Posts in category: ‘Engineering Management’

Can This Job be Saved? When Your Boss Tells You to Rein it In.

Brian Neville-O’Neill recently sent me this Reddit conversation in which an engineer complains that he is consistently reprimanded by his boss “for over stepping my bounds.” As the sole engineer at his company, he interfaces with multiple departments yet has no job description or guidelines for working with other teams. Advice from fellow engineers? Find another job.

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The Peter Principle: You Are Surrounded by Incompetence

That 's likely to be your natural conclusion after reading Laurence J Peter and Raymond Hull's nearly fifty-year old humorous treatise on managerial theory: The Peter Principle: Why Things Go Wrong. The central premise of the book is simple: in a company hierarchy, individuals are commonly promoted based on the performance and skills needed for their existing jobs, and not their future responsibilities. The implication is that everyone will inevitably be promoted to a position for which they are ill-suited, i.e."managers rise to the level of their incompetence." While sounding surprisingly Dilbert-esque, there's no need to consign yourself to an apocalypse of mutually assured incompetence. Engineering managers can do better.

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Multidisciplinary Decision Making: Not Everything You Need to Know Lives in a Data Repository

Product managers, design engineers, procurement officers, supply chain planners and other participants in designing new products and taking them to production face complex tradeoff decisions almost on a daily basis. And, as evident by frequent schedule slips, budget overruns, manufacturability problems, subpar product quality, and others mishaps, they don’t always make the right decisions. Why do organizations fail to make effective decisions?

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Everyone is an Engineer

Here’s an all-to-familiar scenario. You update a model and send it to manufacturing — only to learn that the floor doesn’t build the old version according to the approved drawings. Somewhere between drawing release and shipping, someone took matters into their own hands. Acted unilaterally. Decided they knew better.

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