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Sherlock Ohms

The Shortcut That Shorted Out

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270mag
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Iron
Re: Record of Changel
270mag   5/6/2013 12:34:08 PM
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Tool_maker, In a perfect world, we would document everything everytime, but it's not always practical. In a large organization, thourough documentation is necessary to handle the logistics of communication. In a small mom-and-pop shop, you can get away with a certain amount of "mental" documentation because direct communication with those who know the details is easier.

This can be taken to extremes on both sides of the continuum. I used to work for a huge multinational conglomerate. We documented ourselves to death, literally. It took seven signatures and half a day to get an ECO approved and documented. That's IF I walked it through myself. The normal lag was about two weeks.

On the other hand, if you lose your human capital who happens to be the sole keeper of odd knowledge for a given project, good luck making heads or tails of it.

You have to find that balance of productivity and proper documentation with which you are comfortable.

Tool_maker
User Rank
Platinum
Record of Changel
Tool_maker   9/13/2012 12:46:46 PM
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This is all over my head so I am way out of my comfort zone here, so if this question does not make sense just consider the source. 99% of what I do is mechanical and when I complete a design and the device is built, it is subjected to a run-off, often with the customer present. If changes are made, the drawings get updated and the alteration is logged. That way if I run into a similar design, I have a record of what did not work and how we corrected it. Is that done in your field as well or would someone else have to go through the whole trouble shooting procedure you just spelled out?

One of my co-workers is so tunnel visioned that he thinks the only important thing is to make the device work. As a result, many alterations may occur with the only record being what he retains between his ears. It drives me crazy, but his family owns the company, so I deal with it.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Commitment
Rob Spiegel   9/4/2012 3:48:55 PM
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Good point, Greg. These Sherlock Ohms stories are famous for showing how design engineers have to dispense with all assumptions and dig into areas that could easily get overlooked. If you have any of your own Sherlock stories, please send them along to: rob.spiegel@ubm.com

Greg M. Jung
User Rank
Platinum
Commitment
Greg M. Jung   9/1/2012 9:58:22 PM
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I also like how you stayed on task and kept digging deeper and deeper until you fixed the root cause, rather than just put a patch on it. Good job and great commitment to quality.

notarboca
User Rank
Gold
Nice Fix
notarboca   8/31/2012 1:51:33 AM
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Very nice fix; I like your troubleshooting methods and the way you tracked down the glitch.  Your example is a valuable lesson for embedded designers who almost always have to figure out concessions with I/O.

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Sherlock Ohms highlights stories told by engineers who have used their deductive reasoning and technical prowess to troubleshoot and solve the most perplexing engineering mysteries.
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