#012 – Pari Singh – Fast, Iterative & Collaborative

Pari Singh is the CEO of Flow Engineering




– Flow Engineering: https://flowengineering.com/

– Pari’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/parisingh/


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: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshuasutherland




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 www.joshuasutherland.com/newsletter 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 linkedinlinkedin.com 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 engineering.com, I think your website.

01:05:12 Pari

Floorengineering.com 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 www.joshuasutherland.com/newsletter, 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.