May 2021 Newsletter

Up or Down, Left or Right, Design Requirement or Nice to Have?

Different view points cars on hill
Different View Points

Your view point of the same problem can determine what is most important to you. This can vary with the present instance in time, the current development stage, your financial exposure, the current risks and so on. Different groups will also have different perspectives on the same project. These may be from the view of a stakeholder, a designer, a product manufacturer or safety analyst.

Up or Down

To illustrate this consider a car moving on a hill. There will be a perspective shift  depending whether you are currently driving up or down. Whether at that point in time the importance is the engine or the brakes. The engine design department will have an interest in making the vehicle powerful enough to meet the performance requirements. However, the brake designers will be concerned in how heavy the engine will make the vehicle. The sales team will be interested in the power and acceleration, the safety manager in meeting the stopping distance standards. Everyone is looking at the same overall project. Each group has a slightly different view.


Make sure your statements are unambiguous, don’t say left or right if there is no context of forward/backward. “The Data Entry swipe shall be placed to the Left of the door”, when you are facing the door or having walked through it? “The pipeline will turn Right at the harbour entrance….” without context of North and South this could be meaningless. If you were using directions stick to West  and East, if you are describing a layout stick to a grid or co-ordinates with a defined origin.

Single Source

The importance of good design is capturing the information once and then providing routes or view points to this singular source of data. The ‘performance’ criteria should link to both the acceleration and torque requirements as well as the breaking expectations. We should be able to look at a system design element and trace to the user requirement that raised it. Equally we should be able to view the original requirement and trace through the design to the test that shows the project provides what was asked for. It is also important to consider how this data is displayed;  graphically, hierarchically, textually, within a tool or within a document or presentation. By using a single data repository you can be sure that whatever form or view is required it is based on a homogeneous system rather than disparate parts.

Considering the different audiences your Cradle contents may have, think and discuss with 3SL the best way to present this. Some methods are highlighted in this video.

Training Course

The public training course for May covered Requirements Management. We’re lining up for June’s Document Publisher course on the 23rd-24th. Book now if you would like to reserve a place. These public courses are open to all, great if you only have a couple of people needing training, or wish to get feedback from other candidates using the product. If you want a course specific to your company or with tailored content please don’t hesitate to contact

Social Media


Lockheed Martin May 2021 Tweet
Lockheed Martin May 2021 Tweet

We were impressed in the iterative lifecycle savings made over multiple productions of a product class, in Lockheed Martin‘s tweet.

We hope you had a good St. George’s Day. We remembered how simple ‘push-to-talk’ used a protocol to ensure everyone took their turn and illustrated it with a sequence diagram.


That’s all for our May 2021 Newsletter, but let us know if you got any more than the 17 disasters waiting to happen in our health and safety post by either replying to the Tweet, or emailing us at

April 2021 Newsletter

Chicken or Egg

3SL Easter egg

If you celebrated Easter, you will probably have received an egg. These days they are usually chocolate covered in bright foil which is a modern twist on the dyed and patterned eggs used for centuries.
This April 2021 newsletter looks at the age old argument of which came first the chicken or the egg. It is fairly straightforward in terms of the chocolate version! However, which comes first the requirement or the solution?  Ideally we follow the sequence:

    • User requirement elicitation,
    • System requirements,
    • Design / Solution,
    • Validation/ Test

Real Life

However, we all recognise that doesn’t always happen. The important thing is we  recognise when there is a constraint, and when the client is presenting a pre-formed solution because they believe that’s the answer.

Take for example a wind turbine operator who has a number of offshore facilities, which, when load is low, produce hydrogen by electrolysis at point of generation (minimising electrical transfer losses). If the client approaches with the requirement for a boat to bring the hydrogen ashore, there are two possible scenarios. They have not looked at the bigger picture – a pipeline may be more efficient, or they have investigated the alternatives and a vessel is what’s most practical. In the latter case the requirement is most definitely for a boat. However, if we are approached with a requirement for the boat to have a built in tank to transfer so many thousands of litres of liquid hydrogen, we may be in a different position.

Know Your Domain

If our industry expertise shows that the fitting of a number of individual standard transport container shaped hydrogen storage units could be better it should be discussed. We may be able to demonstrate the transport, over land to the nearest gas network connection point, would negate the need to build pipework to the docks. Here the user requirement has been unnecessarily limited by a proposed solution. We  are in a strong position to help elicit the base requirement, and then provide a more appropriate system requirement for the vessel.  Recognising that the customer has ‘built a solution into their requirement’ is part of our job to evaluate.  In this instance we have a chicken (boat constraint) we’re just not sure of the breed (type of boat/tank arrangement) will need to be laid!


The earlier in the engineering process that these concepts can be discussed, perhaps presenting a range of options the better. Left shift of the process can prevent costly mistakes. Especially if you blindly implement the initial requirement without providing your industry expertise.

    • Initial user requirement
    • Preliminary suggested solutions and optional system requirements
    • Revisit and further elicitation of user requirements
    • System requirements based on agreed constraints and refined user requirements
    • A design and solution that best solves the underlying problem
    • Validation and test

Further reading about a related topic,  functional and non-functional requirements, can be found in this article.


New Cradle Features

Risk graph exampleWe highlighted Risk Management and the new Cradle Risk Module in our March mailshot.

We also noted how you can add formalised lists to Cradle items in our FAQ section.


Training Course

The next public training course is for requirements management in May – Public Online Training Course – Requirements Management May 2021. Book your place to avoid disappointment. These courses are open to all, if you want a course specific to your company or with tailored content please don’t hesitate to contact

Social Media


Integral Powerchain Tweet March 2021
Integral Powerchain Tweet March 2021

We acknowledged the size of the ‘system’ when talking about a whole county’s EV infrastructure, in Integral Powerchain‘s tweet.

We hope you had a good St. Patrick’s Day,  we noted the benefits of virtualisation.  We were amazed at the very beginning of April by the advances in ‘Quantum Computation!!!’


That’s all for our April 2021 Newsletter, we hope you haven’t eaten too much chocolate!

March 2021 Newsletter

Mad March

Leaping hare based on Photo by Vincent van Zalinge
Spring into Action

The spring equinox is between 19th/20th March this year, in the North this signals the start of new growth for the year. Whilst there may be some debate between the astrological and meteorological communities (23.44° axis tilt to the sun or the start of a block of 3 months) in the Northern hemisphere it certainly signifies longer and warmer days.

Traditionally we might fly round the house and office running a spring clean after we have been hunkered down over the winter. (Although in 2021 we seem to have been hunkered down for the last 12 months! This month sees a year for many, including 3SL staff, working from home.)  This surge in activity can be a bit chaotic if it is not planned and controlled. In fact the surge of activity at the beginning of the hare mating season gives rise to the English idiom mad as a March hare.

Tearing up a list of requirements, designs or processes would be a bit wild. Generally evolution is better than revolution when it comes to engineering. However, sometimes a design of a long-standing  product, or honed process, may become tired. It will have had sticky plaster on sticky plaster to alter and tweak it. New technologies, new materials and processes may be available on the market, so it is always good to have a review and plan the next solution. Make the decision whether it is a new broom sweeps clean or just a spring tidy.

A rush of activity is good, but plan it. If you are playing with a design, make an adaptation of if rather than tweaking the current working design. (see white-paper ra00407-Reuse_Adaptations.pdf). Compare the solutions and agree to move forward, make another iteration, or wipe the slate. Involve the team and spring into action for 2021.
Just a note though; Whilst we always advocate a good cuppa (or coffee if you prefer) and a meeting (virtual or otherwise), we’re not suggesting endless tea breaks and procrastination meetings with the Mad Hatter…..

Cradle Release

Cradle 7.6 splash screen
Cradle 7.6

Don’t forget if you have not downloaded the latest version of Cradle 7.6,  see the release announcement, and update today!

If you have a single user version, don’t forget to take advantage of the 20% discount before the end of the month.

Training Course

The next public training course is for requirements management in May –  Public Online Training Course – Requirements Management May 2021. Book your place to avoid disappointment. These courses are open to all, if you want a course specific to your company or with tailored content please don’t hesitate to contact

Social Media


ISO Cool Tweet Feb 2021

We liked the IsoCool  holistic design view of ensuring processes with heating and cooling requirements can use a transfer rather than disparate systems.

We noted there are different storage mechanisms in Cradle. And celebrated St David’s Day.


We hope you enjoyed our March 2021 Newsletter, if you have any suggestions for future content please drop us a line


February 2021 Newsletter

0.001, 0.01, 0.1, 1, 10, 100, 1000

Monetary sub divisions, we are these days, quite familiar with. However, mathematically simple and consistent measurements certainly have not always been the case. The units and ratios we have used in the past had their benefits, and also their complications.

Lsd ( ell-ess-DEE)

5 Pennies does not equal 5 pennies

This was the popular name for the once common pre-decimal currencies throughout Europe. Spread by the Romans, it was the king of the Franks that standardised the non-decimal ratios between them. Librae, solidi and denarii were introduced into Britain in the late 8th century by King Offa. The British coins became £sd or pounds, shillings and pence.  Money like many of the other measurements, such as length, mass and volume had evolved from various systems used locally and built upon when exchange or trade became necessary.

Europe switched to decimal relationships in the 18th and 19th centuries. The UK held out until the 20th before swapping. Fifty years ago on February the 15th the UK switched to the decimal system. There was now a simple decimal relationship between the pound and it’s sub divided part the penny, of  1:100, rather than 240. Out went Shillings, Thropences, Florins and Crowns.  However, whist all major transactions and banking rounded to the penny, for small value items there was a need for another sub division. It was decided 0.1p was too small to be of use in the conversion between old and new so the ½p or half penny at 200th’s of a £ was part of the mix. It remained so until 1984!


The switch took around 18 months to complete. Shop keepers often showed dual prices using the agreed conversion tables, to make it easier for shoppers to make the switch. This swap was remarkably quick compared to the change to the metric system. Hundreds of different measures were localised, and it took the French revolution to kick-start the change to decimally divided measurements based on natural physical constants. From 1799 it was around 50 years before various decrees and the spreading of standards really took hold. Seeing no reason to change, the UK other than those in the scientific communities who needed to share data remained with the non-decimal  non-metric measures until the mid 20th century. 


Unit display in Cradle

There is an importance to uniform measure and units to make sure everyone uses the definition. In Cradle labelling the column of the View or the element in the Form can make it more clear to the reader what the value represents. A description can be added to the category itself which will be displayed as a tool-tip. Additionally you may want an additional category with a set of units that the user can choose from. This will also make for easy querying and sorting (for example search for all components specified in feet)

Cradle Release

Cradle 7.6 splash screen
Cradle 7.6

At the beginning of February we released Cradle 7.6. Details of the new features (Risk Management and Test Execution and Recording) and updates to existing functionality can be found in our Release announcement. Keep an eye on the upcoming blog articles detailing their use. Full details of all the changes are included in the release notes included with the download.

For those with maintenance, if you have not downloaded the software and requested a new security code, contact 3SL support so you can upgrade for free.

If you have a single user version, because this is a minor version release (as opposed to a patch) you will need to buy the latest version to take advantage of some of the feature updates.
Please note that some features, such as the new Test and Risk module, are not available in the single user versions and you must check their suitability on our products comparison page.

Training Courses

Don’t forget to check and book onto the Cradle Public training courses.  The full calendar, and any updates, are available here. If you want a consultation, or tailored training just for your team contact

Cyber Essentials

Cyber Essentials Badge
Cyber Essentials Badge

We were pleased to announce, earlier this month,  another successful assessment under the Cyber Essentials scheme.

We think this scheme helps instil confidence when dealing with online companies and would encourage all our customers to consider using it or similar.

Social Media


FramatomeTtweet 2021
Framatome Tweet 2021

We looked at the advances made in nuclear fuels by Framatome

We highlighted how 3SL provide a set of Q&A for anyone writing a tool evaluation. 3SL also wished well all those celebrating the new lunar year bringing in the Chinese new year of the Ox.


January 2021 Newsletter

Happy New Year, I promise to…..

antibacterial and gloves

Whatever promises and resolutions you make we hope you manage to keep some of them. However, rather than some grand gesture of promising to give up chocolate bars and to do more exercise, we should also look at process habits that need to change. We’ve all got into the good habit of hand sanitising every time we enter a shop. The problem is when this habit / muscle memory becomes so engrained, we do it without thinking, a bit of disaster when you realise you are still wearing your winter mittens.

The same is true for business processes. It’s great when they become second nature, endemic, without having to refer to the policy again and again, but this can also be a hazard. If the situation, requirement or supply chain alters in some way, indoctrinated processes and solutions can be implemented without sufficient thought or review. So this new year make a note to ensure you check the mitigation still matches the hazard, the process is still suitable for the new requirements. If necessary plan and record exceptions and variations. Of course, use Cradle to record and track.

Training Courses

Cradle online training course
Cradle Online Training

We are offering a number of public training courses. These are ideal for companies who don’t need a tailored course or have only one or two staff members requiring instruction. They are run on-line with a member of 3SL instructing. This year we will cover Requirements Management, Document Publisher and System Administration. The full calendar, and any updates,  are available here.


3SL is fully committed to a continuation of supply of software, training and consultancy. We continue to work with our worldwide distributors and expect there to be little change as far as the end Cradle user is concerned. In the EU your data will either be handled by an EU distributor or by 3SL in the UK. At present all protections and EU data laws have UK equivalents. We will inform you of any changes where necessary should these laws and rules diverge in the future.

Cradle Release

Risk RAM and TER Test Execution & Recording

Now in the final testing stages the new release (7.6) will be out soon – Watch for news. Those under maintenance will receive general updates and features for free. Those without maintenance or using single user products will need to purchase an upgrade to 7.6 from earlier point releases. We are also adding two new modules. You’ll be able to download an evaluation copy if you want to look at the  Risk Management and Test Execution and Recording features before purchasing a licence.

Social Media


PNNL Dec 2020 Tweet
PNNL Dec 2020 Tweet

We liked the way researchers were overcoming difficulties to monitor underwater impact of renewable energy sources.

We reminded readers to think holistically, where your bubble boundary ends is your context. However, there are often other or greater systems in the whole scheme.
That’s all for the January 2021 Newsletter, but if there are any topics you would like to see discussed drop us a line at

December 2020 Newsletter

Oh Baubles!

Baubles - Photo by Burak K from Pexels

Decorating a tree in the winter months has been a very long tradition. It has been used to celebrate Christmas by Christians since mediæval times, spreading from Northern Europe, through Germany. Popularity in the UK was driven by Queen Victoria from 1832 onwards. Fruits, berries, candy canes and biscuits/pastries have all been used to bring cheer over the years.   From the mid 1500s glass ornaments from Lauscha began to spread in popularity (Modern examples of the preservation of this art ). These artisan glass globes took much skill and time to create. From 1880 Woolworths started selling Lauscha glass ornaments, by 1910 these were available across the whole of the USA.

Engineering to the Rescue

Consumer demand required mass production techniques. Now millions of  these sparkly globes are available very cheaply. These days they are frequently blown or  injection moulded plastic. The story of the bauble is a typical demand led example of engineering product development. However, it has also been possible to scale up mass produced glass. Vitbis in Poland produces 200,000 baubles a day!. Some include very intricate hand crafted designs.


Paper Christmas tree
Paper Christmas tree

The office Christmas may well be a bit different this year. Fears over handling decorations, being unable to disinfect the extra surfaces may well prohibit their use.  It may also be, as with 3SL, most staff are still working from home.

For a bit of fun Christmas paper engineering, you may like to download our DIY paper tree, for you own desk at work or home. ( Take a photo and Tweet it @threesl )

And here’s a bit of recycling – What happened to the little boy who ate the shiny streamers off the Christmas tree – He caught tinselitus! (If you want to read about the history of tinsel another Christmas manufacturing story see ‘a tinsel tale ‘ from  @festive_UK who manufacture miles of the stuff in Cwmbran.

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas based on Photo by from Pexels
Season’s Greetings

May we take this opportunity to wish you, our wonderful customers, suppliers and distributors,  season’s greetings and a peaceful and happy Christmas. We wish you all the best in 2021.


Well I don’t think any of us could have predicted 2020 would pan out the way it did. We know it has been tough for everyone and our sympathies go to all those who have lost someone dear.

  • New year started with gusto. 3SL gearing up for the next release of Cradle
  • Covid hits and 3SL, along with many of our customers learn to cope with a different set of 4 walls.
  • 3SL staff work from home implementing the Cradle 7.6
  • 3SL offers its first public training courses in the UK swapped to virtual training forums due to the restrictions.
  • We take the opportunity to add some refinements to database processing in the CDS (Cradle Database Server).
  • We gain JOSCAR accreditation.
  • Cradle is once again offered through the latest G-Cloud  12 UK public contracts site.
  • Structured Software Systems Limited posts one of its best performances in its 30+ year history

Social Media


Northrop Grumman Tweet Nov 2020
Northrop Grumman Tweet

We marvelled at how nano layers can shun water with new connectors from @NorthropGrumman

Don’t forget to share your favourite engineering stories with #LoveEngineering

We ‘tried’ to keep quiet about our Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal. We reminded you that #Cradle can be used to perform simple calculations on your item’s data.

And Finally

As you read this December 2020 newsletter, please take a moment to remember the many charities and causes that have struggled over this year, and if you are able, dig into your pockets.

November 2020 Newsletter


Alternative methods for Requirements Management vote
Vote for Cradle

Well no one can say it hasn’t been an interesting month for politics. To start our November 2020 newsletter, we offer congratulations to Joe Biden, expected to be confirmed as the President-Elect of the United States.

Polls and votes are a method of gathering opinion. A consensus or agreement may be in a majority, or unanimous. Just as there is undeniably more than one way to run a country, there is usually more than one way to solve a requirement.  Configuration management is a method of recording the status of a project at a particular point in time. This could be a simple snapshot, but is more meaningful if there is a recorded agreement between stakeholders that a consensus was also reached. We term this a review, and you can read about why they are important in our article The Value of Reviews.

Cradle Review Options

Cradle reviews follow a workflow for each item type. That workflow is used  to control how an item after a review is allowed to proceed.

It’s unlikely you’d be able to mandate all electorate turn out to vote, and in the same way you can choose how many reviewers must make a decision. You certainly can’t ask all the electorate to vote the same way, and a review must allow you to accept a less than unanimous decision.

The supported options in Cradle are:

Reviewers required for decisionAll, Any, Several, Majority, Most
Decision methodUnanimous, Any approve, Any reject, Majority, Most.

You can find out more information in Cradle Help


Illustration of Results - based on Photo by fauxels from Pexels

At the end of September, Structured Software Systems Limited, completed its latest financial year.

Managing director Mark Walker said, “We are pleased to say that this has been our most successful year in 3SL’s 30 year history.”

    • Turnover increased 15%,
    • Turnover split equally between 3SL here in the UK and our worldwide network of partners
    • Exports amounted to 67% of turnover
    • Our new SaaS services amounted to 7.5% of turnover in its first full year
    • Over 95% of customers renewed their maintenance
    • Every one of our customer feedback surveys compliments our support as among the best in the industry, both for responsiveness and depth of knowledge

We would like to thank all of our customers, both those new to 3SL and those we have been serving for 20 or more years. We continue to work to help you all to derive maximal benefit from Cradle!

Public Training Courses

Public Online Training CourseWhilst 2020’s courses were all online, we will begin to look ahead to 2021’s public courses and offer as appropriate online or training room based sessions.

Our last course for 2020

11th-12th November 2020 Document Publisher Details

Public training options are ideal if only a few people in your organisation need to be introduced to a Cradle topic. It also allow you to share the experience with other users and there’s always the benefit that they may ask a question you’d not thought about!

Whether it is  Requirements Management, or Systems Engineering, Document Publishing or Loading our training can cover everything “Cradle” and the aspects of RM and SE. Of course we will create bespoke and in depth training for any customer who wishes to tailor training to their company process, however, if there is a topic you would definitely like to see offered in one of our public courses, please drop us a line:

Social Media


SSE Heritage's Tweet Oct 2020 Sloy Hydro Powerstation Power
Sloy Power Station

We liked the way that some engineering just keeps on ticking, simple and effective, Loch Sloy Hydro  power station can reach full capacity within 5 minutes from a standing start! The SSEHeritage‘s tweet about it celebrates 70 years since inception.

Don’t forget to share you favourite engineering stories with #LoveEngineering

We also tweeted about the flexibility of Cradle definitions remember your tools should work for your business processes and not the other way round.

And Finally

Whether you are commemorating foiling the Guy Fawkes plot or celebrating Thanksgiving this month, operate fireworks safely.

October 2020 Newsletter


School room - Learning goes on Photo by - Stephen Paris from Pexels
School Room

It’s been a challenging year for all. One of the biggest impacts has been in the education sector and we hope all students have now had a month to to settle into a new ‘normal’ as schools, universities and colleges return. Some have found the various lock-downs an opportunity to learn a new skill, study an online course or just get round to reading all those trade and profession journals that appear to mount in our in-boxes.

Learning should never stop, whether in the classroom, online, or as you work from your peers. One of the other vital learning opportunities is from evaluations during and after a project. Call it “Learn from your mistakes” or “Process improvement” the results should be the same; a closed feedback loop is essential. In Cradle you could add a new item type, add a frame to an item or set up a separate evaluations project. The important point is that the data coming out of the discussions and evaluations is recorded and linked to the items giving rise to that feedback. Too often ‘wash-ups’ can be seen as a tick in a management check-box. The lessons can be completely forgotten next time a similar project is undertaken. By recording this information linked to the original project, they can form input to your next design.

Public Training Courses

Fortuitously, we’ve just mentioned ‘learning’ so its a good time to remind you to book onto one of the #Cradle 2020 Public Training courses

21st-22nd October 2020 Requirements Management Details
11th-12th November 2020 Document Publisher Details

Cradle Release

Risk RAM and TER Test Execution & Recording

We’ve held onto the current release Cradle 7.6, mentioned last quarter, in order to complete some performance enhancements. This means these improvements will be released at the same time as the new Risk Management and Test Execution and Recording features.

Staying Safe

We could write our own article about security and staying safe online when working at home, but we thought this article by the BCS – (British Computer Society) – said it all!

G-Cloud 12

3SL are pleased to announce that Cradle is available as a packaged SaaS through the latest UK government digital marketplace G-Cloud 12.

G-Cloud 12 - 3SL software, training & consultancy
G-Cloud 12

The UK marketplace offers Cloud Software applications and other services, over a wide range of topics to fulfil central and regional government contracts, government agencies’ work and local authority use. Read the full article here.

For full details of  Cradle’s facilities follow these links

Social Media


Synchroness Tweet
Synchroness Tweet

We looked at the way robotics have been changing and adapting to applications that are not as “standard” and “repeatable” as traditional areas.
We reminded users there are different ways to view your data in lists, tables, trees or document views.

We celebrated the culture of sharing knowledge on #SwapIdeasDay you can still send us your ideas and we may publish them. That’s all for the October 2020 Newsletter.

August 2020 Newsletter

“All We Hear is Radio….”

Old radios (Based on image from Skitterphoto @

Our August 2020 newsletter takes you back in time 65 years ago this month….

Do you remember the Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation? They  completed production of Japan’s first portable transistor radio the TR-55. It contained 5 transistors, which they developed themselves. Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K. was renamed in 1946 to the more familiar Sony. The success is attributed to having that base level control – the design and development of their own transistors in addition to the circuit board. Transistors at the time didn’t have the characteristics or reliability or stability that they needed.

These days it is unlikely a consumer product manufacturer would set out designing their own discrete components. Customisation is done at a much higher level, as specifications to component manufacturer or firmware / software control on top. Knowing where to draw the line is crucial, knowing your own strengths and weaknesses is vital to your product’s success. On one hand there is no point re-inventing the wheel, but neither is there any point using less than optimal components if that is crucial to your design.

It is important to think about the problem first, rather thinking in terms of a solution. As we note in this article on Functional and Non-Functional requirements there are a number of ways to cross a road. There is little point designing a Belisha Beacon based system only to find that there is no power available at the site! However, if the specification does require lights your solution may need to include solar power – but it is unlikely you’ll be designing your own cells. However, if you are designing an electric vehicle, making your own batteries may be a world leading break through. Happy designing!


JOSCAR registered logo

3SL were pleased to announce their  JOSCAR accreditation . Using JOSCAR can determine if a supplier is “fit for business”. It is a collaborative tool used by the aerospace, defence and security industry to act as a single repository for pre-qualification and compliance information.

A Word from 3SL

3SL Cradle - From Concept to Creation
3SL Cradle

Whether it is remote access to a SaaS solution, or building new processes or designing new products 3SL and Cradle are here to help. We’re ready and waiting to take your email / webinar request / call.  In other words, it’s business as almost usual at 3SL. Just because the staff are not all in the physical office we’re still ready and waiting to make sure Your project + Cradle = Success

Social Media


Drax Tweet about UK power plug development
UK Power Plug

We looked at the precursor to today’s 3 pin UK power plug. This initial design BS 546, was born out of the need to have a safety earth. The modern square pin version is still one of the safest plug designs in the world.
We reminded users there are different ways to view your data in lists, tables, trees or document views.

July 2020 Newsletter

“I’ve got it, yes it’s so clear now. It was just when you said…….”

Watercooler based on image from

What we might call a water-cooler moment – a discussion with a colleague, sometimes about something completely unrelated, gives that neural spark.  An idea for a new project, a way to solve the current conundrum,  these interactions are often the start of a new path forward.
Aside from the fact, here up North in England, we call a ‘Water cooler’ the ‘Tap’, because that’s where water comes from. No fancy machine with a bottle atop!   With many people isolated in spare rooms and on dining tables some of these interactions will inevitably be lost. Arranging a video call is much more formalised and sterile compared to the often relaxed off the cuff old brew table.

How is your business ensuring ideas keep flowing? Are you back at work attempting to hold conversations 2m apart, or speaking muffled through a mask, or still working remotely? Zoom, Skype / Teams, GoToMeeting etc. may have seen a surge in use, but can they truly replace the water cooler interaction?

We think it is important to maintain social interaction as well as formal meetings. Some ideas you could try:

  • Set up a Skype Group Chat amongst the office staff, called “Morning” and ask everyone to type “Hello”/”Morning”/”Yo!” when they ‘arrive’ at work, mimicking arriving at the office. You’ll inevitably get a few other light hearted text conversations which can help the team stay in touch.
  • Choose to make an audio call to a colleague rather than a text or email. If you would normally have wandered over to a colleague’s desk to chat about an issue, then make the call. It is often easier to judge reaction by tone of voice than tone of text in an email ping-pong. Follow up with a summary email for traceability if applicable.
  • Consider a virtual lunch. If you use video conferencing, once a week opt to have an open meeting. Make it clear this is definitely NOT a working lunch and just use it to mimic the break we should all be taking to replenish. However, if you want to discuss last night’s telly, or what Susannah has in her sandwiches today that’s perfectly fine.
  • Play lists, if you are working from home the usual restriction of a music licence for the work premises would not apply, why not suggest your top 10 work-a-long  songs?
  • Suggest your own


Remember to use #Cradle discussions
Remember – Discussions

We often leave notes for colleagues, whether as a sticky yellow square, or a text or social media message. Whilst these are very useful to record thoughts and reminders, they lack context. Cradle Discussions allows you to add thoughts and point to note database items. Whether it an action to complete, a question about the colour of a part or a lightweight review and approval mechanism, you’ll find them more comprehensive than a simple sticky.


Public Requirements Management Course coming in October, and Document Publisher in November – For this year’s calendar see Public Training Courses 2020 Of course if you would like your own bespoke training, we can arrange it, please contact


Synchroness tweeted a story about reception of Voyager I signal
Syncroness / Tweet

We were reminded we have been tweeting about #3SL, #Cradle and general engineering for 11 years!  Why not choose you favourite engineering Tweet and copy us in @threesl using the #LoveEngineering

We marvelled at the ability to receive a signal 0.1 ­billion-billionth of a watt from Voyager I.

…and Finally.

Did you know Friday 17th July is World Emoji Day?  😉


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