On My Honor

On my honor, I will do my best
to do my duty to God and my country;
To obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake,
and morally straight.
Boy Scouts of America – Scout Oath

I haven’t really thought about those words in a few decades, but it’s funny how they came back to me in an instant. If you were ever a Scout, you probably repeated those words hundreds of times, like I did. These are certainly admirable words to live by. But what does that have to do with simulation?

On my honor – Make a commitment. Then take it seriously. Or in the words of Jedi Master Yoda “Do, or do not. There is no ‘try.’
I will do my best – Is “good enough” really good enough? What would happen if you really did your personal best?
To do my duty – A somewhat outdated concept, that each of us has intrinsic responsibilities and obligations. Or is it?
To self and company – OK, I took some liberties here. But when considering your specific project commitments, also consider the big picture of what the company (or your stakeholders) really need. And it should never be far from your mind, what do you and your family need?
To help other people – A team who works together can accomplish so much more than the sum of the individuals.
To keep myself physically strong – Keep a good balance in your life. Personal fitness takes time, but can return so much.
To keep myself mentally alert – Some types of wisdom require time to develop, but sometimes “wisdom” can be as simple as thinking things through objectively, along with careful attention to detail.
To keep myself morally straight – There is no substitute for personal integrity. Sometimes you have to make difficult choices to keep your integrity, but it is always easier to keep than to restore after it has been lost.

These concepts are valuable in your professional life as well as in your personal life. Think about them from time to time while doing your next project.

Dave Sturrock
VP Products, Simio LLC

Magic Formula For Success – Part 2

This article continues a brief exploration into how you can be more successful in your simulation projects. (Look here for part 1.)

Here is a second set of important issues that should be considered.

Agility – You can count on the fact that what you are modeling will change. If the system itself is not changing, the detailed project objectives will. Use a technique that allows you to stay agile enough to cope with the inevitable changes.

Solve Problems – Don’t see yourself as just a model-builder. See yourself as a problem-solver. Think outside the box. Recognize opportunities. Don’t simply provide a service, add value.

Software – Software selection is often difficult, particularly if budgets are tight. Domain-specific or generic? Easy to use or flexible? Established product or state-of-the art technology? Many factors must be considered.

Know Your Stakeholders – Who is funding the project? Put yourselves in their position and determine what their concerns are and what they would like and need to see from this project.

Credibility – While simulation provides a degree of objectivity, to many it is still a “black art”. At the end of the day if you don’t have personal credibility, all the backup data possible will not be able to sell your ideas.

Certainly this was a very brief treatment of only a few key factors to success. Future articles will discuss these and others in more detail.?

Dave Sturrock
VP Products – Simio LLC

The Magic Formula for Success

Many people new to simulation rightfully inquire how they can be successful. This first article will identify some of the issues associated with simulation projects. Later articles will explore these and other issues in greater detail.

So, to get started, here are five of the more important issues that should be considered.

Project Objectives – “Model this” is not a good objective. “Prove this” is not much better. A clear objective is essential to a meaningful project. Hopefully it would include the phrases “evaluate …” and “as measured by …”.

Know Yourself – What are your strengths and weaknesses? How about those of any other team members who will be involved? Be honest. Then come up with a plan to capitalize on the strengths and overcome the weaknesses.

Domain, Tool & Process Knowledge – It is not enough to be proficient in a simulation tool. Nor is it enough to have comprehensive domain knowledge of what is being modeled. While having project participants with both of those skills is a prerequisite to success, you also need to know how to conduct a simulation project and deliver validated, valuable results.

Project Planning and Management – A project that produces results after the decision is made has little value. And an over budget project may be cancelled before completion. You must pay appropriate attention to completion dates and project costs.

Team/Reviews – Even though “No man is an island”, too often simulation projects are conducted by a single person with little or no team interaction. Find a way to get others involved.

Look for five more success factors next time. Future articles will discuss these and others in more detail.?

Dave Sturrock
VP Products – Simio LLC

Success in Simulation Introduction

Welcome!

We will be using this space to help each other become more successful in our simulation projects. We will be sharing information and initiating discussions that will prove interesting and helpful to both experienced and novice simulationists.

When I say “we”, it is because I cannot do this alone – I need active participation from the user community. Your comments, topic suggestions, and article submissions are welcome.

This blog is not about any particular product, nor is it intended to be in any way commercial or sales-oriented.

Success in Simulation is available to all simulationists in industry, service, military, academic and other application areas, as well as anyone who wants to become a simulationist or who just wants to learn more about simulation. While I intend to focus mainly on discrete event simulation, articles on the related fields of agent-based modeling, system dynamics, and emulation will also be included.

The articles will be intentionally be kept short for a quick read, and hopefully most will be written in an informal style for easy reading. I encourage you to subscribe to the RSS feed so that you will automatically receive new articles as soon as they are posted.

Dave Sturrock
VP Products – Simio LLC