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Origin of Spike

The origins of Spike Prototype


The origin of Spike was the experience of gathering control system requirements in an incomplete design environment. The process engineers just wanted the plant built and the control system was inevitably a costly afterthought, bringing to light poor decisions that were now going to have to be rectified at much greater cost.  ‘There is never enough time to do the design job right, but always enough time to do it twice’ was the mantra of the engineering design house. And there is an element of truth to this. Design development is , by its nature iterative, but Waterfall based project execution does not sit well with iterative trial-and-error development, which is how software is developed. So get the system design completed on time, and as long as the Customer pays for the ‘changes’  (or mistakes, depending on your point of view) , then everything is fine. Right? This is effectively trial-and-error design anyway.

In the five years we have been developing Spike and putting it in front of clients, the design has certainly pivoted. So it is now more accurate to say that the design of Spike is a culmination of a lot of feedback gleamed from would-be Client based face time, client training courses, full blown client trials, and actual customers. We have surveyed and pitched and listened to a vast array of process based industries in different international markets. This feedback gets into our Team Foundation Server as a feature request for the next sprint release of Spike. Every trade show we have ever been at, has resulted in fevered interest in Spike on the one hand, with the inevitable ‘but how will this fit in with our current systemic design process’ on the other.The Ying of ‘Wow where has this been all my life’ counterbalanced with the Yang of ‘but how can i quantify the ROI?’ If we have learned one thing, it is that Clients want what Spike promises to deliver; an easier and quicker way to visualise and capture the engineers DCS & MES and general Factory Automation requirements and then export the resulting specification. Perhaps auto generate the code for his specific platform. Spike may not deliver all of this yet, but with our Clients support it will. And when that happens, there is no going back to the dark old days of reverse engineering requirements from proprietary platforms,overpriced software consultants,  software delivery schedule slippages, and 30% software budget overruns. There is only the ‘new’ way. ‘Have you spiked that P&ID yet?’ And pretty soon, it will be a staple of the engineering design house and client and SI alike,  just like 3D BIM (building information management) is today.


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