenner tool, like a cat or an ancestor simulation based software, you have 10 or 20 tools that are being developed in house.

00:41:37 Pari

And the one that we see by far the most often is requirement tools. People will buy old school legacy bits of software not open.

00:41:45 Pari

Them not use.

00:41:46 Pari

Them end up putting it in Excel. End up migrating. That’s JIRA actually using Excel or Google Sheets to collaborate around stuff and I think whenever you see a behaviour like that, that’s an opportunity for us to look at and say hey.

00:41:57 Pari

Can we actually do that on this? And what if we pick something that that was wasn’t high risk, it wouldn’t make or break the organisation but actually could have a meaningful meaningful impact.

00:42:08 Pari

What we do, our personal belief is that over the next 10 years, as the cloud transition really happens in our industry, we’re still early, early days in the cloud, it transition. But as the cloud transition happens in the industry and our engineers are more empowered to be part of that conversation and what tools we buy, we think it’s going to create a best of we approach.

00:42:28 Pari

But it’s the best requirements tool in the world and the best simulation tool in the world. And the best test management tool in the world. And these things are able to natively integrate with one another to give the best possible experience to the end customer. We think the idea of Siemens and that sort of owning the world 11.

00:42:47 Pari

Tool that does.

00:42:48 Pari

Everything that Frankenstein approach won’t won’t take since.

00:42:51 Pari

The twenty 30s.

00:42:53 Joshua

Yes. And another question people may have and you know often concern with using smaller firms is so around cybersecurity, industrial espionage. You know, how important is that for for your your customers and how do you handle that?

00:43:11 Pari

I mean, it’s critical, right? Like.

00:43:12 Pari

These things are real, real.

00:43:16 Pari

Things that happen in our industry.

00:43:18 Pari

We’ve gotta be aware of both.

00:43:20 Pari

Espionage, but also like there are certain regulations, like ITAR, that exist that.

00:43:28 Pari

I think everyone agrees. If it wasn’t a thing would be better, but it is a thing and we.

00:43:31 Pari

Do need to comply to.

00:43:32 Pari

It and the risk of of going to me, that’s really important. So this is something we take super seriously. The Great news is building modern software.

00:43:42 Pari

That is able to meet the.

00:43:43 Pari

Standards has now become fairly trivial. Most modern software companies can do this. The fact that you’re able to open up your phone and take out your banking.

00:43:51 Pari

App and look at.

00:43:51 Pari

Your bank points should tell you everything you need to know about about where all the softwares come to, so it is important that hasn’t changed or has changed. It’s how easy it is to be able to deliver that with a high level of security and decency.

00:44:04 Pari

And we can deliver that to our customers.

00:44:07 Joshua

Right, right.

00:44:11 Joshua

This so you you spoke right at the beginning of of the show around sort of you know where you you you saw saw three big errors for systems that during the analogue world represented by five behind you and the the Blackbird then you had the the digital.

00:44:31 Joshua

World which space shuttle could represent and then you?

00:44:36 Pari

Right as the.

00:44:36 Joshua

Modern world, which itself can now assistance world. Sorry. Where your Falcon 9 being a reusable reusable rocket truly reusable whereas.


It’s just.

00:44:49 Joshua

Yeah, I think.

00:44:51 Joshua

Space Shuttle had aspirations to be reusable, but it’s sort of debatable about how much resetting was needed to be done on it before it could could fly.

00:45:01 Joshua

Again, I mean.

00:45:02 Joshua

Do you see an era beyond the systems world you described, or is there sort of a A version 2 of it like which is sort of pushing?

00:45:11 Joshua

Pushing forward technologies even further.

00:45:15 Pari

For sure and I’ve got very deep opinions written up about what the world will look like.

00:45:20 Pari

In 21 hundreds.

00:45:22 Pari

I call it the computational error, but we are so early at the start of the system.

00:45:28 Pari

That I think just being able to see that systems error win holistically. I mean, I mean, here’s the thing about.

00:45:37 Pari

Modern systems teams that we’re not talking about, it’s that they are so much more productive and they’re able to iterate so much faster and Liverpool it’s at such lower cost that it’s making the incumbents look like dinosaurs that are completely incompetent, I mean.

00:45:55 Pari

I remember in 2016 when the head of the Arianne space programme, which is Europe’s launch vehicle, was building Arian, 5 went planned to build the Arian 6, the RM6 might be reusable, might not be debating whether readability is even possible. You know, 2016, we’re in 20.

00:46:12 Pari

24 now.

00:46:13 Pari

And the question of whether reusability is possible is?

00:46:15 Pari

Out the window. The fact that the the cost per kilogramme has come down all in magnitude and can come down another order magnitude and possibly go even further than that sort of extreme possible. My core statement is these companies will be so much more productive and deliver such better products.

00:46:33 Pari

Quickly that every company in the world will need to be assistance first company or they will die to competition that do systems. And you’ve seen this play out I think first in the automotive industry which was a bit surprising to me I.

00:46:48 Pari

Didn’t expect automotive.

00:46:49 Pari

To to really have this transition happen to it first, but Tesla came out and.

00:46:53 Pari

People naysaying Tesla.

00:46:56 Pari

And then the EV transition happens and now.

00:46:59 Pari

Ford has actually.

00:47:00 Pari

Rebuilt their culture pretty successfully to move over to build.

00:47:04 Pari

A really high.

00:47:05 Pari

Quality EV’s and systems, and to do that.

00:47:09 Pari

In a comparable way to.

00:47:11 Pari

And the companies that haven’t been able to make the transition, the companies that are still doing the locomotion engines and the old ways of being the best ways are are dying out. You know, BYOD is, is this modern Chinese company that has taken the Tesla playbook and done at a much bigger scale than even Tesla has today. So you’re seeing that.

00:47:31 Pari

Position happen in the Automotive World. You are sort of seen today.

00:47:35 Pari

That transition play out in satellites. It sort of happens in launch vehicles that’s happening today. I think you’ll see that same process will play out in the nuclear industry over the next five to seven years. But eventually every single thing in the world will have a systems first mindset. And if they don’t transition, they’ll be beaten and killed by companies that do.

00:47:56 Joshua

Yes, yeah, I I certainly agree with that. And it’s only so that, you know, Darwinian evolution. We have a free market and the competition cars and it’s nice to hear you mentioned 4. You know, I’ve done a lot of work with.

00:48:09 Joshua

Them in Michigan.

00:48:10 Joshua

And in the systems ageing team on electric vehicles and yeah, I think you know it is.

00:48:17 Joshua

And we should never underestimate the challenge.

00:48:19 Joshua

Of you know.

00:48:20 Joshua

Very large company, 100 years old. You we used to say the the basic architecture of a pickup truck hasn’t changed for 100 years. You know, Ford Model T in the engine, the front drive, the rear wheels and in the middle had an obviously you.



00:48:36 Joshua

Know the.

00:48:37 Joshua

Performance and massively increased and capability massively.

00:48:40 Joshua

Increased with the.

00:48:40 Joshua

Basic connection change and you’re doing that transition.

00:48:44 Joshua

And they’re now building a big new factory to make a lot of electric vehicle a lot of electric pickup trucks. That’s.

00:48:50 Pari

I think really fascinating parallel is the transition that happened in the software industry.

00:48:57 Pari

Even the 2000s to today.

00:49:01 Pari

Do you know what a systems engineer the job title of systems engineer in a software company is? There’s an equivalent to a systems engineer software company.

00:49:07 Pari

Any guesses on what it?

00:49:09 Joshua

Well, when I Google search it tends to either be people who build like data centres like connecting things together, and in Japan I tend to find it just means software engineer like that’s just what they mean. But I don’t know what what.

00:49:22 Joshua

What have you?

00:49:23 Pari

Found and my argument would be every.

00:49:25 Pari

Every software company in the world has systems.

00:49:27 Pari

Engineers. But they’re.

00:49:28 Pari

Not called systems engineers in the software world.

00:49:30 Joshua

They call.

00:49:30 Pari

Them product managers.

00:49:33 Pari

And if you.

00:49:33 Pari

Think about it. What the?

00:49:34 Pari

The the work of a systems engineer and the work of the product manager are extremely similar. They they don’t do engineering is the first thing right. They’re actually operating level above that. They typically think about requirements and specifications. They understand cross functional dependencies. They get a vision for what this thing is going to look like and then they work.

00:49:52 Pari

With the design.

00:49:53 Pari

Team or the engineering team to actually build that out.

00:49:55 Pari

So a systems engineer is a product manager, a software company and just 10/15/20.



00:50:00 Pari

Years ago, you said you saw this.

00:50:03 Pari

Evolution of of how we do software engineering. It started with just software engineers and project managers, you know, and we have very long 35 year cycles. The Windows 2000 and Windows XP we have year long service packages being built and it’s really projects manager.

00:50:20 Pari

Engineer, then the next phase we had was we changed the project manager to a product manager and we said you actually care about quality. You’re the person that’s in charge of making sure all these teams come together and the pain is gonna be a natural part of it. And it’s not your job to plan change. It’s your job to manage change when change and never Italy.

00:50:41 Pari

And today’s zero is even different than that, which is the role of the product manager is to communicate to the engineers what the problem we’re solving is and to be an essential part of that. But if engineers don’t have a product minded mindset to start with, the whole system doesn’t work. If you’re a software company as engineers that just.

00:50:59 Pari

Take a ticket.

00:51:00 Pari

And write a ticket the entire.

00:51:01 Pari

Thing falls apart because every engineer needs to be a product manager. I think that same transition is happening in our.

00:51:08 Pari

Industry in the first area, we saw projects management and engineering being a common thing. Then we saw systems engineering become the new project management project managers. But it’s really systems engineering are doing that and today I believe that all engineers are going to be systems engineers and the systems engineers are really going to be the central part of that transformation and they’re going to embed that mindset.

00:51:29 Pari

Into the team and if every engineer is able to take us to.

00:51:32 Pari

The mindset we’re going to build incredible products.

00:51:37 Joshua

And you know, I think yeah, sometimes people say, oh, why do we need to?

00:51:41 Joshua

I think fundamentally sort of increasing the.

00:51:43 Joshua

The capacity of the world to.

00:51:45 Joshua

To build new systems, build new products, you know.

00:51:48 Joshua

Why? Why do that?

00:51:49 Joshua

But when you look at sort of these.

00:51:52 Joshua

These big goals that countries set themselves up for, whether that be, you know, lifespan of the population or or.

00:52:03 Joshua

Producing energy in ways that is, you know, doesn’t involve carbon dioxide or.

00:52:07 Joshua

You know these?

00:52:08 Joshua

These goals that they’ve set, like if you were to break them down into sort of the amount of industrial capacity required or even just reassuring of things.

00:52:15 Joshua

To have less.

00:52:17 Joshua

Fragile supply chains by, but that is vast. The amount that is needed.


Yeah, I I.

00:52:22 Pari

Think so so.

00:52:23 Pari

Maybe the question here is why? Why do we make this change? Why aren’t the?

00:52:27 Pari

Goods at the.

00:52:28 Pari

It was good enough and I think the reason it it was actually someone that’s a friend and a former customer of ours, he is a chief engineer at an electric truck company. His name is Ben. He’s an incredible engineer on the best in the world and he goes well. Everything that we do is systems and cross functional. And he took an example.

00:52:49 Pari

That cruise control so all.

00:52:50 Pari

They all need to have cruise control.

00:52:52 Pari

Does cruise controls fit in electrical systems? Does a bit mechanical? Does it fit in electrical? Does it fit somewhere else? Does it fit in vehicle integration? And the answer is it fits everywhere. Readability is another great example of that. Readability isn’t in one single domain. Every single domain needs to work together.

00:53:09 Pari

To be able to.

00:53:10 Pari

Deliver reusability. So we’ve moved from this.

00:53:12 Pari

Functional world where the best mechanical engineering teams were the best electrical insurance teams win to this cross functional systems world where it’s the best integration of those systems to deliver that help that wins and that’s why it’s such an important transit.

00:53:27 Joshua

Yes. Yeah. So how does either the systems engineer or systems engine manager? How do they avoid a situation where everybody is connected to everything and they they end up essentially spread so thin that there is that no progress is made and you know staying as like we’re we’re paralysed by the analysis of all these interactions.

00:53:50 Joshua

Do you have any advice for?

00:53:52 Joshua

For people having that challenge.

00:53:54 Pari

I think I think you’re now.

00:53:56 Pari

You’re now building the worldview where it’s correct, right? So so we we can’t think of organisations as all charts where you have the CEO and then functions and then engineers. You’ve got to think about it as a network.

00:54:09 Pari

Right as a.

00:54:09 Pari

Graph like a social network, but a network for a system. So once you first take the mindset of hey.

00:54:16 Pari

It’s a network, not a, not a tree.

00:54:19 Pari

Then you realise hey.

00:54:20 Pari

A change over here in the frost Chamber capacity is going to impact 15 things, which then impacts 25 of the things. And the question is do we?

00:54:32 Pari

React to every change and therefore spend so much time changing that we don’t do any work. Do we say screw up? We’re not going to change and then have systems that don’t integrate like where is the right balance between being able to deliver and do work and being able to respond to change. And I think this is where really great.

00:54:49 Pari

Requirements come into it.

00:54:50 Pari

Which is to say, hey, word requirements are specific and clear and that have clear breakdown.

00:54:56 Pari

But have enough.

00:54:56 Pari

Buffering them to give our engineers a scope and a bound.

00:55:00 Pari

So if you.

00:55:01 Pari

Ask a great launch vehicle company and you say what is the thrust coming off of that, that exact thruster or or maybe a better question, what’s the mass? What’s the dry mass of the rocket?

00:55:11 Pari

The correct answer should be. I don’t really know. I know it’s in this bound. I know that bound is good enough, but the exact answer will change from day-to-day to reiterate to iteration. It will change the battery that’s caused the thing. We’ve changed electrical system we’ve made built a like nice computer and everything is changing all the time. We’ve got to give ourselves enough buffer to be able to change and allow.

00:55:32 Pari

People to do work.

00:55:33 Pari

Where we’ve got to be clear enough in the breakdown of the requirements to be able to do that and that’s why a modern requirement needs to exist. A modern requirement needs tool needs.

00:55:42 Pari

To exist to be able.

00:55:44 Pari

To facilitate change when change.

00:55:46 Pari

Must happen, but to give ourselves buffer.

00:55:49 Pari

When when a small change can be accepted and within the limits.

00:55:54 Joshua

Yeah, that makes sense. So you’ve gone on this sort of journey where you know you have a successful firm with with clients.

00:56:03 Joshua

If you were.

00:56:03 Joshua

To look back on.

00:56:04 Joshua

That to to give advice.

00:56:07 Joshua

To to someone else in you know, sort of similar situations, would there be anything that you’d give?

00:56:19 Pari

I I think I’ve had two core learnings in in my role of building flow.

00:56:27 Pari

They both cause deep existential crises in me, and I’ll try and share both of them because I came to this as an.

00:56:35 Pari

Engineer and a.

00:56:37 Pari

Lot of my instincts as an engineer were wrong.

00:56:41 Pari

The first big instinct I had is there is a problem.

00:56:45 Pari

My problem is like an equation. You can go away and you can solve the equation. You can come back with the solution.

00:56:51 Pari

And that solves the issue.

00:56:53 Pari

And the answer that is a resounding no and great technology and great products are never.


They are grown.

00:57:05 Pari

They are evolved. This is an evolutionary process. So when I describe how systems engineering or engineering is done to someone that doesn’t exist in.

00:57:12 Pari

Our industry like.

00:57:14 Pari

What the hell? This doesn’t make any.

00:57:15 Pari

Sense it’s much better.

00:57:16 Pari

But I think we’ve got to take this as.

00:57:18 Pari

A. This is how we do things today.

00:57:20 Pari

This is the direction we can move.

00:57:21 Pari

In and we’re.

00:57:22 Pari

Going to take ships of.

00:57:23 Pari

The block and we’re going to iteratively take something that you know today and evolve over time to then get to a better way of doing stuff. And we’re seeing this transition happens and we’re seeing it happen overall engineering where we’re taking this more old school approach and every single day we’re getting better and better and.

00:57:41 Pari

So I guess the.

00:57:41 Pari

First big learning is.

00:57:45 Pari

Things aren’t solved that grow. They’re evolved and and that that, that one lesson took me 4 or five years to learn the second lesson that took me 4.

00:57:55 Pari

Or five years to learn is.

00:57:57 Pari

People can’t think of new things.

00:58:00 Pari

And and let me try and describe describe what I mean by that. If I pull this out and I say, what is, what’s this? What?

00:58:07 Pari

Would you call that?

00:58:09 Joshua

The iPhone I don’t can’t tell the number, but it’s like.

00:58:13 Pari

The Pro one nice.

00:58:14 Pari

Goodbye. I put a phone, right? It’s not a phone. It’s a computer with a touch screen. And it’s got one app on there and it happened to make phone calls about 1% of my utility of this device. It’s making phone calls. Why do I call it a phone?


Well, I used to.

00:58:29 Pari

Buy a phone and it fitted in my pocket and there are places with this thing that also makes phone calls. The first cards weren’t called cards.

00:58:37 Pari

They were called horseless carriages.

00:58:39 Pari

And their carriers were two big prongs sticking out the front. There’s problem there to typically wire a horse to it, but then even though we got rid of.

00:58:45 Pari

The horse we had these two prongs sticking out.

00:58:49 Pari

When we started flow, we tried to solve systems engineering, so we’re going to invent a new way of doing systems engineering and a new way to design stuff. We took it to market and companies that were selling super cars.

00:59:00 Pari

Were blown away like this is incredible.

00:59:02 Pari

And they never used.

00:59:03 Pari

It, and they never used it because.

00:59:06 Pari

It was too much of A change.

00:59:08 Pari

From what they were used.

00:59:09 Pari

To today so.


So the reason we’ve.

00:59:11 Pari

Built a requirement tool isn’t because we’re in love with requirements. It’s not because IBM doors is terrible. It’s because.

00:59:17 Pari

It’s the right first.

00:59:18 Pari

Step we wanna massively change systems engineering in the next 10.

00:59:23 Pari

Years and we.

00:59:24 Pari

Think the biggest pain and the best possible place to start.

00:59:27 Pari

Is to make the.

00:59:28 Pari

Requirements process collaborative and to make the systems engineering process the engineering process and to make every engineering system engineer. And if we can do that, then we’ll be able to do more and more and more to eventually accelerate all of its engineering holistically.

00:59:43 Joshua

Well, that’s that’s.

00:59:44 Joshua

Really good. So you review requirements is sort of.

00:59:46 Joshua

The the beach head.

00:59:47 Joshua

For for taking over an island with a fundamentally better way of doing engineering.

00:59:54 Pari

Yeah. Yeah. We think fast, iterative, collaborative.

00:59:57 Pari

That’s our mission.

00:59:59 Pari

Making engineering fast, iterative, collaborative and the first thing we’re going to make fast, iterative and collaborative our requirements.

01:00:08 Joshua

So I guess.

01:00:09 Joshua

We should probably.

01:00:09 Joshua

Touch on AI because that’s.

01:00:11 Joshua

Perhaps the hot topics?

01:00:12 Joshua

That people screaming at the screen for your thoughts on, I mean you have any and how they might fit into to flows product plan.

01:00:23 Pari

Yeah. So AI is something we are.

01:00:26 Pari

Very excited by.

01:00:29 Pari

I think there’s a lot of.

01:00:30 Pari

Fear mongering right now, especially in Europe. We’re really bad at this.

01:00:33 Pari

In Europe, uh, we wanna.

01:00:35 Pari

Regulate and we wanna tax before we even have something, but but it’s really clear to me on on what’s going to happen and and our flow at least is gonna play a part in what’s.

01:00:44 Pari

Happening I think.

01:00:46 Pari

The way to think about AI isn’t.

01:00:47 Pari

The Super intelligent being.

01:00:49 Pari

That’s gonna come for your job and and make you.

01:00:52 Pari

Unemployed, I think the.

01:00:54 Pari

Way I think about AI.

01:00:55 Pari

Is it’s a really, really fast intern.

01:01:00 Pari

You know, so the question is, if I came to you today and I gave you 20 interns.

01:01:07 Pari

And they could.

01:01:08 Pari

Do anything you wanted them to do.

01:01:09 Pari

You have to be really, really.

01:01:11 Joshua

Really, really clear on.

01:01:12 Pari

That thing, what would you get them?

01:01:14 Pari

To do and.

01:01:15 Pari

If the answer is.

01:01:17 Pari

I’m doing this complicated stuff where I sit in the meeting room and it’s all about these complex trade-offs. There isn’t.

01:01:22 Pari

That much work for.

01:01:23 Pari

For an intern, but.

01:01:24 Pari

I think what you’ll find is a lot of.

01:01:25 Pari

Systems engineers day-to-day.

01:01:27 Pari

And let’s do a bunch of boring.

01:01:31 Pari

Highly automatable, highly execution oriented work and 1% of of magic work and we already see the world. AI is how do we eliminate the mundane and how do we give engineers superpowers to be?

01:01:44 Pari

Able to do.

01:01:44 Pari

More to be able to do it faster is.

01:01:46 Pari

It gonna fundamentally change what sort of engineering is. No, I think you should.

01:01:51 Pari

One from anyone that tells you that the the essence of systems engineering.

01:01:55 Pari

And changed I.

01:01:56 Pari

Do you want?

01:01:56 Pari

To see it as a really exciting opportunity to give system engineers more time in their day and to help that workflow be a bit more streamlined. Absolutely. So we aren’t going to fundamentally.

01:02:08 Pari

Build an AI requirements tool. We think people doing that are terrible and you’re away from them. We’re going to build the best requirements in the world.

01:02:16 Pari

And it just so happens to have some features with AI that help you move faster, and I think we’ve already got some features in beta that our customers are absolutely in love with. While we’re starting to do that.

01:02:26 Joshua

Yeah. Well, it’s great to hear. Great to hear. And yeah, I think that sort.

01:02:30 Joshua

The AI increasing the capacity, you know, giving every engineer an extra 20 interns of things like.

01:02:36 Joshua

It’s something needed and if we want to build very large scale systems, you know, like if someone wants to build a a Starship that could hold a lot of people and you know, do some sort of mass colonisation or these very long voyages, you know, we we won’t ever have enough human engineers to to do all this work. And so it it to me, it’s a.

01:02:56 Joshua

The strong necessity for.

01:02:57 Pari

This. Yeah. I mean, it’s great the creative.

01:03:00 Pari

Work is always going.

01:03:01 Pari

To be the bit that we don’t want to auto.

01:03:04 Pari

Which is, ironically, the essence of the Convention. The essence of system engineering is to get all of these different factors and all these different needs and all these different constructs and and glue them together in a way that no one else can.

01:03:16 Pari

And that’s what makes convention it special.

01:03:19 Pari

In that can we help automate some of the boring work? Absolutely of creative work? Absolutely not all on engineers to be doing more creative work, not less creative work.

01:03:28 Joshua

Greater here. So we’re coming up to time. Parry, is there anything else you’d like to say or, you know, talk to the audience about?

01:03:39 Pari

Yeah, it it’s really around this transition to this more.

01:03:45 Pari

Faster iterative collaborative systems engineering way.

01:03:51 Pari

I think some people in the audience will hate everything I’ve said and despise me and despise everything I stand for and some people in the audience will love it and sort of be the natural evangelists. What I’ll.

01:04:03 Pari

Say to to.

01:04:04 Pari

Both of them is there is a transition and a change that is coming.

01:04:08 Pari

And that change is really, really important for our industry and we should be open to change and and adopt change where we can it. I don’t think Lockheed Martin is gonna turn around tomorrow, call us up, you know.

01:04:23 Pari

Fire every engineer that will refuses to work with the.

01:04:25 Pari

Systems, mindset and.

01:04:26 Pari

Hire 100,000 more. It’s it’s just not feasible. It’s not realistic, but I think you can find special groups of people inside of those communities that realise and need to go faster and we need to be educating and training and evangelising this new way of doing stuff.

01:04:43 Pari

So when these traditional companies are ready to make transit.

01:04:47 Pari

They can have the best possible shot.

01:04:49 Pari

At being able.

01:04:50 Pari

To do that, So what I’ll say is reach out to to me, reach out to flow engineering. I am on boards like Parry Sing. You can find flow engineering online if you want to have a conversation and and learn and understand. We’re all part of the same community. Let’s.

01:05:06 Pari

Work together to do it.

01:05:08 Joshua

Right. And so that’s that’s flow, I think your website.

01:05:12 Pari you can find us there. You can find us on LinkedIn. You can find us in other places too.

01:05:17 Joshua

Great. So I’ll I’ll put in the comments below. Pari, LinkedIn and his website. And so, yeah, I think everyone should go on and take a look and find out more. So yeah, great to speak to you today, Paul, and yeah, hope to speak to you soon.

01:05:31 Pari

Speak to you soon. Take care. Bye.

01:05:34 Joshua

Hope you enjoyed that episode, Pari told me just in the between the time we recorded the episode and now, which is.

01:05:43 Joshua

January 2024 that at the end of the month at end of January 2024, they’re going to release an AI tool that they’re experimenting with that’s able to generate requirements. So be sure to check that out on their website. And remember to sign up to the newsletter.

01:06:03 Joshua

On, if you updated with the latest episodes and and other interesting things, and there’s there’s normally a free gift there so.

01:06:16 Joshua See you next time.

#011 – Ivan Mactaggart – INCOSE UK Past President

Ivan Mactaggart was INCOSE UK President 2016 – 2018



– INCOSE UK (to be renamed IfSE):

– Ivan’s LinkedIn:


00:00 – Introduction

01:59 – Experience and perspectives as INCOSE UK president.

04:36 – Priorities during his presidency

09:18 – INCOSE UK’s journey to be a Professional Engineering Institution and rename to the Institute for Systems Engineering (IfSE)

18:17 – Relationships and friendships formed in INCOSE

22:31 – Member to becoming the president of INCOSE UK

38:38 – Role of INCOSE UK in influencing engineering policy

50:10 – Ivan’s current work in rail

53:12 – Closing thoughts


– LinkedIn:


00:00:00 Joshua Sutherland

And welcome to the Systems Engineering podcast. Today’s guest is Ivan Mctaggart.

00:00:06 Joshua Sutherland

Ivan is an innovative leader specialising in establishing cutting edge engineering capabilities from the ground up. He’s currently the head of engineering systems and digital for the East West Railway Company, which is building a new railway line running from the east to the West across southern England.

00:00:26 Joshua Sutherland

And we’ll be connecting.

00:00:28 Joshua Sutherland

Cambridge and Oxford together and I will.

00:00:30 Joshua Sutherland

Speak a little.

00:00:30 Joshua Sutherland

Bit about this in the episode, Ivan has had many senior engineering roles globally, including with MBDA and the missile company, and DSTL, which is a British.

00:00:45 Joshua Sutherland

Defence research organisation.

00:00:48 Joshua Sutherland

In today’s conversation, however, we’ll mainly be focusing on his roles he’s had with Inkosi UK, including being president in 2016 to 2018. And I think this is a good episode for understanding what it’s like to get involved with in Cody.

00:01:06 Joshua Sutherland


00:01:09 Joshua Sutherland

Just before the episode starts, reminded that if you haven’t signed up to the newsletter, you should do just go to and it’ll keep you up to date with the latest episodes and other things that you’ll find interesting. And there’s a free gift when you sign up, so you should do it.

00:01:29 Joshua Sutherland

And just so the free gift. So hope you enjoy the episode.

00:01:32 Joshua Sutherland

Great. So today’s guest is is Ivan. Ivan was the INCOSE UK president, 2014 to two. Oh, sorry, 2016 to 2018 and and also has a a long career in systems engineering, a range of different organisations in the UK.

00:01:53 Joshua Sutherland

Hi so welcome, Ivan.

00:01:55 Ivan Mactaggart

Good afternoon. Sorry, pleased to meet.

00:01:56 Ivan Mactaggart

You, doctor.



00:01:59 Joshua Sutherland

Would you be able to explain what it’s?

00:02:00 Joshua Sutherland

Like to be an INCOSE UK president and what? What you what it involved over you.

00:02:06 Ivan Mactaggart

Tenure. Well, I think, yeah, I I can explain from from my perspective, my point of view, I think the your tenure as President it’s it’s almost unique to you and and you have ideas that you want to try and execute during.

00:02:21 Ivan Mactaggart

That, that, that.

00:02:22 Ivan Mactaggart

Your tenure and each President has a different flavour of what they want to bring that was.

00:02:28 Ivan Mactaggart

Clear to me when.

00:02:29 Ivan Mactaggart

When I was present at the elect.

00:02:31 Ivan Mactaggart

And I’ve been very fortunate enough to have been exposed to council before being president-elect, because I been for you know, I’ve been honoured to be being elected by the ENCODE the UK Advisory Board as its chair for for two years prior to that. So I had an inkling of the ways of working and got an insight to a number of presidents and how they they were working, Mike.

00:02:52 Ivan Mactaggart

And Wilkinson, Alan Harding. And I think Richard, who was, you know, my immediate predecessor.

00:02:59 Ivan Mactaggart

And you know you you get so that that the two years as president electrical like gives you an opportunity to start thinking about. OK, I’ve got two years now. What do I really.

00:03:07 Ivan Mactaggart

Want to do?

00:03:07 Ivan Mactaggart

What I what? Where do I? What can I do to try and move us forward as a as a learned society?

00:03:13 Ivan Mactaggart

As that institution.

00:03:14 Ivan Mactaggart

So I can kind of probably go around what?

00:03:16 Ivan Mactaggart

My thinking was and.

00:03:18 Ivan Mactaggart

What I I.

00:03:20 Ivan Mactaggart

Wanted to try and do and and and leave thought that those those that have succeeded me since.

00:03:28 Ivan Mactaggart

Some of which is, you know, I mean we’re we’re seeing it going to some exciting new.

00:03:32 Ivan Mactaggart

Things now that that.

00:03:34 Ivan Mactaggart

You know, we’re kind of hopes of mine.

00:03:36 Ivan Mactaggart

But you, you.

00:03:37 Ivan Mactaggart

See the likes of Kirsty Wallace and and Ian Gibson and now Malcolm Thomas and you know, go forward. Andrew Pemberton. What they are going to see happen in their.

00:03:48 Ivan Mactaggart

What had happened in your errands?

00:03:49 Ivan Mactaggart

And and Malcolm’s presidency and and. And what was then happened again, Andrew?

00:03:54 Ivan Mactaggart

It’s you. You can see how we really are moving forward as a learned society and it’s.

00:04:01 Ivan Mactaggart

For me, very.

00:04:02 Ivan Mactaggart

Honouring and very humbling actually to look back and and and have been one of those that’s been fortunate enough to be asked to, you know, help move the organisation forward.

00:04:13 Ivan Mactaggart

And of course you don’t do it alone. You know you’ve got a there’s.

00:04:16 Ivan Mactaggart

An incredibly gifted set of people that fits on the Council, you know.

00:04:20 Ivan Mactaggart

And and I was very, very fortunate with those that that supported me in that time. Yeah, it’s it’s it’s not a not a it it it sometimes feels a lonely.

00:04:29 Ivan Mactaggart

Place but it but.

00:04:30 Ivan Mactaggart

Actually it’s you.

00:04:31 Ivan Mactaggart

You’ve got a lot of support there.

00:04:33 Joshua Sutherland

That that’s great to.

00:04:34 Joshua Sutherland

Hear. And what did you sort of view?

00:04:36 Joshua Sutherland

As your priorities to to get done when you were President.

00:04:41 Ivan Mactaggart

Well, my my view was that we were on the, you know.

00:04:44 Ivan Mactaggart

We we wanted.

00:04:45 Ivan Mactaggart

To sorry, let me go back a bit. Maybe that includes he had been driving for some time and real desire to.

00:04:54 Ivan Mactaggart

Really ramp up its membership and.

00:04:58 Ivan Mactaggart

That that needs certain foundations to to, to be in place.

00:05:03 Ivan Mactaggart

I think we were seeing a good trajectory for encode the UK. I think during Richard’s time, which Beasley we got over the 1000 member mark the first time and we may have even been the first chapter to get over that thousand after looking.

00:05:21 Ivan Mactaggart

But for me it it was well, OK, look, if you really want to kind of do that kind of thing and it it is, it is about maybe joining your membership.

00:05:30 Ivan Mactaggart

Or or whatever.

00:05:32 Ivan Mactaggart

You need to change the way that you might be thinking because it’s not an insignificant task and so for me that meant right, we really need to understand what our business is.

00:05:45 Ivan Mactaggart

And that might sound obvious as a learning society, it’s obviously a progression of discipline and the support people in it, but it’s not actually that obvious when you start to unpick it.

00:05:56 Ivan Mactaggart

We were, we were very stable organisation. We had a very stable financial platform, you know, huge, huge thanks there to Peter Lister, who who was still first director. You know, when I became president and had been finance director for about 15 years by the by the time he eventually decided.

00:06:15 Ivan Mactaggart

Something else has to do this.

00:06:17 Ivan Mactaggart

You know, he he left us a shoe very, very stable platform. We weren’t really not worried too much about.

00:06:24 Ivan Mactaggart

I’m on the penny financial health.

00:06:27 Ivan Mactaggart

But where did? Where did we invest? You know, where are the best places to invest? What do we really know about what we would do and where were we where we were?

00:06:34 Ivan Mactaggart

Committing those funds to me wasn’t particularly clear.

00:06:39 Ivan Mactaggart

And having come from a bit of.

00:06:40 Ivan Mactaggart

A in the past, having done a bit of.

00:06:43 Ivan Mactaggart

Business. Turn around.

00:06:44 Ivan Mactaggart

And in in in the retail motor industry and.

00:06:47 Ivan Mactaggart

In the sort.

00:06:48 Ivan Mactaggart

Of retail construction industry with a couple of very well known brands.

00:06:54 Ivan Mactaggart

One of the things I was very clear on there is you had to understand pretty much where all your money came from and where it all went.

00:07:02 Ivan Mactaggart

And that gives you an opportunity to then look and go, right, OK, where are the opportunities for us to look at maybe doing things differently? What what can we bring in in terms of things that systems engineers will will value and want to invest their money or their if they’ve gotta pay their own membership or their company’s money, if the company supports that membership?

00:07:22 Ivan Mactaggart

There’s gotta be something for them in it otherwise.

00:07:25 Ivan Mactaggart

Why do it?

00:07:26 Ivan Mactaggart

The other thing was to try and sort of create opportunities for people to volunteer to do.

00:07:32 Ivan Mactaggart

Things that, that, that.

00:07:33 Ivan Mactaggart

You heard about enough to want to go and spend their spare time doing.

00:07:38 Ivan Mactaggart

Or or indeed.

00:07:40 Ivan Mactaggart

And convince their employers that it would be very, very much being employers benefit to to get engaged with. So you know that that was kind of my underpinning saying I wanted to be in a position where I I handed over a platform, you know, I mean I work in infrastructure and.

00:07:54 Ivan Mactaggart

At the moment, so if you take one infrastructure, I wanted a really solid set of foundations.

00:07:59 Ivan Mactaggart

That we could then.

00:08:00 Ivan Mactaggart

Leap forward on.

00:08:03 Ivan Mactaggart

The the key thing in doing that to me though was is there was one thing above all that we would have to achieve at some point.

00:08:10 Ivan Mactaggart

That we had to do, but we had to add the business since first because it was part.

00:08:14 Ivan Mactaggart

Of the journey.

00:08:14 Ivan Mactaggart

And that and that was we had to become a professional engineering institution in our own rights to be licenced in our own right rather than being affiliate. That was really clear to me. And it was clear to me, you know, we did some great work and I think Mike Wilkinson led this.

00:08:30 Ivan Mactaggart

In his time of of becoming an affiliate and offering members the opportunity to to become chartered and.

00:08:36 Ivan Mactaggart

That that, that was a significant event and and there was always the desire.

00:08:42 Ivan Mactaggart

In Mikes Council and and in Allana’s and just, you know, those between Mike and myself, she wants to eventually make that step and become a fully licenced member of the Engineering Council and a PIR, right?

00:08:58 Ivan Mactaggart

But you you have to achieve some certain things in order for the Engineering Council to to get through their their their, you know their their quite.

00:09:11 Ivan Mactaggart

And rightly rigorous procedure, and one of those is actually having a phone business.

00:09:15 Joshua Sutherland

Yeah, I’m not right be vigorous.

00:09:18 Joshua Sutherland

It’s important in the sense you.

00:09:20 Joshua Sutherland

Don’t want people just setting up institutions that have an approval on their they’re not.


Yeah, no.

00:09:27 Ivan Mactaggart

Yeah, yeah, yeah. What are three criteria is, you know, having for business on standing firm, on stand your risk from financial footing. You have to prove all those things. And I’ve been lucky enough that I’d.

00:09:28 Joshua Sutherland

They’re not worth you.

00:09:42 Ivan Mactaggart

I helped to steer through and I say helped. You know he and Preston was the professional development director at the time. Unfortunately couldn’t attend our reaccreditation as affiliate one year and I had.

00:09:55 Ivan Mactaggart

The incredible support of.

00:09:56 Ivan Mactaggart

Of Lynn Davis and the you know, professional development manager at DOT, the I and and those folk.

00:10:02 Ivan Mactaggart

To to help me, but we we, we, together, steered through the reaccreditation and during.

00:10:08 Ivan Mactaggart

That that reaccreditation the Engineering Council sends one of their people, they send a a chair of a licencing panel there, and after backing out, was invited to.

00:10:20 Ivan Mactaggart

Apply to join the Engineering Council as a quality Assurance Committee member, which actually did and then served for six years. In fact, I only stood down earlier this year as April of this year that I finally stood down from that, but it taught me.

00:10:34 Ivan Mactaggart

All the things I needed to know, all we needed to know in in cosy to be able to make that leap. So you know, I was chairing licencing panels of some of the big institutions. I won’t name them because of confidentiality. But you know, I was chairing, you know the the I was the panel chair for one of our major institutions and a couple of the smaller ones.

00:10:55 Ivan Mactaggart

As well. So it gave me a really good insight.

00:10:57 Ivan Mactaggart

To what we had to do.

00:10:59 Ivan Mactaggart

That because I was leading the the challenge, if you like, to the institution trying to get through and then coupled with the work that Kirsty, Rachel Wallace then did, who succeeded me as President and who did all the hard yards from the cosy point in getting us through. She was president by lesson. We actually put the licencing through. So for me it was about getting the foundations.

00:11:20 Ivan Mactaggart

Right. And allowing that step to happen, if that’s what the Members wanted to do and the Council wanted to do.

00:11:29 Ivan Mactaggart

You know, and that and that then Kirsty led and did pretty much all we were actually did pretty.

00:11:35 Ivan Mactaggart

Much did a.

00:11:35 Ivan Mactaggart

Lot of the legwork in writing all of our processes. You know, I helped to review that and then working with the the Institute explosives, the Expo to to have a joint model that.

00:11:49 Ivan Mactaggart

The the reason for going to joint model is when you’re smaller institution, it’s difficult to prove to the Engineering Council you’ve got a bandwidth from the volunteer pool to support all the things you need to do. So the engineering Council put a proposition to us that we might want to think about a joint board and and we duly did that. We sat down, we thought about it. We thought it was.

00:12:10 Ivan Mactaggart

The idea and and and ultimately it was and it’s led to, you know, Kirsty Bannister. That’s where I was with Kirsty when we attended the Engineering Council for that, that that review and and I have the assessment of our application and.

00:12:24 Ivan Mactaggart

It it was quite, it was quite rigorous. It needs to be I what I was like as a chair. So, but, you know subsequently.

00:12:33 Ivan Mactaggart

You know Kirsty was able to announce at the conference that.

00:12:36 Ivan Mactaggart

Year that we.

00:12:37 Ivan Mactaggart

Were now at last Pi and then Ian took that further forward. So you know for me it was.

00:12:46 Ivan Mactaggart

Can I get us to somewhere where we can start to build these things up? And the reason it’s important, Josh, the reason it is really important to be Pi, it’s not just about.

00:12:59 Ivan Mactaggart

Professional registration to members, which is incredibly important and as a real driver for people wanting to be a member, you know, engineers want that recognition they want to, they want to achieve that gold standard, which is, you know, the registration process, whether it’s incorporated, chartered or, you know, engineering technician for that matter. Engineers want to do that. It’s it’s, you know.

00:13:19 Ivan Mactaggart

Accolade given by your peers, but what it does for the institution as well is it gives it a voice that you don’t get unless you are one of the last school licensees.

00:13:31 Ivan Mactaggart

And what we what we’ve been able to be since is you know we we now have a voice in the national Engineering Policy Centre that is coordinated by the Royal Academy for Engineering and that brings all of the PI’s together to give a collective voice for engineering. So we we we’re.

00:13:46 Ivan Mactaggart

Now on that table.

00:13:49 Ivan Mactaggart

And so you, you and and you know the next step of that is then right to look how do we then take our small institution and make it this this thing that.

00:14:00 Ivan Mactaggart

But really is, you know, we all see ourselves as that, that full frontal systems enter in the UK. But the reality of it is, is there are still far more systems engineers sitting in the IT or other institutions than are in Code UK will seems to actually move. And I think the next step.

00:14:16 Ivan Mactaggart

But you know Ian Gibson picked off and he’s still leading under under Malcolm stewardship now and we’ve seen the vote go to the to the Institute for Systems Engineers will come up.

00:14:26 Ivan Mactaggart

And again you.

00:14:26 Ivan Mactaggart

Know it’s not about cutting my ties and cosy far from it. It we we can still cement.

00:14:31 Ivan Mactaggart

That we’re still part of that global network.

00:14:34 Ivan Mactaggart

But what that does is it enables us to to generate even more benefit for a UK member. We can start looking at fellowships, which is slightly different to the way in Cody does it in the UK. You can apply a royal charter. You you the potential is to see chartered systems engineers.

00:14:52 Ivan Mactaggart

Going forward. So for me it and it wasn’t necessarily about achieving that RC or you know, I didn’t particularly think about too many oceans, but it was for me about.

00:15:03 Ivan Mactaggart

Putting that set of that sperm concrete foundations in there, that meant we could start to really achieve some significant things and get get the the institution recognised in the UK as an institution. That’s that’s perhaps not equal in numbers, but it’s equal in terms of.

00:15:24 Ivan Mactaggart

Status and standing.

00:15:26 Ivan Mactaggart

For systems engineers with the UK focus, but without.

00:15:29 Ivan Mactaggart

Breaking it up, international.

00:15:33 Ivan Mactaggart

That, that, that international link and you know again with Ian, Ian Gibson was instrumental in leading this, you know, during my time it’s renegotiating the MU that we did, we we had re encoded at that time which gave us a better return on the membership fee.

00:15:47 Ivan Mactaggart

You know, so it was that that was all about for me. It was, it really was about foundations, which I probably witted done.

00:15:53 Ivan Mactaggart

Long enough about now.

00:15:55 Joshua Sutherland

That’s really fascinating because often these sort of foundational pieces, you know, but literally the foundations of a building, we don’t see them, but of course are, you know, super important or the building collapses and.

00:16:05 Ivan Mactaggart

So I’m probably gonna miss actually, cause I should bring out another couple of things that I thought were absolutely fantastic that they have nothing to do with me. They were my ideas, if anything, probably I create a condition where they could come, if at all. But what’s also happening. So I was incredibly proud that he chose to do this during what I was John Holt coming up with the.

00:16:06 Joshua Sutherland

Seeing something?

00:16:28 Ivan Mactaggart

The guys that the there is a guy.

00:16:30 Ivan Mactaggart

Books that he has done and.

00:16:32 Ivan Mactaggart

That that series of.

00:16:34 Ivan Mactaggart

Books. Now he’s got bigger, more publications. You know, he started off with think engineering richest time and then had this idea of those like mini systems engineer.

00:16:44 Joshua Sutherland

Ohh the panic. Don’t panic but.

00:16:46 Ivan Mactaggart

Where they don’t panics and to have that launched during that time was, you know, it was an incredibly good feeling because it.

00:16:54 Ivan Mactaggart

You know, we, we we were at the significance of that was we were starting. We’ve really got a handle publishing and being able to publish our own stuff and how that worked and we could do that because we understood the money. We bluntly we understood the money, understood it better and and again thanks to Peter List his work.

00:17:14 Ivan Mactaggart

That we are able to do that so you know an incredibly great time to be involved, a fantastic time to be to be president. There were some hard arts, there were some really hard yards, you know, we had there were some.

00:17:29 Ivan Mactaggart

You know very.

00:17:30 Ivan Mactaggart

Very late nights around some of that, you know, I think some of the latest nights were probably post presidency when, you know, I was trying to help Kirsty with getting the process sets together to to apply for the Pi. But but you know.

00:17:44 Ivan Mactaggart

Yeah, I mean it.

00:17:46 Ivan Mactaggart

It was a fantastic time. I’m I’m.

00:17:49 Ivan Mactaggart

Very, very honoured to have been.

00:17:51 Ivan Mactaggart

President of encourage UK and I was very honoured to have been President in a particular time slot. I I was in.

00:18:00 Joshua Sutherland

That’s that’s really great to hear.

00:18:02 Joshua Sutherland

I think.

00:18:03 Joshua Sutherland

What what it sounds like there’s been a lot of, as you say, sort of foundational work that is aiming to get in cosy UK. Or should we be calling the Institute for Systems Engineering? Yeah. OK.

00:18:13 Ivan Mactaggart

We will be not quite there.

00:18:15 Ivan Mactaggart

But will be.


And you know.

00:18:17 Ivan Mactaggart

Looking forward to that being announced.

00:18:19 Joshua Sutherland

Yeah, I’ve got the the flyer, so.

00:18:22 Ivan Mactaggart

Yeah, I mean it’s.

00:18:23 Joshua Sutherland

It’s on this one.

00:18:24 Ivan Mactaggart

You know, I think it’s great news and and you know the work that that Ian Gibson and others, you know Don, you know to get us there. And Malcolm Thomas and you know Andrew.

00:18:34 Ivan Mactaggart

Will take you forward.

00:18:35 Ivan Mactaggart

And what we would say as well is that these guys are all great friends of mine. You know, they, they, you know, Richard Beasley, were a top bloke and a great friend, you know, was a guest at my wedding, a number of systems engineers that gets at my on my wedding 7-8 years ago. Eight years ago now nearly. You know Malcolm I see quite regularly we we’re working on the same project.

00:18:56 Ivan Mactaggart

At the moment.

00:18:58 Ivan Mactaggart

And you know Ian, Ian and I have our paths have crossed quite a lot since. And Andrew and I used to work together a WWE many years ago. So it’s a quite nice family and and it’s it’s, it’s fabulous, you know.

00:19:08 Ivan Mactaggart

Alan Harding and I.

00:19:09 Ivan Mactaggart

You used to touch one very, very regularly. And Mike Wilkinson life passed, crossed in professional life from time to time as well. So you, you.

00:19:19 Ivan Mactaggart

And and and that’s just the, that’s just the immediate past presence. It’s, you know, if I look at the, you know, John Holt has been a like it’s been a friend of mine for well over 10 years now. You know, along with Simon and John was the 1st.

00:19:32 Ivan Mactaggart

Person I really got to know when I joined in COSI and and in cosy. OK and I consider him to be a a very dear and good friend and and along with others. Hazel, Hazel, Alcock, who’s comms director, in fact Hazel and I was Hazel. Had an.

00:19:49 Ivan Mactaggart

Idea to take a.

00:19:50 Ivan Mactaggart

A panel session to IS and Dublin.

00:19:53 Ivan Mactaggart

Next year and has invited me to to be part of that.

00:19:56 Ivan Mactaggart

Panel so yeah.

00:19:57 Ivan Mactaggart

You know, it’s it. It’s it’s a fantastic.

00:20:00 Ivan Mactaggart

Thing to be and and you make.

00:20:02 Ivan Mactaggart

Huge amounts of friends around that table.

00:20:06 Joshua Sutherland

Yeah. Yeah. No, that that’s great to hear. So I think any person who was wanting to get involved with in kosu, OK, they would find it to be a a friendly and welcoming place.

00:20:16 Ivan Mactaggart

It it is it.

00:20:17 Ivan Mactaggart

Is it has been for me. I’ve I’ve found it, you know, to be a fantastic, fantastic organisation. It’s not where it’s challenges. Organisations have challenges, you know, let’s.

00:20:26 Ivan Mactaggart

Not. Let’s not everything is rosy. Every single day. There’s some tough things to do.

00:20:32 Ivan Mactaggart

You know, you know.

00:20:32 Ivan Mactaggart

When you are.

00:20:34 Ivan Mactaggart

And it will become more so with the IFC, to be honest, because the the the rules change the.

00:20:39 Ivan Mactaggart

Way that you.

00:20:40 Ivan Mactaggart

We’re we’re registered in the United Kingdom as a business changes. But you know, you you one of.

00:20:44 Ivan Mactaggart

The things you have to.

00:20:45 Ivan Mactaggart

Realise when you are President is you have a legal obligation for a duty and cancel the business. There is a legal accountability.

00:20:54 Ivan Mactaggart

You know you are a director.

00:20:55 Ivan Mactaggart

Registered at Companies House along with the president-elect.

00:20:58 Ivan Mactaggart

The immediate past president, the.

00:21:00 Ivan Mactaggart

Finance director and and and and and.

00:21:02 Ivan Mactaggart

The company secretary. So you.

00:21:04 Ivan Mactaggart

Know it is. It was.

00:21:06 Ivan Mactaggart

It was never lost on me that there was there was a degree of responsibility.

00:21:09 Ivan Mactaggart

That came with that.

00:21:11 Ivan Mactaggart

Not, not just about having a file and pushing systems engineering, you know? So part of the drive for the foundation as well as you know recognising as you yeah, quite frankly.

00:21:20 Joshua Sutherland

Yes, yes, yes, exists. And you’re also, so you’re you’re building on something that has been handed to you from another generation of a person. And we have a responsibility to care for that.

00:21:31 Ivan Mactaggart

Yeah, I mean, you know, tracing all the way back to Derek Hitchens, you know the very

00:21:34 Ivan Mactaggart

Very President, you know he, he.

00:21:36 Ivan Mactaggart

He, you know, Bill Barlow and and and those guys that, that that came together to found it back then you know had that horse right so.

00:21:43 Ivan Mactaggart

Look, there’s something.

00:21:43 Ivan Mactaggart

Here that that we believe that.

00:21:46 Ivan Mactaggart

There’s a UK there’s there’s a compelling reason to try and create a.

00:21:50 Ivan Mactaggart

UK chapter here.

00:21:53 Ivan Mactaggart

And and and look at and you look at how it’s grown and adapted from like.

00:21:56 Ivan Mactaggart

From those beginnings.

00:21:58 Ivan Mactaggart

You know, yeah, there is a there’s a strong legacy and you know, I looked down that list of Presidents and.

00:22:04 Ivan Mactaggart

And and you know, I I I I feel that I’m in in hallowed company quite frankly. And sometimes wonder how the hell did I manage to get be in that company but it but you but I was and and and I’m.

00:22:17 Ivan Mactaggart

But, but you’re right that that legacy is, is is incredible actually. And and you think of what each President has done and move forward and how we how we grown it’s it it’s fantastic.

00:22:30 Ivan Mactaggart

What was your your?

00:22:31 Joshua Sutherland

Journey from presumably at some point you you joined in, cosy as a member and then you you rose to be the the the president. What? What is the the stepping stones you took?

00:22:42 Ivan Mactaggart

Well, it wasn’t planned that I can tell you it’s it’s. I joined in cosy.

00:22:50 Ivan Mactaggart

I’m quite late on. I actually came into systems engineering as we would understand it from an ecosy perspective quite late on actually. There’s only really in the sort of late 2000s around 2008, really where I can really came across it at that time.

00:23:08 Ivan Mactaggart

I’ve been really assistant practitioner of my my earlier academic thinking. Was our system thinking system practise and he’s still liking inform from that, but I I was a systems engineer at a WWE and.

00:23:27 Ivan Mactaggart

The responsible for the the leading the engineering component within living our soccer management within the AW at that time.

00:23:37 Ivan Mactaggart

And promoting systems engineering and systems are your processes and I was asked by our chief engineer.

00:23:45 Ivan Mactaggart

To take over our U CAP Rep spot from one of our senior engineers who was becoming who? Who’s gonna move on to become, I think head of.

00:23:56 Ivan Mactaggart

One of our engineering divisions at that time.

00:23:59 Ivan Mactaggart

She was gonna gonna and and.

00:24:01 Ivan Mactaggart

Fundamentally, as a group, they wouldn’t have had the the.

00:24:03 Ivan Mactaggart

The plan, what to do it?

00:24:05 Ivan Mactaggart

So Chief and you asked me if.

00:24:06 Ivan Mactaggart

I would take it off. It wasn’t really an ask. It was more of a talent, quite frankly. But it wasn’t something that.

00:24:12 Ivan Mactaggart

I was averse to.

00:24:14 Ivan Mactaggart

Bluntly, I was very, very happy to.

00:24:15 Ivan Mactaggart

Go and do that.

00:24:17 Ivan Mactaggart

So I, you know, I went from being a member lay member to being our Rep probably within a year or so of joining.

00:24:26 Ivan Mactaggart

I think I’d attended one conference by then or something like that, I said 2010. I think it was. I think first conference I went to.

00:24:35 Ivan Mactaggart

And then you know, I was asked to to to become the Ucab representative.

00:24:41 Ivan Mactaggart

And then when Chris Lamb, who was the UK chair at the time, again another, another long standing friend Chris Horse standing down from that role, decided to move on and stand.

00:24:54 Ivan Mactaggart

Down from that role.

00:24:56 Ivan Mactaggart

I was looking around for.

00:24:58 Ivan Mactaggart

You know, there’s a few folks that.

00:24:59 Ivan Mactaggart

Said, you know, why don’t you clear it?

00:25:01 Ivan Mactaggart

I’m I wanna speak if I get involved in something. I’ve gotta get involved in it and I kind of got involved.

00:25:05 Ivan Mactaggart

In in in the UK, quite quite a bit and and subsequently I was elected and and it was an election year it it wasn’t a dummy election. Yeah, it it was contested and probably quite close. Like I seem to recall. I’m.

00:25:20 Ivan Mactaggart

Not, not really.

00:25:20 Ivan Mactaggart

Sure. But yeah. Anyways, you know, I’ve.

00:25:23 Ivan Mactaggart

Elected as you catch it.

00:25:27 Ivan Mactaggart

Towards the back end of that time, selected for two year process and.

00:25:34 Ivan Mactaggart

Towards the back. In that time I moved I.

00:25:36 Ivan Mactaggart

Moved from A.

00:25:36 Ivan Mactaggart

W to the STL new change direction, new change career, and it’s time for me to move on. I wasn’t EU CAP work at the STL, but just one one of our other principals and.

00:25:50 Ivan Mactaggart

I really thought much about it other than, you know, being a bailing member and and and enjoying and still enjoying it.

00:25:58 Ivan Mactaggart

The two things then happened.

00:26:01 Ivan Mactaggart


00:26:03 Ivan Mactaggart

I was asked on my sort of first week in DST. Alright, it’s.

00:26:08 Ivan Mactaggart

A cosy UK stuff.

00:26:10 Ivan Mactaggart

You’re coming off saying that. What more can you do that it sounds like a thing we should be interested in.

00:26:14 Ivan Mactaggart

I said, well, we’ve already got.

00:26:15 Ivan Mactaggart

A Rep in there, you know Professor Bob Mahler. It was a time of staying up some.

00:26:20 Ivan Mactaggart

You know Bob.

00:26:20 Ivan Mactaggart

Mahal, one of those two.

00:26:23 Ivan Mactaggart

And it was well, you know, I.

00:26:24 Ivan Mactaggart

Said well.

00:26:25 Ivan Mactaggart

The presidential elections coming up.

00:26:28 Ivan Mactaggart

I I probably could have stab at that.

00:26:30 Ivan Mactaggart

Think do you know I might have some reasonable support that coincided with a couple of colleagues from the UK and folks who’ve been on Council cause it’s U cap chair. You’re a member of the Council saying look, why don’t you stand? We’d support you. And I said I thought, well, OK, alright. So I I said to to.

00:26:50 Ivan Mactaggart

It was our delivery chief in in DSL.

00:26:52 Ivan Mactaggart

So, well, Mars, I.

00:26:53 Ivan Mactaggart

Said look, this could happen. I’ve got.

00:26:54 Ivan Mactaggart

A bit of support I.

00:26:55 Ivan Mactaggart

I’ve I’ve got some good support within the the Advisory Board. You know, I think I’ve got a good start at this and he said well.

00:27:03 Ivan Mactaggart

What would you need? I said, well, I’d need X amount of days a year and I need to TS. It’s probably gonna come.

00:27:08 Ivan Mactaggart

To this this number.

00:27:10 Ivan Mactaggart

Anyway, he just said well, either go do it.

00:27:12 Ivan Mactaggart

And if you get elected, I’ll.

00:27:13 Ivan Mactaggart

Find the money and and and.

00:27:16 Ivan Mactaggart

That happened and.

00:27:17 Ivan Mactaggart

And and the rest you say.

00:27:18 Ivan Mactaggart

Is history, so you know.

00:27:19 Ivan Mactaggart

It was, it wasn’t planned.

00:27:22 Ivan Mactaggart

And and interesting as well is that I wasn’t ever sure I win the election. It was a.

00:27:27 Ivan Mactaggart


00:27:27 Ivan Mactaggart

Election against 2IN, you know, as myself and two incredibly strong candidates who both of them made incredible presence. I think you know David Venner, kinetic and and and Alan Merchant, who who had socks and optic.

00:27:43 Ivan Mactaggart

You know those those guys were you?

00:27:45 Ivan Mactaggart

Know they’re very, very good.

00:27:46 Ivan Mactaggart

Leaders. So it was, you know, it’s it.

00:27:50 Ivan Mactaggart

Far from giving in my mind, in fact, far from it. Yeah, I thought. Yeah. But, you know, if I come closer, that’s probably OK, you know? But no. Yeah. I’m. I’m.

00:28:00 Ivan Mactaggart

What happened happened and then, you know, I I found out. And the next day I sort of.

00:28:06 Ivan Mactaggart

Sat down with Emma Jane Taylor at Doctor I just headed sectarian. My mind no go like, what do I what do I need to know? Tell me a lot, you know. And. And and it was at that point I thought, right. Yeah. I need to go and understand all this a lot more. And and and and. Funny enough, I spent that Christmas then.

00:28:26 Ivan Mactaggart

Very sadly, I say an empty in an empty house around the dining room table.

00:28:36 Ivan Mactaggart

Reading the memorandum and articles of association registered at company House and all the other stuff like the MCU with with, with it goes and everything. Just want to understand how this how this thing works.

00:28:51 Joshua Sutherland

Yeah, yeah, I mean it. It does.

00:28:54 Joshua Sutherland

It’s certainly very healthy for the organisation that that, that these elections are contested and that there are great candidates there and that it is in.

00:29:01 Joshua Sutherland

Just, you know, searching around for somebody to do it, that actually people, multiple people want to do it.

00:29:07 Ivan Mactaggart

Yeah, we’ve, we’ve, we’ve been there a couple of times and and and that is that’s that’s the one of the you know.

00:29:14 Ivan Mactaggart

One of the things we we still got to resolve somehow is how do we get people?

00:29:19 Ivan Mactaggart

To want to stand we, we we do get people that do want to stand, you know, don’t get me wrong, we do. And even in some of the years where we’ve only really ended up with a single candidate there.

00:29:28 Ivan Mactaggart

Have been others that have looked at it.

00:29:31 Ivan Mactaggart

But there is, you know it.

00:29:33 Ivan Mactaggart

It comes with a lot of sacrifice, you know. You you you’re there for. It’s six year commitment.

00:29:41 Ivan Mactaggart

You know you’re 2 years as president-elect for two years as president. You’re there two years as the immediate past president. The burden goes down as immediate past president, honestly. But it but you still it there’s still an expectation and you’ve committed to the membership to do stuff you’ve committed to.

00:29:57 Ivan Mactaggart

Encode the UK.

00:29:58 Ivan Mactaggart

You’ve committed to the Council members to lead it effectively.

00:30:01 Ivan Mactaggart

The other thing is you’re committed to encouraging internationally to support various things. That’s part of the Memorandum of understanding. So it is not an insignificant.

00:30:14 Ivan Mactaggart

Challenge and it’s, you know, it comes at you know you you have.

00:30:19 Ivan Mactaggart

To you have to have.

00:30:20 Ivan Mactaggart

An ability of an employer that’s willing.

00:30:22 Ivan Mactaggart

To support it, you know, I think I calculated.

00:30:25 Ivan Mactaggart

But I would need something like 50 days and then actually wasn’t really. May I give 22 Franklin Harding there. He he did. He did a full on business case when he stood for president and very, very kindly shared with me some of the thinking around numbers when he thought. And and I wasn’t able to do that myself.

00:30:45 Ivan Mactaggart

So yeah, I think it calculated out I would need something like 50 odd days which would be split from some of my time. Some I’d need from from DSL, you know, originally.

00:30:56 Ivan Mactaggart

And then you know, we need to do conference attendance this TNS, this Council to attend. This was all pre sort of COVID and and certainly pre this kind of thing being regular formats but we we didn’t have vertical meetings back then we didn’t have the.

00:31:14 Ivan Mactaggart

Capacity to do.

00:31:16 Ivan Mactaggart

So you know, so I think it was something like.

00:31:19 Ivan Mactaggart

50 odd days.

00:31:22 Ivan Mactaggart

Lot of further travel there is an expectation from Ecosy that you’ll support IS or IW or both where you can. So that’s you know there’s a week in the states, twice a year or or a week in the states for IW and then.

00:31:37 Ivan Mactaggart

Generally like there there are unused and that have to go to all of them. But you know there is kind of an expectation you’ll you’ll get support to do symposiums and because you are you know you’re you’re representing encouraging UK and at that point being so there is kind of expectation for that.

00:31:56 Joshua Sutherland

And with that sort of representation, because there are all these members in the UK and they.

00:32:00 Joshua Sutherland

Need their guy?

00:32:02 Joshua Sutherland

Who? Who is representing them over there?

00:32:04 Ivan Mactaggart

Yeah, absolutely. And and and you know.

00:32:09 Ivan Mactaggart

Sometimes you kind of have to impress on other chapters and and and and press upon the centre. The central organisation that.

00:32:20 Ivan Mactaggart

That the the MU chapters, the international chapters.

00:32:23 Ivan Mactaggart

Are are, are, are a.

00:32:24 Ivan Mactaggart

Bit unique, they are very different from the way that you can.

00:32:30 Ivan Mactaggart

Or would lead an American chapter. Now that’s that’s kind of understood, but it’s it’s much better understood now. You know the employee certainly with the employment of the you know, my full time CEO, she’s office typed in that that that that they’ve got now. But I remember having conversations with an S.

00:32:51 Ivan Mactaggart

At one point with with someone who will very much remain known, this or someone listeners might may know who it is.

00:32:59 Ivan Mactaggart

You know, I was asked. Well, you know, why do you need to create money in the UK? Why do you need to do that? Everything down here? I well, no, it’s not so you know you are on the West Coast United States, you’re 8 to 10 hours behind us. You know. How’s that any use to somebody?

00:33:12 Ivan Mactaggart

Based in the UK on.

00:33:13 Ivan Mactaggart

A day to.

00:33:13 Ivan Mactaggart

Day basis, it isn’t, you know, so there’s certain things we have to provide the UK certain things our Members.

00:33:18 Ivan Mactaggart

Once in the United Kingdom, we have a relationship with different professional institutions in a different way that you do over.

00:33:25 Ivan Mactaggart

Drop the ship.

00:33:26 Ivan Mactaggart

It’s called professional engineer in the United States. It’s it’s, although it’s the kind of an equivalent. It’s done very differently in the UK to the the way it is the.

00:33:33 Ivan Mactaggart

United States so.

00:33:34 Ivan Mactaggart

The the the other thing is that in cosy.

00:33:37 Ivan Mactaggart

In the United States runs the taxpayers the chapters.

00:33:39 Ivan Mactaggart

For it, now we have to do our own.

00:33:42 Ivan Mactaggart

So you know, there’s the things you just have to do differently. And the larger you come.

00:33:47 Ivan Mactaggart

The more of that.

00:33:48 Ivan Mactaggart

You have to kind of have availability, availability.

00:33:51 Ivan Mactaggart

So sometimes, yeah there is.

00:33:53 Ivan Mactaggart

You know, once you get on it and it is, it is a meeting of friends. You know, I was incredibly luckily.

00:33:58 Ivan Mactaggart

Who have coincided with most of Gary Rodler’s time, for example, and and and Dave.

00:34:02 Ivan Mactaggart

Long time and and Alan’s longtime, of course, you know, during my on the chapter and in President and and they they they were very good relationships, but sometimes you gotta have a strong.

00:34:13 Ivan Mactaggart

Conversation, you know? Yeah.

00:34:16 Joshua Sutherland

And that sort of.

00:34:18 Joshua Sutherland

Public facing. So you know a a government minister or an MP or.

00:34:22 Joshua Sutherland

You know BBC News like these types of organisations when they, you know, they don’t know what systems engineering is and they think they need to speak to someone to to give a statement for a sort of news item and things. But to me, I think it is very important.

00:34:35 Joshua Sutherland

That the local chapters or the the country based chapters.

00:34:39 Joshua Sutherland

Talk in a language.

00:34:41 Joshua Sutherland

And use terms in a way that they are familiar with and can map you to yeah, into your Mechanical Engineers or or these other institutions.

00:34:50 Ivan Mactaggart

Yeah. And I think you you. So you hit on.

00:34:52 Ivan Mactaggart

A hit on a a thing.

00:34:53 Ivan Mactaggart

There that I think we.

00:34:55 Ivan Mactaggart

Need to embrace it sometime and and the the IFC concept will better enable this in my opinion which while there is I really thought of it, we’ve always struggled with how do we deal with matters of policy in the UK. And I don’t mean about encouraging your systems here.

00:35:13 Ivan Mactaggart

Policy but engineering policy in the UK, how do we get that influence? How do we how do we put our policy statement that comes from us as an institution rather than being seen to be the expression of the individual at present and the organisation that they come from? So we have to be on par with the rest of the UK institutions.

00:35:33 Ivan Mactaggart

To do that, so good leap forward. Yeah, we get invoice now through the through the national Engineering Policy Centre, of course with the Royal Academy of Engineering. But us as a collective.

00:35:43 Ivan Mactaggart

That means the president signs the letter with all of the other API presidents, and that’s a fantastic thing that’s really good. That’s the first bit of, you know, saying look, we have credibility, look, look who we are sitting with, who we’re talking with, you know this is the kind of influence we’re now loading. But if you really want to start.

00:36:02 Ivan Mactaggart

Going to next.

00:36:03 Ivan Mactaggart

Level. You’ve gotta think about what as a as a UK engineering institution that represents systems engineering in.

00:36:11 Ivan Mactaggart

We can. What is the policy that we want to present to politicians, to the rest of industry, you know, do we have that central policy? How are we gonna create that? How do we think about how we might want to put specific systems engineering advice to a minister?

00:36:32 Ivan Mactaggart

You know, I I was very fortunate enough couple of years ago now to write to my local MP following something with the Royal Academy of Engineering and got airtime with Greg Smith up in Buckingham supporter and our engineering and almost test probably a little bit.

00:36:51 Ivan Mactaggart

But you’ve got to have that clear idea in your head about what your policy is, what what the systems engineers care about, what do they want to see government doing. And again, you, you you can’t do that from a point of view where you might seem to be something that’s just a a small boat or.

00:37:10 Ivan Mactaggart

Something that’s wrong entirely from the United States in COSY has incredible influence in the United States. Incredible interest in.

00:37:20 Ivan Mactaggart

Us this has.

00:37:21 Ivan Mactaggart

Got good influence globally, you know, you know.

00:37:22 Ivan Mactaggart

Don’t get me wrong.

00:37:24 Ivan Mactaggart

There’s there is.

00:37:25 Ivan Mactaggart

A delta, I think when it comes to wanting to truly influence.

00:37:31 Ivan Mactaggart

Engineering policy or trying to influence government to take a A policy and industrial policy far more seriously. UK trade industrial policy, yeah.

00:37:43 Ivan Mactaggart

And we need to, you know, we need to drive government to change that. It’s not something government really.

00:37:47 Ivan Mactaggart

Thinks too much about the.

00:37:49 Ivan Mactaggart

Department of Business we work on on whatever guys it is at any one time is in my opinion.

00:37:56 Ivan Mactaggart

Backward. In doing that, it seemed reluctant to want to do it. But you know, come on, you know.

00:38:02 Ivan Mactaggart

This is a notion of creators, you know, only startups we’ve got going on. We we could start up tonnes of things.

00:38:08 Ivan Mactaggart

With brilliant ideas.

00:38:09 Ivan Mactaggart

In this colour, it’s getting those startups to scale up and then into leveraging that that technology and building it here that we don’t really do well with kinds of topples off and and I speak from the experience of having been in one that that kind of.

00:38:21 Ivan Mactaggart

Went down that trajectory for a while.

00:38:24 Joshua Sutherland

Yeah. And then sort of providing that expertise to like if if your your average MP, I think they they have a law degree and you know that that’s fine. And but being that person who can whisper in the ear.

00:38:38 Joshua Sutherland

Advice, that is, you know, based on maybe our way of thinking or more systems engineering across.

00:38:43 Ivan Mactaggart

Some things coming. You know, there’s some. There’s some light in the tunnel towards right towards the end of my total presidency. I I was I I received a number of calls, personal calls, but nonetheless they were coming to me personally but albeit but.

00:38:58 Ivan Mactaggart

Because I’ve had exposure as, as in case UK president, let’s be, let’s be blunt.

00:39:03 Ivan Mactaggart

Asking me about, you know, what was what was my view on system thinking? How could we inject it into government? What examples could we say? Well, systemic thought was helping things, for example.

00:39:13 Ivan Mactaggart

And so those opportunities come, it will be, it will be great to see in cosy UK Institute for Systems Engineering start to develop those policies that say yeah see this is what we really want to see. This is how we want to see.

00:39:29 Ivan Mactaggart

Things coming into schools, I wanna start seeing systems and new modules in academia, those kind of.

00:39:34 Ivan Mactaggart

Things you know.

00:39:37 Joshua Sutherland

Yeah, that’s really good. And then you mentioned that DSTL were almost encouraging you to get to become president. What benefits, where were they seeing for that though, why would they?

00:39:50 Joshua Sutherland

Sort of want to invest essentially be paying.

00:39:53 Joshua Sutherland

Your salary, but.

00:39:54 Joshua Sutherland

You are off supporting in Code UK.

00:39:57 Ivan Mactaggart

So, DSR for for any listener that that might not know is the defence science and Technology laboratory. It’s it’s an agency within UK MOD and it’s.

00:40:08 Ivan Mactaggart

Kind of almost. It’s an internal critical eye on some of the stuff that MOD does. It also supports other government departments as well. I was looking up and work with our government departments in my in my relatively short time, though now it’s it’s it’s.


All about.

00:40:25 Ivan Mactaggart

The UK PLC in many respects so.

00:40:28 Ivan Mactaggart

DSL encourages and and as you sort of get more senior roles almost demands you to engage with academia with industry.

00:40:37 Ivan Mactaggart

They were the professional jurisdictions. They want you to be chartered if you’re an engineer.

00:40:42 Ivan Mactaggart

They want you to.

00:40:43 Ivan Mactaggart

Be charted, having it for, for operational analysis and things like.

00:40:47 Ivan Mactaggart

That they want you.

00:40:47 Ivan Mactaggart

To be that and there’s a couple.

00:40:49 Ivan Mactaggart

Of reasons for.

00:40:49 Ivan Mactaggart

That one that it demonstrates their support to you growing as an engineer, analyst or scientist.

00:40:56 Ivan Mactaggart

One of your profession.

00:40:58 Ivan Mactaggart

Secondly, it demonstrates to the UK PLC the competence of the workforce.

00:41:06 Ivan Mactaggart

If you have got nearly. If you if only.

00:41:08 Ivan Mactaggart

Your senior engineers.

00:41:09 Ivan Mactaggart

Your engineering fellows, whatever that all chartered engineers. It’s telling you something about the competence of like group.

00:41:17 Ivan Mactaggart

I’m gonna wait. You’d expect accountants to be chartered, wouldn’t you know? Some like. And that’s the expectation. So it it’s it’s it’s a way of saying back to the public and to the politicians whose money it is that, you know, we we are spending we, you know is invested in us. You know they’re paying us.

00:41:36 Ivan Mactaggart

And saying, look, you know you are hiring competent people here who are doing things on behalf of the nation.

00:41:41 Ivan Mactaggart

And we’ve got.

00:41:42 Ivan Mactaggart

Highly confident people doing this on behalf of the nation.

00:41:45 Ivan Mactaggart

And spending your tax panels.

00:41:48 Joshua Sutherland

Yeah, that that makes sense, so.

00:41:49 Ivan Mactaggart

Where is the.

00:41:51 Ivan Mactaggart

You know there is a give, yeah.

00:41:54 Ivan Mactaggart

For me personally, I mean.

00:41:55 Ivan Mactaggart

Obviously it it it.

00:41:58 Ivan Mactaggart

It exposed me to a whole whole number.

00:41:59 Ivan Mactaggart

Of things, frankly.

00:42:02 Joshua Sutherland

Yeah. And I think you could always apply this to to any, any field of endeavour that to be involved with your professional institution is likely going to lead to, to.

00:42:11 Joshua Sutherland

Do better things like oh, absolutely.

00:42:16 Ivan Mactaggart

Ask around sort of your.

00:42:18 Joshua Sutherland

Career. So. So right now you work in rail, but you’ve been in in defence and yeah, you mentioned automotive at the beginning of your career. Like, has that been deliberate or that you wanted to be in these different domains?

00:42:32 Ivan Mactaggart

It became deliberate. It’s become deliberate. It didn’t necessarily start that way. It’s become deliberate for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, let’s take the discipline.

00:42:47 Ivan Mactaggart

Of systems engineering.

00:42:52 Ivan Mactaggart

John will tell you sometimes, John hope that is well, we’ll put his. He’s told. You know those steps and and he’ll speak very passionately about systems and he’ll say it’s the application, the implementation of common sense and engineering. Only The thing is.

00:43:09 Ivan Mactaggart

It’s not that common.

00:43:10 Ivan Mactaggart

Hip hip. But there’s a lot of there’s a.

00:43:12 Ivan Mactaggart

Bit of truth in that, quite frankly.

00:43:15 Ivan Mactaggart

But it’s. But if you think about it, it’s systems engineering is not about one domain, it is relevant to every engineering domain you can think of any manufacturing business, production, business infrastructure, you know rail be a part of that infrastructure.

00:43:34 Ivan Mactaggart

It doesn’t matter what man-made systems you’re engaging with.

00:43:39 Ivan Mactaggart

Systems engineering can provide value.

00:43:43 Ivan Mactaggart

So the outcomes that that, whatever business it is you’re in or whatever industry you’re in, that can provide value to the outcomes.

00:43:49 Ivan Mactaggart

That are seeking.

00:43:49 Ivan Mactaggart

To. So for me it’s become a thing. I like to engage with complex problems harder the better the more it stretches my head, the better. I’m grey hair for a reason. I like to say.

00:44:02 Ivan Mactaggart

I’m what that means is sometimes.

00:44:06 Ivan Mactaggart

You know you if.

00:44:06 Ivan Mactaggart

You really want to test yourself as a systems engineer. For me, that means not just sticking to the same domain and say right. Yeah, I worked in atomic work with the function of six years and I worked on DSL works on all sorts of defence type things and other things I went back to a defence company.

00:44:21 Ivan Mactaggart

Then went to or not to the university to come out where I was introducing it from ground up. There’s nothing.

00:44:26 Ivan Mactaggart

There when we are.

00:44:27 Ivan Mactaggart

And then now into rail and my view is if if I have any good at what I do, I should be able to practise.

00:44:33 Ivan Mactaggart

This to a proficient.

00:44:34 Ivan Mactaggart

Expert level in any domain because.

00:44:39 Ivan Mactaggart

The concept of systems engine just makes sense.

00:44:44 Ivan Mactaggart

And and and that’s not now, that’s.

00:44:45 Ivan Mactaggart

What it’s been for me.

00:44:47 Ivan Mactaggart

And so my career has been about.

00:44:50 Ivan Mactaggart

Not necessarily climbing a promotional ladder in one particular organisation, and I absolutely think that’s a fantastic thing to do. For me it’s it’s been more about.

00:45:01 Ivan Mactaggart

How much better as a systems engineer can I be and an engineering leader for that matter, cause it it it extends to both by engaging in problem spaces where I actually really don’t know much about the the engineering side behind it. Yeah, I knew nothing about rail three years ago. I’m not sure I know much more really, right? I mean, I do, but you know.

00:45:21 Ivan Mactaggart

It’s there’s only so much you can really.

00:45:23 Ivan Mactaggart

Learn in three years.

00:45:25 Joshua Sutherland

Yeah, and and for that railway line, I guess to help the audience, this is a a railway line that sort of exists, but is has has gaps in it and you’re throwing them in.

00:45:36 Ivan Mactaggart

Yeah. So yeah, so it’s an incredible project and it’s incredible Systems project.

00:45:42 Ivan Mactaggart

We’re gonna link.

00:45:43 Ivan Mactaggart

We’re going to look at what are we going to link?

00:45:46 Ivan Mactaggart

Oxford and Cambridge.

00:45:47 Ivan Mactaggart

There’s something there’s incredibly compelling reasons to do so. If you wanna go look at East West Rail website, you can see it. There’s a reason it was in the last budget statement. It’s an incredibly compelling project to do to link these two centres of academic excellence, along with Milton Keynes and the Centre, which is was pre COVID, one of the largest Grand cities in the United Kingdom.

00:46:07 Ivan Mactaggart

I don’t, I’m.

00:46:08 Ivan Mactaggart

Not a tech around the area, OK?

00:46:11 Joshua Sutherland

And I was an undergraduate at Oxford, and I used to ride that bus from Oxford to Cambridge. And it’s a very terrible journey.

00:46:17 Ivan Mactaggart

And and so it’s a compelling thing to do and it and.

00:46:21 Ivan Mactaggart

In a different way to overall.

00:46:22 Ivan Mactaggart

Projects. This is not about actually rail movement and rail travel. It’s about releasing economic benefits.

00:46:29 Ivan Mactaggart

Bluntly, and that’s and that means that unlike a lot of infrastructure projects, actually a lot of government projects full stop, this has huge treasury support and and you can see that in the.

00:46:40 Ivan Mactaggart

Press you read it.

00:46:43 Ivan Mactaggart

It’s got so that that’s that’s a compelling reason.

00:46:46 Ivan Mactaggart

For doing it.

00:46:48 Ivan Mactaggart

What’s the compelling systems engineering reasoning? Well, as you. You kind of alluded to that.

00:46:53 Ivan Mactaggart

We’ve got an A bit of railway between Oxford and Bletchley that is under construction. The earthworks were were were mainly there from the old varsity line that existed up until the beaching costs the 6th. So nothing back. What we’ve been able to reuse the bits of railway we could we could use. We’ve put it. We’re putting a new station.

00:47:13 Ivan Mactaggart

In there and.

00:47:14 Ivan Mactaggart

You know HS2 just completed the works and the embankments and the bridges for the overpass of HS2IN in the area. We will cross over. We’re interface with so that that’s all that’s I’m I’m going and that will enter into service within the next year and a bit I think at the moment. So you got that thing.

00:47:34 Ivan Mactaggart

And that being delivered by East West Rail Alliance led by Network Rail capsule and it predates to sort of East West Rail Company sets up.

00:47:45 Ivan Mactaggart

You then build a.

00:47:45 Ivan Mactaggart

Bit, which is essentially Bletchley, to Bedford, the Master Vale line, it’s called it is a small commuter railway. It’s been beset by a number of problems. It’s been.

00:47:59 Ivan Mactaggart

It it’s had basal blossoming now for at least last year about going back into operation again issues with the the company that we’re looking after trains and things like that. So it’s it’s been kind of.

00:48:10 Ivan Mactaggart

A bit of.

00:48:11 Ivan Mactaggart

A mix match for the last year or.

00:48:12 Ivan Mactaggart

So and also it’s it’s it’s slow, it stops every station.

00:48:18 Ivan Mactaggart

It’s a bit sub optimal if you want to.

00:48:22 Ivan Mactaggart

Get a decent.

00:48:23 Ivan Mactaggart

Sort of link hit.

00:48:24 Ivan Mactaggart

But it’s existing operational railway. So you’ve got a bit that’s under construction nearly nearly completing on the back end. Looking through the service, but it is operational, OK, even though it’s not really been running trains for a year.

00:48:37 Ivan Mactaggart

Going back to rolling trains now, I think it started is the fact that has, I think restarted.

00:48:42 Ivan Mactaggart

And then you’ve got this bit from Bedford out to Cambridge, where there’s nothing the old Varsity line, mostly it’s been built over, so you can’t reinstate that. You can’t claim it. It’s not, and then you’ve gotta think about whether it’s, you know, we’ve we’ve had to look at root options.

00:48:57 Ivan Mactaggart

I think I’m sure there’s more. Look at that and look at these. Like, let’s see what all that stuff is. You know, I’m. I’m not here representing these trials, so I’m. I’m not really other than the systems engineering.

00:49:09 Ivan Mactaggart

So when you look at.

00:49:11 Ivan Mactaggart

What an excellent problem space for a systems engineer to be working. I’m I’m I’m blessed to have a small but very, very good systems engineering team. It’s it’s it’s head. The head of Systems engineering in my my the jigsaw there is a guy called Steve Turner.

00:49:31 Ivan Mactaggart

Who is the professional development director for Encoding UK?

00:49:35 Ivan Mactaggart

And you know, he he has a very small but very, very competent team along by, you know, having a partner, which is where most of the systems engine horsepower is done and again so. So yeah, it is a it is and I think Steve sees what I do which is you know when I actually joined us as the head of systems engineering and and now the head of systems and digital and.

00:49:55 Ivan Mactaggart

Another thing is that we’ve got a really good fantastic systems challenge that to be involved in.

00:50:03 Ivan Mactaggart

It’s it’s, it’s compelling, it. It does hurt the.

00:50:06 Joshua Sutherland

Yeah, yeah. I mean, there’s serious.

00:50:10 Joshua Sutherland

You know, interactions with communities and it it is not a pure technical challenge I imagine.

00:50:16 Ivan Mactaggart

No reason you know. You know, I don’t know. Fortunately, I don’t get that involved with with that bit that that’s not my particular job. We’ve, you know, we’ve got a a very gifted team that that work in that communications.

00:50:31 Ivan Mactaggart

And an interaction space. And they do that brilliantly. But you know, just you, you’re. You’re right. The If you look at all the interface points we have.

00:50:40 Ivan Mactaggart

You’re interfacing with.

00:50:42 Ivan Mactaggart

All of the major NS transport mechanisms, yeah, East and West Coast mainline, that’s just two rail ones then the M1, the A1M, the M40. You know we’re we’re meddling in. You know we’re we’re interfacing into the Network Rail area. So as I said.

00:51:02 Ivan Mactaggart

The West Midlands main.

00:51:05 Ivan Mactaggart

The area. Then you’ve got major rivers, granular canal as well. So there’s a whole bunch of environment things in there and we’ve gotta go across. You know, we’ve got interrupted Flood playing within across Bedford and then we’ve got to go to Bedford Town itself and, you know, huge challenges around how do we deal with going into Bedford, St. John’s increasing.

00:51:25 Ivan Mactaggart

City and we’re right next to a major hospital.

00:51:29 Ivan Mactaggart

How? How we’re gonna how we’re gonna handle that?

00:51:31 Ivan Mactaggart

You know, there’s some. Yeah, there’s there’s it’s some.

00:51:35 Ivan Mactaggart

You know, as as systems challenges go, it’s it’s fantastic one to be involved.

00:51:41 Joshua Sutherland

Yeah. And I would encourage any listener who hasn’t looked at a map of the UK, just look at where Oxford is and where Cambridge is, and then where London is and you look.

00:51:49 Joshua Sutherland

At the amount of.

00:51:51 Joshua Sutherland

Infrastructure that must be emanating out of London to the north and inland railway line. It’s crossing all of.

00:51:58 Ivan Mactaggart

That and again, it’s compelling in number of.

00:52:01 Ivan Mactaggart

Just because it’s not just about how you link.

00:52:05 Ivan Mactaggart

Up to the.

00:52:05 Ivan Mactaggart

Cambridge the potential there is to go. You. You can then engage with right at least the ports on the East Coast.

00:52:11 Ivan Mactaggart

You can get down into Wales, you know, down into Cornwall. So you you get a A you can enable it. Truly holistic, East West connection.

00:52:22 Ivan Mactaggart

By having this this, this, this railway, so it’s and that then you know that gives you opportunities to consider and you know decisions haven’t been made on this yet and you know but how you might bring.

00:52:35 Ivan Mactaggart

Bring freight well.

00:52:36 Ivan Mactaggart

Interesting. So you know.

00:52:37 Ivan Mactaggart

It’s there is.

00:52:39 Ivan Mactaggart

A really compelling case for railway it’s an incredibly exciting system challenge.

00:52:43 Ivan Mactaggart

To be involved.

00:52:43 Ivan Mactaggart

In and I’m lucky enough to have been originally asked to lead Systems engineering and insurance. You know, for for.

00:52:50 Ivan Mactaggart

The first year.

00:52:51 Ivan Mactaggart

And a half. And for the last.

00:52:54 Ivan Mactaggart

Almost two years now to to head up.

00:52:57 Ivan Mactaggart

Systems engineering and visual engineering and bring the performance piece in and and sort of we sports teams and and and safety for quite a while that start with the major again. So yeah, it’s been it’s a great. It’s a great time.

00:53:12 Joshua Sutherland

Thank you. So we’re coming up on time now, Ivan, are there any other remaining thoughts you have that you want to share with the audience?

00:53:19 Ivan Mactaggart

I I think you know I would encourage any listener that isn’t a member of encourage you to go and explore because UK encourage you. Just go and have a look, you’ll find a lot of like minded people.

00:53:31 Ivan Mactaggart

For those that are members.

00:53:34 Ivan Mactaggart

Get involved. Get get volunteered to do something.

00:53:38 Ivan Mactaggart

Fall into the bandwidth is is never without reward. You know it is incredibly rewarding.

00:53:45 Ivan Mactaggart

It is a great place.

00:53:46 Ivan Mactaggart

To sort of think about where you want to go in your career and and open your eyes you meet. I’ve met people who now I I consider to be very, very close friends.

00:53:57 Ivan Mactaggart

I’ve been blessed to, to sit alongside and to workshop and to to meet and talk with.

00:54:05 Ivan Mactaggart

Some really, really gifted engineers, you know.

00:54:09 Ivan Mactaggart

And to be exposed to some of their thinking. And that’s definitely have an impact on.

00:54:13 Ivan Mactaggart

The way I.

00:54:13 Ivan Mactaggart

Think so? My you know you whatever you volunteer for.

00:54:20 Ivan Mactaggart

Will be a really exciting thing to do. The other thought I think is the.

00:54:25 Ivan Mactaggart

One that for some reason.

00:54:28 Ivan Mactaggart

I always forget that that we enable to get going in my time, which was I think is the the the real key for system engine and any engineering organisation is is that we we we identified that the Dutch had a Dutch trapped had.

00:54:44 Ivan Mactaggart

A youth division.

00:54:46 Ivan Mactaggart

And David, Vern and who I mentioned earlier is is who is one of my rivals for for presidency at the time and and Kirsty Wallace, who succeeded as President.

00:54:59 Ivan Mactaggart

Hope that and and made that happen and and and enabled the. That’s what we called the early careers form to get going. And now that’s a big thing. And that’s all run by young, young early career systems engineers. It’s it’s not not a youth.

00:55:13 Ivan Mactaggart

Form for us.

00:55:15 Ivan Mactaggart

We recognise that systems engineering is such often a secondary or tertiary career.

00:55:19 Ivan Mactaggart

Work in the UK, but it provides a means for early.

00:55:25 Ivan Mactaggart

Career systems engineers to to get engaged and come and have a look and they have a voice in Council. You know, we wanted them to have the right from the outset. We said when we set this up, we’re going to give them a voice on the Council and they do that.

00:55:37 Ivan Mactaggart

And it’s good.

00:55:37 Ivan Mactaggart

So I encourage if you’re, if you’re listening to this and you’re involved in systems engine in the UK, get involved.

00:55:43 Ivan Mactaggart

In encoding in some way, whether it’s.

00:55:45 Ivan Mactaggart

Areas where it’s supporting professional develop with with Steve Turner you know and and promoting not just chartership incorporate engineer professional registration but the whole concept of certification and like getting involved in that get involved in our events teams get involved you know with all of the other activities we do outreach.

00:56:05 Ivan Mactaggart

Outreach is it’s back and you know, I mean it’s a fantastic thing to look at how we interact with with our organisations.

00:56:11 Ivan Mactaggart

There’s just so.

00:56:11 Ivan Mactaggart

Many things that that you can do in the technical side, you know, you volunteer to do things in the technical side, you get, you get.

00:56:18 Ivan Mactaggart

To work alongside John Holt.

00:56:20 Ivan Mactaggart

Who I think is, you know, certainly.

00:56:23 Ivan Mactaggart

One of the.

00:56:25 Ivan Mactaggart

Most influential systems engineers in this country, I think you know, you know, they’re all. But John has a particular a particular way of presenting systems engineering to the public, which I think is quite unique. Yeah.

00:56:38 Joshua Sutherland

It makes it accessible.

00:56:40 Joshua Sutherland

It makes it accessible to those who.

00:56:43 Joshua Sutherland

Don’t have a computer science degree or.

00:56:45 Ivan Mactaggart

No, they don’t. And and he, you know, he is if there’s a.

00:56:47 Ivan Mactaggart

Compelling reason to go and have a.

00:56:49 Ivan Mactaggart

Look at your home. You know, I mean, there’s a he wouldn’t want to be engaged and want.

00:56:52 Ivan Mactaggart

To do work.

00:56:53 Ivan Mactaggart

In a business where he works you.

00:56:54 Ivan Mactaggart

Know let’s be on this. So you know, just my message is.

00:56:59 Ivan Mactaggart

It is.

00:57:02 Ivan Mactaggart

It’s it’s not a right thing to say. It just changed your life in some respects, but it has in mind, you know, in many ways it’s, you know it. It’s changed my how I think about what I want to do. So it’s been a it’s it’s been an incredible experience. Incredible time.

00:57:17 Joshua Sutherland

Oh, well, thank you. Thank you, Ivan. And yeah, to those listening, please take the advice that Ivan has given us. And yeah, have a great career in in system. Thank you, Ivan.

00:57:28 Ivan Mactaggart

Thank you very much Joshua and whoever you are out there listening in. Thanks for listening and Josh is doing a great, great, great concert here. It’s fantastic.

00:57:37 Ivan Mactaggart

Thanks for calling.

00:57:40 Joshua Sutherland

Great. Well, I hope you enjoyed the episode and just a reminder to sign up to the newsletter on.

00:57:46 Joshua Sutherland and it will keep you up to date with the latest episodes and other interesting things, and there’s a free gift for you when you sign up. So see you. See you soon. Bye.

#010 – Olivier de Weck – Technology Roadmapping and Quantitative Technology Management

MIT Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics and Engineering Systems


Discussion with Prof. Olivier de Weck about Technology Roadmapping. Including his 2022 book “Technology Roadmapping and Development: A Quantitative Approach to the Management of Technology”

Olivier is Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics and Engineering Systems at MIT & the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets. Previously Olivier was Editor-in-Chief for INCOSE’s Systems Engineering journal and Senior Vice President for Technology Planning and Roadmapping at Airbus.

Links from discussion:

  1. MIT Professional Education courses (including Technology Roadmapping):
  2. Olivier’s 2022 Book: “Technology Roadmapping and Development”:
  3. MIT’s Roadmaps Home Page:

Time stamps:

  • 00:00:00 Introduction
  • 00:01:00 What is technology Rd mapping and why should their organisation be doing it?
  • 00:02:10 1962 JFK speech “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade…” example of a roadmap?
  • 00:05:55 Figures of Merit (FoM), Utopian points, unachievable roadmaps & solar powered aircraft
  • 00:10:22 Multidisciplinary nature of roadmaps & CFOs Chief Financial Officer is perhaps the most powerful person in the company
  • 00:13:54 Value of traceability. Strategic Drivers to Roadmaps to Figures of Merit to R&D Projects Portfolio
  • 00:16:47 Size of organisations to use roadmaps. Airbus is very complicated company…
  • 00:19:03 Interfacing to suppliers of subsystems (e.g. aero engines)
  • 00:23:36 Large amounts of information & keeping roadmaps updated
  • 00:30:53 Disruptive innovation and Figure of Merit Changes
  • 00:33:40 Handling disruptions from outside an industry (e.g. COVID-19, September 11th, Financial crisis of 2008)
  • 00:36:51 MIT Online Course on Technology Roadmapping
  • 00:38:14 Closing

#009 – Jordan Kyriakidis – Better Requirements with QRA Corp

Cofounder and CEO, QRA Corp


Discussion with Jordan about the current state of Systems Engineering and where it can go in the future. Before founding QRA Corp, Jordan was a professor of quantum physics at Dalhousie University.

QRA Corp’s mission is to accelerate the design process across industries who are tackling the most complex systems by empowering them to build tomorrow’s safe, secure, and incredibly powerful products. QRA’s technology, patented toolsets, and capabilities have been used to avoid stressful reworks, enable confident engineering, and find previously undetected catastrophic flaws.

Links from discussion:


Time stamps:

  • 0:00:00 Introduction
  • 0:00:56 Jordan’s Background
  • 0:01:24 QRA is centered on requirements and improving requirements
  • 0:07:56 Entrepreneurship background
  • 0:12:01 Current state of systems engineering
  • 0:15:44 Impact of quantum computers
  • 0:17:49 Rise in AI
  • 0:22:06 Industries in demand for systems engineering
  • 0:24:23 Culture differences in various domains
  • 0:26:29 Processing requirements in different languages?
  • 0:28:01 System Engineering in the next 10 years
  • 0:33:37 Largest semiconductor manufacturer Nvidia
  • 0:35:25 Demand of quality products from the consumers
  • 0:36:40 Advice for novices in system engineering
  • 0:39:40 Design level thinking
  • 0:41:31 Jordan transition from being a Professor to CEO
  • 0:45:51 Career opportunities at QRA Corp
  • 0:47:53 Impact of Covid in day to day business operations
  • 0:53:22 Conclusion

#005 – COVID-19: Consequences on Systems Engineering

Dov Dori, Bruce Cameron, Mo Mansouri, Jon Holt, Alan Harding, Mike Johnson, Mohammad Chami & Joshua Sutherland


In this episode we are going to be exploring the consequences of COVID-19 on Systems Engineering with SE experts from around the world.

Links from discussion:

Time stamps:

  • 00:00 Intro – Mini
  • 00:20 Intro – Full
  • 02:11 Dov Dori – Technion & MIT
  • 06:29 Bruce Cameron – MIT & Technology Strategy Partners
  • 09:30 Mo Mansouri – Stevens Institute of Technology
  • 11:38 Jon Holt – Scarecrow Consultants & Cranfield University
  • 15:25 Alan Harding – BAE Systems & INCOSE Past President
  • 17:56 Mike Johnson – SE-Training GmbH
  • 21:59 Mohammad Chami – Chami Consulting
  • 24:47 Joshua Sutherland
  • 31:34 Outro

#004 – Ricardo Viana Vargas – The Brightline Initiative & Project Management Institute (PMI)

PMI Fellow & Past Chairman


Interview with Ricardo Viana Vargas – Brightline Project Management Institute (PMI) – Project Management & Strategy Implementation

Links from discussion:


Time stamps:

  • 0:00:00 Introduction
  • 0:02:10 Ricardo background and mission
  • 0:04:28 Turn Ideas into Reality
  • 0:06:56 Convince people by gain or by pain
  • 0:10:23 Why become a project manager?
  • 0:13:00 Behaviour drives your success
  • 0:17:00 Success and Failures
  • 0:21:00 Advice for Novices
  • 0:21:53 Bad advice to ignore
  • 0:22:57 Conclusion

#002 – Hillary Sillitto – Architecting Systems

Author of Architecting Systems: Concepts, Principles and Practice


Interview with Hillary Sillitto author of “Architecting Systems: Concepts, Principles and Practice”
Check out Hillary’s website here to learn more about the book:

Links from discussion:

  1. Book: Architecting Systems – concepts, principles and practice. By Hillary Sillitto, 2014
  2. Journal Paper: Dori, Dov, and Hillary Sillitto. “What is a system? An ontological framework.” Systems Engineering 20.3 (2017): 207-219.
  3. Conference Paper: Sillitto, Hillary, Dov Dori, Regina M. Griego, Scott Jackson, Daniel Krob, Patrick Godfrey, Eileen Arnold, James Martin, and Dorothy McKinney. “Defining “system”: a comprehensive approach.” In INCOSE International Symposium, vol. 27, no.
  4. Journal:
  5. Challenger Shuttle Disaster: 
  6. INCOSE Complexity Primer White Paper:
  7. INCOSE Complexity Primer Presentation: 
  8. Book: Systems Architecting: Creating & Building Complex Systems. By Eberhardt Rechtin, 1990.
  9. Book: Anticipatory Systems: Philosophical, Mathematical and Methodological Foundations. By Robert Rosen, 2012
  10. Book: The Incremental Commitment Spiral Model: Principles and Practices for Successful Systems and Software. By Barry Boehm, Jo Ann Lane, Supannika Koolmanojwong, Richard Turner, 2014.
  11. Book:  Anticipatory Systems: Philosophical, Mathematical and Methodological Foundations. By Robert Rosen, 2012
  12. INCOSE papers and presentations library: 

Time stamps:

  • 0:00:00 Introduction
  • 0:01:41 Hillary Self Intro
  • 0:02:20 His Mission
  • 0:05:05 Identification of Definitions
  • 0:09:15 Human side of systems engineering
  • 0:10:25 How to sell the idea of systems to people?
  • 0:14:20 Identifying obstacles
  • 0:17:26 Hillary transition to system engineer.
  • 0:21:05 Culture differences in organizations
  • 0:24:15 Differences of Industries and Civil Service
  • 0:27:17 Proud moments and Failures to learn from
  • 0:31:37 How to develop your career?
  • 0:34:00 Bad advice to ignore
  • 0:37:40 Technical specialization to broader systems
  • 0:40:42 Nature of requirements
  • 0:47:00 Key books to read
  • 0:49:26 Decision map
  • 0:53:15 Biggest opportunities and challenges in the system engineer community
  • 0:57:49 Advice to the system community
  • 0:58:15 Conclusion

#001 – Bryan Moser – Teamwork & Socio-Technical Systems Engineering

MIT System Design and Management (SDM) Academic Director and Sr. Lecturer


Links from discussion:

Time stamps:

  • 0:00:00 Introduction
  • 0:00:57 Bryan’s self introduction
  • 0:01:35 Bryan’s mission
  • 0:02:00 Bryan’s career
  • 0:02:32 How to distribute the engineering?
  • 0:04:00 Decomposition and design of a product
  • 0:05:12 Teamwork
  • 0:06:50 Steps of Bryan’s Career
  • 0:08:42 Entrepreneurship journey
  • 0:10:35 Transition to teaching and research
  • 0:12:00 Advice to novices
  • 0:14:40 The underlying physics of complex systems
  • 0:15:35 Bad advice to ignore
  • 0:17:15 Opportunities and Challenges
  • 0:18:15 Failures to learn from
  • 0:20:15 Conclusion