Posts in category: ‘Engineering Management’

ECOs are stupid II: The price of unincorporated change

The venerable Engineering Change Order (ECO) has certainly had its day in the opulent halls of classical change management, but thanks to technology, ECOs might very well be on the path to extinction. Last time we mentioned that ECOs are slow and stupid, we emphasized that reducing overall ECO cost involves more than just reducing avoidable change. The second half of that battle involves the change process itself, evolving it to be both more agile and effective. Protip: It’s all about addressing the weaknesses of unincorporated change.

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The manager’s guide to deputizing technology advocacy

A couple of months back, we provided some insight about how to manage the relentless pace of engineering and manufacturing technology by empowering the right talent at your company. One of those recommendations –make technology advocacy part of someone’s job description– seemed simple enough. However, you might have wondered how that might be possible in today’s engineering rush – when everyone’s in the middle of fifteen things, all of them annoying. That’s why we’re here.

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Meet the manager of engineering labs at Bell Helicopter

Ever since I was a little boy I have been interested in helicopters - one of the most complex and intriguing flying vehicles. In my opinion, developing a reliable and safe rotorcraft is on the leading edge of engineering. Naturally, I was very excited when Randall Willnow, Manager of Engineering Labs, Materials and Processes at Bell Helicopter agreed to answer a few questions. I could talk about their aircraft forever, but for brevity's sake I stuck to more high-level questions.

Bell Helicopter is a division of Textron and an American rotorcraft manufacturer headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. The company was founded in 1935 and has delivered more than 35,000 aircraft to date.

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There’s a giant difference between hiring engineer #2 and hiring engineer #10

Last summer, we talked on this blog about when to hire new CAD help. A reader, Jason Thompson from Sparta Engineering, sent me a note with this observation: As you weigh the costs and benefits of hiring a new engineer, you also need to consider whether you’re adding your tenth engineer or your first or second. He’s right, and here’s why.

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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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