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Made by Monkeys

Cold Shoulder Leaves Engineer Hot

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Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Management by monkeys
Rob Spiegel   10/3/2013 11:03:29 AM
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We're seen this type of management problem a couple times in recent Made by Monkeys postings. It's quite surprising that management would shrug off -- or refuse to accept -- solutiuons presented by engineers. This seems to be more than just a communications problem.

GTOlover
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Platinum
Re: Management by monkeys
GTOlover   10/3/2013 11:36:04 AM
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Rob, I have to agree to a point. When large coprporations set up quality systems of processes and procedures, changes become rigid and inflexible to the point that many people do not want to do the work to make any change (even when it is benefical). I have worked at a large manufacturing facility that it was nearly impossible to upgrade a simple proximity sensor. Then I worked at a small shop that I could completely re-engineer a robot cell with little resistance!

However, it would seem that this change should of been a worth while if it prolongs the servo motors life.

tekochip
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Platinum
Re: Management by monkeys
tekochip   10/3/2013 2:10:31 PM
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You're right GTOlover, once a procedure is approved in an ISO company, it's really hard to get the procedure to change.  If this is a component part that is shipped to another company they may need to go through the qualification process all over again.


Charles Murray
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Re: Management by monkeys
Charles Murray   10/3/2013 6:51:01 PM
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Rob, I think the answer they wanted was, "Everything's fine. Don't worry about it." I used to have a boss who always said, "I don't like negativity." Of course, he always got the answers he wanted, which always boiled down to, "Everything's great."

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: Management by monkeys
Rob Spiegel   10/3/2013 6:56:29 PM
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Hey Chuck, so much for preventive measures. 

3drob
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Platinum
Re: Management by monkeys
3drob   10/4/2013 8:42:03 AM
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As an Engineer that was nick-named Don Quixote by his boss (on more than one occasion), I can sympathize.  Having fought (and lost) many battles, I (still) try to choose my battles wisely.

But, playing devils advocate, if it's working (producing in-spec parts on schedule) but runs hot, perhaps the bureaucratic machinery can handle replacing failed components easier than fixing a non-optimum situation.  Often the true cost of changes are hidden (such changes can run tens of thousands of dollars, where as perhaps replacing a servo might cost a hundred's and is already rolled up in attrition budgets).

Communication runs both ways.  I'm still on the non-management side but I underdstand that you need to understand "their" point of view to strategically pick your battles well.

Steve Heckman
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Gold
Re: Management by monkeys
Steve Heckman   10/4/2013 8:58:57 AM
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They found the issue and then requested this person to investigate it. So it was not like he was offering unsolicited advice. If you are not willing to make any changes, then don't waste my valuable time on the problem.

TexasTJ
User Rank
Iron
Re: Management by monkeys
TexasTJ   10/4/2013 9:56:19 AM
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I once worked with an engineer at my first engineering job who was very bright and an excellent mentor. Then he got promoted into management and things went south, especially his judgement.  I once heard him say that his decision making was easier when he was, "unencumbered by knowledge."  I left shortly thereafter and heard through the grapevine that he was demoted back into staff engineering.  But, due to his previous behavior, didn't have a lot of friends.

BrainiacV
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Platinum
Re: Management by monkeys
BrainiacV   10/4/2013 10:37:56 AM
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Don Quixote, I used to work with a hardware manager that we called Harry Houdini.  He could get out of anything. We had a project with a tight time line and he told me to work on just a segment of it so we'd have at least something done.  Later in a meeting explaining our project progress, he threw me under the bus claiming that we needed a little bit of everything done instead of concentrating on just one small section I had worked on.

I didn't care, I had given my notice and he was obviously going to use me as the scapegoat as to why the project was not keeping to schedule. I had been warned by others that he would never take responsibility for his management decisions.

Sorry, your nick name just triggered a "that reminds me" moment.

My kids told me their friends called me McGyver.

3drob
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Management by monkeys
3drob   10/4/2013 11:16:37 AM
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BrainiacV (AKA McGyver ;), Your story reminded me of a similar experience I had with a PM who was known for throwing his Engineer's under the bus (when his bad decisions came to roost).  He tried it with me a few times, but I quickly (and I do mean immediately) responded with paper and Email trails each time.  He quickly stopped trying that with me (though he got a few people fired along the way including, ultimately, himself).

The trick he would use was to only work verbally (that way he could remember it any way he wanted).  But the trick I countered with was I would always follow any verbal conversation with an Email (usually disguised as a request for clarification or agreement).

It's unfortunate, but knowing how to CYA is a necessary skill for any Engineer.

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