April 2019 Newsletter

Spring Has Sprung

Spring flowers on Barrow's roundabouts
Spring Bulbs

With Easter upon us, its a time of renewal and new life. We love that just outside our offices we can see the signs of new leaves on the trees, beautifully planted Barrow Borough Council roundabouts and hanging baskets, and playful businesses selling their wares on the street.

For those of you used to reading the 3SL newsletter, you’ll see that there is a new broom sweeps clean, spring is the time to start afresh parable style link coming, so here goes….

Spring trees on Barrow high street
Spring Leaves

“Spring, the cycle will goes on  new shoots will grow from the old and the plant will expand. However, as any gardener knows,  pruning an old herbaceous plant, will result in more vigorous new life.”

Here it comes…..

“Whilst you may have systems in place, that sprout an odd shoot,  really vigorous process improvement will not occur on old gnarled wood.

Spring on Barrow high street
Spring Fun

Look hard at your processes give them a good hard prune, and reap the rewards. As a gardener needs sharp secateurs, good software tools help you manage your business, design and implementation processes. #Cradle from 3SL”

Beta Testing

We’re implementing the last tweaks to Cradle 7.5. Thanks for those who provided feedback. Look out for ReqIF import, Cradle Web Services, and alternative database storage.

G Cloud

g-cloud HMGovernment

We’re busy in the process of ensuring Cradle is available on the forthcoming  G-Cloud 11

Social Media


Skyways drone
Skyways drone

We trust no one fell for the April Fool, but we did like the thought of superfast fibre installation!

We wondered if #Airbus’ Skyways drone could be a way to ensure the martini is delivered shaken and not stirred to our luxury yacht. (mmmmm, we’ll have to buy one of those first).

And we revisited our functional / non-functional requirements post.

March 2019 Newsletter


Julius Caesar statue from Pexels.com
Julius Caesar

We made it through the Ides of March without any problems. However, it’s never good news if you leave your project to visions of a ‘Seer’. Whilst it would be nice to be able to have certainty over the outcome of a project, the truth is all we can do is be as prepared as we can and plan for those things we know. We also have to plan for the things that ‘might’ happen.


The things that we can’t predict for certainty are risks to the project or the business. Using a ‘Risk’ item type in Cradle is one way of recording the thoughts likelihood and severity of a risk. These risks could be cross-referenced to any of your project items. You could then add a ‘Mitigation’ item type  and cross reference it to the risk. Add a few categories to hold risk re-evaluation dates and your more or less done. A query showing these linked items gives you a printable risk register.

Risk register in Cradle - Don't leave it to a Seer
Risk Register – “Beware the Ides of March”
Risk Rule Set set-up
Risk Rule Set

With your choice of category values for the severity and likelihood and your choice of overall result, it is possible to set up a Cradle Ruleset to calculate the ‘result’ for your risk. We suggest you also add a further severity and likelihood column with values you perceive post mitigation in place. This will ensure you always believe the risk has been reduced following the application of your risk plan.

Beta Testing

Thank you to all the distributors and advanced customer currently testing the Cradle 7.5 software. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Social Media


Tweet about @renishawplc from @JumpstartRandD
@JumpstartRandD tweet @renishawplc

We had tasty chocolate Crêpe in the office for Shrove Tuesday. Can you Draw a Pancake Flow Diagram?

We were amazed at a direct brain injection method for drugs to possibly reverse Parkinson’s disease.

Don’t forget you can always @ include @threesl on any of your engineering tweets, and we may re-tweet them.

…and Finally.

circus tent - based on unsplash.com photo

Last month 3SL again donated to  Circus Starr “The Circus with a Purpose” ‘A touring circus boasting world-class, professional artists from across the globe. It was first founded in 1987 and provides free seats for thousands of disadvantaged, disabled or vulnerable children, whilst helping to raise much needed funds for local charities.’

It’s nice to put a smile onto someone’s face.

Is Nineteen a Magic Number?


A Number


It’s a number cardinally one more than 18, and one less than 20. It is a prime number, which some may class as mysterious . It can be prefixed with twenty, to start a long count down, or denote ‘this’ year (’20’-’19’).  Physics considers it one short of being magic in the sequence of nucleons in atomic shells (2, 8, 20, 50). In middle English nynetene derived from the concatenation of nigon + -tīene, but that does not make it magic. It was a political statement in a song by Paul Hardcastle, but it didn’t change the world.  It can be represented as XIX, 0x13, 10011 or |||| |||| |||| |||| but that does not make it magic. In the local shepherd counting dialect Cumbric, a Brittonic Celtic language,  it is Medder-a-Mimph (4 & 15),  which may sound magical, but casts no spell. It is a rather dark grey html color:rgb(19, 19, 19)▉ . Overall, there appears to be little significance to the number 19.

Too Few or Too Many?

However, in terms of Requirements, it could be a magic number. It does depend on your view point.

Dashboards showing ranges where 19 is good, insufficient or bad
19 A magic number?

Our example dashboard shows the same 19 Requirements could be considered Good, Insufficient or Over the top! If our example manufacturer is measuring the number of requirements for their  Information Display Unit, they could conceivably be happy with anything over 15 top level user requirements. Nineteen in this case would be considered in the happy zone and for this project a magic number. However, if these were the internal system requirements, experience tells them anything less than 200 is a bit short on detail 19 is certainly not magic. If these are specific regional variations to the product anything more than 10 may mean this is a different product, is suffering requirements creep and not just a variant, a little too much magic.


It is important to know what you are measuring and why. You can’t just say a number of requirements is good, bad or insufficient, until you know the context. Setting the parameter limits correctly, for the data you are trying to capture and analyse, is as important as capturing the data itself.

Sometimes these values have to be based on gut feeling. It’s better if they can be based on experience and foundationally more sound if they can be based on measured past experience.  So it’s important to remember, you could have a dashboard show you all green, and your project could still be in a rather brown mire.

We would like you to share your thoughts or experiences on choosing limits, or why nineteen is a magic number. We may include your comments in future updates, so please email social-customer@threesl.com


Work Experience 2019

Work Experience – Introduction

Work Experience is a chance for young people to gain knowledge of what an average working day in a certain place is like. It is also used to demonstrate how to handle the step from school to work.

St. Bernard’s school have recently  sent year 10 on a week’s work experience to various work placements from 11th to the 15th February 2019, one of them being here at 3SL.

The first day , Monday included the introduction to the workplace and what it was about. The product produced is called Cradle, after a brief introduction we were given a Tutorial on how the product functioned. This meant that over the week tasks that included the use of Cradle became easier to do.

The second day required knowledge of Cradle, as the main task was to test functions from the previous update – 7.4 .  One test being shown below;

Testing Example

Test number TC-13644 with pass
Test number TC-13644
for Cradle 7.4 with a pass

Our task was to go through each test and find out if it passed and if not why not , above is an example of one of the tests that was passed.

The third day – Wednesday called for the design of a data set. The task was to present understanding of the way data was represented. The task was done by entering the  stationery into  a database that was started from scratch.

stationary checker for the stationary in 3SL to see how much equipment is used in the office.
Stationary checker for the stationary in 3SL to see how much equipment is used in the office.

The fourth day was specifically for training for later life – CVs and a mock interview. The morning was set for the purpose of writing the CVs as well as this the day was taken up with a design task. The problem was a pretend company needed a more efficient way of packaging their goods. This had to be accomplished without using unnecessary pay and manual labour.  The task –  to come up with the requirements needed to accomplish such an operation.

The second part of the day was used for the mock interview. This was a process that gave an experience of being interviewed for a job. Questions that were more general were added. Subject specific questions , all the questions asked were and example of what might be expected in a real interview.

Design task

design task snapshot
Snap Shot of the design task showing the requirements and the diagrams

The fifth day, Friday, was used to learn about media and it’s effect on company. This was put into effect by the job of writing  about the tasks set during the week of work experience . This was to be posted on 3SL’s website.

At the end of the week , the experience was used to teach about the work environment and what to expect after the jump from school to work.


Josh B , Iwan C – St Bernards

click here for St. Bernards twitter  feed

St. Bernards Catholic High School's logo
St. Bernards Catholic High School’s logo








February 2019 Newsletter


Chinese year of the pig 2019
Year of the pig 2019

Welcome to the shortest Gregorian month of the year. Or 新年快乐!3SL 祝愿我们的所有客户,合作伙伴和供应商 2019 吉祥如意!to our Chinese customers  and friends.

However, just because it is a short month, there’s no excuse not to achieve quality work. Whether that be using the ancient Chinese elements of  metal, water, wood, fire, and earth, or modern applications of finance,  medicine, or software, good data management is key.

Same Data Different Views

Using Start Page to simplify
Start Page – Simplification

Managing your project and having everyone using singly centred data makes sure you have control over the project. Too many times we hear that projects have failed because one department or section have been working on one part of a project and have not realised their requirements or data is out of sync with another.  Being smarter with your data in 2019 is a great goal. As a customer you probably already have projects set up in Cradle. However, you may not have all the data related to your project in the central store. There are often a number of reasons that data ends up in disparate pots. Here, we try to offer solutions in some of those scenarios.


Scenario Solution
Some staff shouldn’t alter anything in an item, but do need to see the information. Ownership, Teams / Team hierarchies and Baselines are all used as part of the standard access control to items. Privileges control who can see what.
Not all staff are permitted to see the data associated with an item. Use skills to restrict access to individual frames of information, or whole item types.
Some staff shouldn’t alter categories of an item. Use skills to make appropriate categories Read Only in the UI
The stages of the project are complex. It’s difficult to know where to find what. Building  Project Phases recognises the steps, queries, reports, matrices, actions and so forth that are associated with different periods of the project. Knowing that you are in the development stage and having all the appropriate queries grouped together in the Phase tree makes it easy to find the current work items.
Cradle screens are too complicated for some users who just need to see one aspect of the product. Adding a Start Page which only presents the actions pertinent to a particular user / group of users, can vastly simplify the choices available to the user.
Some users just perform a limited number of tasks against an item. They don’t want huge menu choices. View Commands allow customised menu options for actions on items shown in a query. (combine with a start page for an efficient led guide through your process minimising complexity)
Different tasks require different aspects of an item to be viewed. Whilst Cradle offers many automated views and forms to get you up and running, they are all fully customisable. Try opening the view or form closest to your needs, modifying it and then saving it. These can be saved in ‘folders’ relevant to the user, type of user or for the whole project.
We’re not all in the office but still need to see project information. Web Access  allows worldwide connection to your Cradle project without the need for an installation. Just fire up a browser to gain access.

Social Media


Buzz Aldrin 85th Birthday
Happy Birthday Buzz tweet

We were pleased to see what was achieved by engineers 40 years ago landing on the moon. Happy 85th Buzz. What do you think we will achieve this year, that will still be talked about 40 years hence? Let us know on social-customer@threesl.com


alternative use of SysML
SysML Use Tweet

We mused at snow falling on 3SL towers, and pondered over the unusual uses of SysML and cheered at #CumbriaDay

Cumbria Day 2019

Lethera, Sethera, Pimp, Methera, Thethera, Tyan, Yan!

It’s Cumbria Day 2019!

3SL is a la'la bit Cumbrian
La’al bit Cumbrian

Whilst you’ll know the Cumbria and the Lake District is renowned for beautiful scenery and countryside, it’s also home to many great businesses and people.


From tourism and regional foods, to high-tech to heavy engineering there’s a great range of opportunities in this fair green land.

3SL a Proud Cumbrian Business

3SL (Structured Software Systems Limited) have been here in Barrow-in-Furness for over 30 years . We are a software producer selling a product that  is used worldwide. The main team is a strong Cumbrian workforce, staff who are subsequently working elsewhere in the UK and Europe are always welcomed back to their home office.

Cumbria Day 2019 logo
Cumbria Day 2019


You can checkout more on Twitter with #CumbriaDay.

If you email us a link today, to your Cumbrian business, we’ll try and give you a mention. Watch this space!

January 2019 Newsletter

January – Looking into 2019

To the Romans ‘Janus’, for which this month is a special celebration, was the guardian god of portals, and gates, the patron of beginnings and endings.

The word appears to have derived from c. 1500, from the  Latin Ianus, meaning “gate, arched passageway,”

The deity is said to have two heads one looking to the past and one looking to the future.

Janus - Looking back - Looking Forward

So why not make a new year’s resolution to ensure you modernise those remaining projects in your company? Take control and ditch the old, unlinked, discord of separate tools and repositories and ensure all the data is linked and traced in Cradle. From project beginnings to successful endings, from concept to creation and through your product’s life – look forward not backwards with Cradle.

Looking Forward

We’re hard at work implementing features for Cradle 7.5 giving you more ways to get your data in and out of Cradle. Follow our newsletters, blogposts and twitter, facebook and linkedIn pages to stay abreast of the updates coming in 2019.

Cradle Release

If you didn’t get a chance before the Christmas break, make sure you go into the new year with the latest version of Cradle – 7.4.2. This will ensure you have the latest features and the bug tweaks in place.  To answer a common question that support are asked, “Yes you can have the new features included in a 7.4.n release for free if you have a 7.4 code.”

All Spent Up?

Cradle Software As A Service
Cradle SAAS subscription product

Don’t forget if you need a cost effective way to bring Cradle on line for 2019 and have little capital budget left in your 2018/2019 pot…..

Cradle Subscriptions option is a SaaS (Software as a Service) product which is a cost effective way to get up and running with 3SL’s requirements management and systems engineering tool.

There are also different hosting options, for further information see the product announcement.

Social Media


Tweet about future of aviation
@AtkinsGlobal tweet

What are the predictions for the future? We liked this tweet from @AtkinsGlobal highlighting the International Air Transport Association @IATA ‘s   vision for the future.

We highlighted how you can have many categories in one field.


Successful Assessment – Cyber Essentials 2019 (inc GDPR)

Cyber Essentials

3SL are pleased to announce we have been successful in our assessment under the Cyber Essentials scheme for another year.

Cyber Essentials logo
Cyber Essentials logo

Cyber Essentials is a Government-backed, industry-supported scheme to help organisations protect themselves against common online threats.


We have also been successful in our assessment for the IASME standard and in the assessment under GDPR.


The IASME Governance standard, based on international best practice, is risk-based and includes aspects such as physical security, staff awareness, and data backup. It is recognised as the best cyber security standard for small companies by the UK Government when in consultation with trade associations and industry groups.

These assessments should give you an added layer of confidence when dealing with 3SL. We would thoroughly recommend our customers use similar precautions for their businesses.  No matter how good your security, the unexpected may happen, a power loss to your server a broken water pipe flooding your machine room. So alongside good data security, we would also recommend a good backup plan for your Cradle data.

Cradle-7.4.2 Released

3SL is pleased to announce the release of Cradle-7.4.2.

This is available for download from the 3SL website. This has some handy new features and fixes. Which are in place to improve your overall Cradle experience .

Cradle-7.4.2 is the latest patch release for Cradle-7.4, so is completely compatible with your 7.4 security code. Users with 7.4 do not need a new code and can download and install without charge. Users on older versions of Cradle, with maintenance, can move to this version at any time by requesting a new code from 3SL support.

Cradle 7.4.2
Cradle 7.4.2


New features

Matrix Item Attribute / Navigation Filtering

showing teams that transitively link to a requirement
Transitive Links

In a standard matrix, would show as a fully populated grid. However, whilst Team A does provide part of Service 1, they do not provide the element which satisfies Requirement 7 or any part of Requirement 10. Those are provided by Team B.

Showing all links even those not desired
Complete Matrix

Cradle has always provided the facility to add textual attributes to the cross reference between items. In this example, choosing the link between Service 1 and Requirement 7 we could add Team A to note that Team A provides that element of the service. The new feature lets you filter the matrix results in the transitive cells by adding a Regex filter to the navigation being followed. This will look for a match between the attribute of the item and the text in the cross reference. In this case looking for the item Identity will give the following result.

Showing the results of filtering the item attributes agains the cross reference attributes
Attribute Filtered Matrix

Cross Reference Attributes

Allow restriction to a set of pre-defined values. Allow replacement or append behaviour when selecting from a list.


Upgrade OpenSSL and TLS to support TLS v1.3


An improvement in the behaviour dealing with pre-existing adaptation links.


  • Issue when importing change history with overwrite set to on.
  • The symbol resize handles were not working correctly.

Full details of the fixes in this release are in the Cradle help.

December 2018 Newsletter

It’s Beginning to Feel A Lot Like….

3SL Snowflake bauble
Christmas 2018
  • Cross bullet pointThere should have been some acceptance tests associated with these requirements.
  • Cross bullet pointThe customer’s changes might be what they want for Christmas, but we’re unsure of the impact
  • Cross bullet pointThere might not be enough time to finish this project by the end of the year.
  • Cross bullet pointWe’ll forget the designs in our heads after a few party sherries and not know what to do in January.
  • Tick bullet point It’s time to relax and enjoy the festive period, our project is in Cradle.

Whilst we’re sure our customers align with the last point, its worth noting these seasonal holiday reminders.

Discussions dialog showing multiple comments
Discussions Dialog in WorkBench

Cradle Subscriptions

Mini Poll

Results of the SaaS verses traditional ownership poll
SaaS ‘v’ Traditional Ownership Poll

We asked you about subscription products. You answered our Mini Poll, and said that ‘horses for courses’ is the rule of thumb when selecting SaaS or conventional ownership. We’re happy to say Cradle is available in whichever guise suits your business.

Cradle Release

showing the setting up of matrix variables in a navigation
Navigation with MATRIX variables

The latest release of Cradle 7.4.2 contains a new Matrix feature. A matrix allows items linked items to be shown as a set of rows and columns with the cells representing the links between them. It is also possible to show the items in the rows linked to the items in the columns via a third item type represented in the cell. For example, rows representing requirements, columns representing results and the items in the cells representing the tests between the two. The new feature lets users filter the items shown in the matrix cells based on the value of a column or row item appearing in the cross reference attribute. This is set up as part of the navigation that is followed between items.

We have also upgraded our OpenSSL to use version 1.3 TLS.

There are a number of small bug fixes including diagram drawings, workflows, importing with overwrite.

As usual anyone with a current 7.4 code is entitled to download the latest release. Anyone with current maintenance is entitled to upgrade any previous version to this latest release.

Black Friday / Cyber Monday

Well done if you managed to take advantage of our £50 per licence/product deal.



We had a great time at INCOSE EMEASEC 2018 conference in Berlin and enjoyed meeting all those who visited us.
Missed the conference or our stand? Don’t forget you can still download an evaluation copy of Cradle

Social Media


clever engineering loo on the moveWe love keeping an eye on what’s new in the field of engineering. Did you realise how much the humble loo on the move has changed? #WorldToiletDay

We celebrated Saint Andrew’s Day  by constructing a COD (Collaboration diagram) showing how the Picts and Scots faced the Angles.