Cabe, Now I am wondering which response it was that made you laugh. I hope that it was not that most recent one, about asking somebody to explain their idea. That is also mentioned in a few management books.
Jim T, Oh, I am definitely an old guy but not "one of the old guys", in that I seldom criticise an idea just because it is new. If it looks like somebody's idea won't work, I ask for an explanation as to how it will achieve what we want to have happen. That approach allows a presenter to either show me an idea that I had not considered, or to discover a problem as they are explaining the thing to me. Both have happened in the past. And sometimes we wind up with a new idea that looks good at which point we wind up doing a risk and cost evaluation. It turns out that some iseas would work very well but have a large cost penalty. In those cases we have asked a customer which they will choose, as we present them with options. Not everybody choses the cheapest way to go.
AnandY, I would agree with you 100%, belief in the selected design, passion to succeed, and good team expertise are essential. I think my main thought here was to point out how useful the up front research can be in arriving at that 'selected design'.
I like the story you have given to explain how the entire process can come crumbling down Tom but I tend to think that cases like these are more random than the norm and that this story almost always usually goes a different way with the entire idea becoming a great success. I think that the entire process, from the napkin to production, should be driven by a belief in the design selected and a passion to make it succeed. With enough expertise on board this method can hardly fail.
William- I feel in reading your dialogues that we would work well together, with similar values and experiences. However, did it occur to you that perhaps a time has come where WE might be considered ",,,,the couple of old guys"-?
JimT, sometimes panic and disillusionment get exchanged, but the thing is certainly true in most cases. It was much more applicable where I worked for large companies early in my career. The much smaller companies had much less empire building, and much better overlap of skills sets.
The other one that I created goes "it turns out that if you use a big enough hammer you can fit a square peg in a round hole, BUT the fit may not be quite what you wanted, and there may be some damage done, THEREFORE, think carefully before hammering away". That sign had a bit of a tendancy to calm criticisms that did not have a valid reason backing them up. There were a few who always brought up that "we never did it that way before", whenever a suggestion was made to correct some flaw in a previous design. That company was toward the start of arriving at a period of creative designing that was a lot of fun. Once a couple of old guys retired and we could be creative.
I should point out that even there, design reviews were not critisizing sessions, but closer to the development process. Sometimes we would have the reviews quite early, since we didn't want to call them product development sessions. They were really "design idea reviews", which can be very useful.
Glad you still had the "original." It's the same thing that passed by every Engineer's desk for a chuckle a decade or so, ago. I recanted the list from Memory, and so got it a little off. Obviously you and I have climbed thru similar trenches.
Another old favorite was (again from memory): Failure to Pre-plan on YOUR part does not constitute an Emergency on My part; most commonly found hanging in Tool Designers rooms for Product designers to see.
TEKOCHIP--Add me to your list. We three must have worked for the same company. Our design reviews were so brutal they drove most design engineers to deep conservative thinking. Management always stressed--let's "think out of the box" yet being innovative was setting yourself up for ridicule. It truly was survival of the fittest. We did have structure; i.e. DG(design guidance), DC (design confirmation), PP (pre-pilot), pilot then production. We might go through DG(1), DG(2), DG(3) etc . but in every case the clock was ticking and schedules were slipping. We were definitely evaluated at the end of the program relative to schedule attainment and holding costs within stated guidelines for the particular program.
Jim T, you must have the new and improved list of the six phases of a project:. The original went
4. Search for the guilty
5. Punishment of the innocent
6. Praise and glory for those not involved.
Not quite as much sunshine as your version, and possibly not as accurate, don't know for certain. But the one that I came up with many years back, which has been repeated a lot, is "I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it is a fast freight headed our way". That was next to my assertion that "you can't test quality into a product", which some folks still don't believe.
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Good engineering designs are those that work in the real world; bad designs are those that don’t. If we agree to set our egos aside and let the real world be our guide, we can resolve nearly any disagreement.
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