Interview with Bruce Powel Douglass


Bruce Powel Douglass is the author of Agile Model-Based Systems Engineering Cookbook, we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.

Q: What is/are your specialist tech area(s)?

Bruce: Real-time, safety critical embedded systems, systems engineering, UML Modeling, SysML Modeling, Agile for systems engineering

Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?

Bruce: I have literally decades of experience developing safety-critical, high-reliability systems and want to share my expertise

Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?

Bruce: Decades of experience, consulting/contributing to over 400 projects

Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?

Bruce: Writing while working is always a challenge. I had a strong notion of the organization, but it takes over 2000 hours of writing to put together a book. A little at a time, over a long period. Being an ultra-endurance athlete gives me the patience to push through.

Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?

Bruce: Model-based development for systems engineering is becoming the de facto standard approach but in my experience people struggle to make it effective. Application of agile methods helps (a lot) but there is very little literature on how to apply agile to systems projects, as opposed to software only projects. I expect to see this expand and deepen as engineers gain experience.

Q. Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?

Bruce: There isn’t very much literature out right now for agile systems or MBSE, sadly. This is meant to help fill that void.

Q. What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away from the book with?

Bruce: MBSE and agile methods are synergistic, and constructing verifiable and executable models is key to their synergy.

Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?

Bruce: Build and execute the examples. You learn by doing far more effectively than you learn by reading alone.

Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?

Bruce: Yes, check for my blog and forums.

Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?

Bruce: Packt has been helpful and supportive. I think they’ve done a great job, and I recommend authors to work with them.

Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?

Bruce: I apply agility to being agile. That is, I make a plan, and stick to the plan until the plan needs to be updated. There is a Law of Douglass, “The more you know, the more you know.” which is meant to mean that as a project progresses you learn more about the content, details, dates, and other aspects of any project, but certainly with respect to writing. So I make a plan, work a plan, and frequently update the plan to reflect that deepening understanding. It works.

Q. What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?

Bruce: The difference between writers and non-writers is that writers write. That’s it. Write. Even if you end up rewriting later, the act of writing makes you a better writer.

You can find Bruce’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here

Agile Model-Based Systems Engineering Cookbook – Available on