You’ll recall we left our tale of Dr Who and the Clockwork Contract with everyone’s time machines converging in a ‘baseline’ programme of activities, Pablo the planner is now relaxed, contractors are mobilising and the employer’s vision of the future is secure… however…

Back in the day when Kepler, Newton and company discovered celestial mechanics, it was first thought that the future motion of the planets could be predicted forever. That, like our intended contract, the solar system was effectively clockwork. Everyone carried on thinking this until it turned out that there is no solution to the gravitational ‘three body problem’. Plenty of ways to make an estimate, but no 100% guaranteed answer.

In our contract, our parties (designers, contractors and employer) are juggling with a few more than three bodies. But, they are experienced and sharp with their calculators; their estimates have to be close don’t they? Don’t they? Sure they do. OK so our contract isn’t quite clockwork anymore, but it’s definitely close… for sure it is.

Or not ….

These days we are so proud of our expensive computers and what we can do with them, we are so much more knowledgeable than our friends Johannes and Isaac up above… aren’t we?

Somewhere around the middle of the 20th Century, an Austrian physicist chap called Erwin Schrödinger who liked quantum a lot gave a lecture in Dublin. He was more than a little frustrated at times about the “…damned quantum jumping…” going on all over the place, because this was interfering with his ability to accurately predict what was going to happen, even a few femto-seconds into the future (and with that of a lot of other of his Nobel prize winning boffin buddies’ too); he was more than a tad unhappy about those double-slit photons being indecisive and in two places at once; he was looking for an explanation. Then, while in Dublin, he hit upon an idea that provided a solution to this frustration.

Mr Schrödinger, a founding father of quantum mechanics the understanding of which underpins the electronics that drive every tiny little part of our daily lives these days, figured out what all the jumping was about. He did. He worked out that the problem was the fridge. Yup. The fridge is the issue.

If you read my article on System Dynamics, then you may be beginning to detect a theme here, because, in much the same way as John Sterman and others figured it out for System Dynamics, Erwin figured out that you have to look behind that gosh-darned fridge.

In John’s case, he had only lost a few bits of a System Dynamics puzzle. Erwin, however, operates on a much, much, much more ambitious scale. There are entire universes behind his fridge. Not just one. Shed-loads of the things.

PS If you haven’t read my article on System Dynamics (1) how did you miss it? and (2) find it on this link

In short, Erwin came up with the many-world’s interpretation of quantum mechanics, which effectively says that whatever it was that you predicted would happen, did happen. Somewhere. In some universe. That every time you collapse those fiddly little quantum wave-functions and make an observation, if your expectation wasn’t what happened in the universe in front of your eyes, then another universe was just spawned where it did… check the fridge…. Go on, look.

So, what’s the point of this, Packer? Where DID those futures go?

Read the final part of the modern day tale on Thursday 23 April 2020.
Read Part 1 here.

Quantum Executive Consultant, Dean Packer is a UK degree qualified management and PMP professional with over 36 years of experience, of which more than 20 years has been in remote and challenging environments. He started in production and buildings technology moving up through quality and project management.

Dean has a thorough understanding of all processes relating to civil engineering, earthworks, pavements; buildings, hydraulics, aerodromes and water treatment as well as extensive contract management experience as a Project Manager on EPC/FIDIC yellow, ICE and EDF forms of Contract from tender through planning and execution to handover.

Having worked in Europe, Mozambique, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Qatar, Dean is now based in Quantum’s office in Amman, Jordan.

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This article is published with the purpose of promoting discussion only. The contents must not be relied upon or applied without first seeking professional advice.