Quite a few years ago, I remember taking a road trip in the summer. Not a family road trip to see the Grand Canyon or an all nighter drive to New Orleans. No, this one was for work. I visited a number of manufacturers at the time, taking tours of their facilities and conducting interviews …
Today’s ‘Jacked-Up’ Metrics for Engineering Productivity
How does your management team track the progress of engineering projects? I’ve been asking that question a lot lately. And the more answers I get the more I become intrigued. You see I’ve been looking at how engineering projects are assessed alongside how executives are making the decisions to continue to fund them or not. …
Agile Development for Mechatronics Products?
“We don’t have enough engineers.” That’s was the takeaway headline, according to a Computerworld article, from Obama’s speech back in the middle of June. For anyone that’s been tracking the STEM shortfall issue, that might not come as a terrible surprise. Yet there was one other issue I came across in this summary that did …
Macro and Micro Product Development
Can process really differentiate your company? I know. It’s an longtime debate. In fact, thinking back several years now, I remember it almost as an ongoing joke. And the story would always be the same. Folks from a software provider would sit down with a customer to talk about their processes. The people from the manufacturer would always declare with a laugh: “our process is totally unique. You will have never seen anything like what we do as a process because it’s what differentiates us in the market.”
Where Lean Product Development Goes Wrong
Surprising how time flies by isn’t it. Here we are, now in March of 2011 and I’m thinking to myself “how did that happen?” Feeling the need to catch up, I called a friend of mine here in Austin and went to grab a drink. We spent a while catching up but soon enough, our conversation steered towards shop-talk. See, he’s an been deploying lean, six sigma and other similar initiatives for years. And what he said surprised me a bit.
The Ineffectiveness of Measuring Design Effectiveness
Metrics. It’s seems as if today’s business world is ruled by them. Metrics are essentially pervasive in just about every functional department in a manufacturer.
What is ‘The Goal’ for Engineering? How Alex Rogo Came to Conclusions…
Sometimes, it’s the simplest questions that are exactly the hardest ones to answer. In a post last week, I wrote about a book I read some time ago called The Goal (wikipedia entry). In it, the main character struggles to identify both the goal, increased profitability, and constraints of that goal, production bottlenecks and sales limitations, in a manufacturing plant he oversees in an effort to save it from being shut down. Based on that premise, I asked what the analogue is to engineering. What exactly is the goal for engineering? What are the constraints keeping engineering from that goal?
What is ‘The Goal’ for Engineering?
Besides bringing back memories of years ago, I have to admit, this book got me thinking. In the case of the plant, the goal was to be profitable. The constraints were bottlenecks in production. Alex ends up tweaking and twisting those bottlenecks to up production as well as bring in more sales at lower margins but huge volumes. So what’s the analogue in engineering?