Deterministic Design: Best Engineering Practice 


Engineering is distinguished from tinkering by the former’s use of fundamental principles to stimulate and assist the creative process and guide implementation; in addition, engineering implies the use of analytical and computational tools to optimize a project. These tools are not only concerned with classical analytical engineering endeavors required to move the project from the concept to production stages, they are also concerned with keeping the project on schedule and on budget. An engineer must have a positive attitude towards the design process and project management. Best engineering practice must be the standard to which all team members adhere if a project is to be successfully completed on time and on budget:


 • Awesome Engineers: 


• Place ethics and morals above ALL else


 • Are team players


 • Freely exchange ideas and offer constructive criticism


   • Think of the needs of others and the project, and not just their own requirements


 • Do not suffer fools or tolerate obstructionists


 • Follow a deterministic design process


  • Document their analysis and development methods so others can follow/learn


  • Never guess, or hope something will work before they release it for production.


  • Earn respect by thinking "smart" not just putting in long hours


 • Follow a schedule


  • Deliver on schedule without stressing-out themselves and everyone else


 • Document their work


  • Keep engineering notebooks and/or other records so others can check their work, or build upon it


 • Yucko Gunky Icky Engineers


 • Try to take shortcuts and get away with things…


  • Hog resources


  • Think they can just cut-&-fit on the fly and change directions at random


  • Put things off and fail to meet milestones 


  • Work late hours the night before the ship-date and produce hacked together contraptions 


In between these two extremes are engineers who may have good intentions, but they are not applying fully engineering principles to their own actions. Some engineers just get too excited about a project, so they jump on their workstation horses and attempt to gallop off into the pretty CAD background; however, ignoring best engineering practice is tantamount to forgetting to untether the horse! In a similar manner, some engineers misguidedly substitute trial and error for careful analytical or computer modeling and optimization. 

处于以上两种工程师类型之间的,是一些怀着好的设计意愿,但是无法根据设计原理完成好工作的工程师们。一些工程师对设计项目非常兴奋,恨不得跳上工作台,好想和CAD美丽的背景画面融为一体一样 。但是,最佳工程实践被抛诸脑后了,这是造成寻夫狂野思维的关键性因素。同样的,许多工程师通过试验和试错来取代严谨的分析、建模和优化,这也是不可取的。

Unfortunately, too often engineers think that a poorly defined problem gives them license to proceed in a poorly defined manner, and they excitedly set off in too many directions at once. Such haphazard approaches to problems indicate a lack of deep understanding, and this can lead to an internal lack of confidence which makes the engineer think they had better think of even more “out of the box crazy” ideas. A vicious cycle forms and the project falls way behind schedule. Other sad problems include endless meetings where format dominates over function and trying to do too much which results in a Rube Goldberg type solution. All of these issues can lead to a great idea at the last moment, but it just will take a little more time, even though the project is way behind schedule, and the idea has yet to work even a little bit. 


To help combat these common problems, the ISO 9000 and ISO 9001 family of standards were created by the International Standards Organization. These standards are concerned with making sure companies have best engineering practice procedures in place. Soon it will be difficult for a company to sell its products if it is not ISO certified; therefore it is advisable that every engineer, whether practicing or in training, develop best engineering practice habits. 


Create a simple web page to document your understanding of the problem, your solution approach as you initially see it (it will change!), your schedule, and your progress. Document your thought process so others may follow and learn and make useful suggestions. Review the work of others so that you may help them and in the process, help yourself. Enter your observations about the contest and any initial ideas that come to mind. 







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