Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What's It All About?

Going to college? Wondering what's actually in all those majors you're being offered? Here's a quick guide to quite a lot of them with such gems as:
Engineering: The art of figuring out which parameters you can safely ignore.

From my experience here's some suggestions.
You can ignore costs on government projects. Money grows on taxpayers.

You can ignore schedules on certain high risk high cost projects like launching godzillion dollar satellites on zillion dollar launch vehicles. You get one chance and the customer likes to see it work.

Schedules are important on some government projects. SOME sort of results need to be shown before the next election. Especially if you want to keep your job on that project.

Costs are important on private industry projects. The company has very little money left after taxes, and if you don't produce the Next Big Thing before their competitors, they go broke, leaving you unemployed.

Fun stuff at the link.

1 comment:

Brad K. said...

Huh, I thought I recalled engineering being designing to meet budget. Silly me.

Now, my recollection on government budgets (pre-commissioning crew, DLGN-37/CGN-37 USS South Carolina, and a software project or three), is that, back in the day, some projects used a project standard DoD-2167. Scuttlebutt was that 2167 was intentionally created to prolong every procurement at least three years -- so that the military officer in charge at the beginning would have been rotated to another position by the end of the project. Voiler, no one carried a non-winning project in their permanent record.

Then again, you can see in my local school board what I saw in the shipyard as the USS South Carolina came together. The government routinely directed changes, minor to major, as the daily work proceeded. Between union rules and government contracts, both government project members and contractor folk got kudos for each addition to schedule and budget. And nothing was allowed to deter work no longer needed -- that would have intruded on union interests and made a government type look like, well, a poor engineer.

So, my local school board routinely diverts school time and parent energy (and community attention and transportation costs) to "fund raising". The school board hires, and rewards, folk for writing grant proposals to bring in Federal money, regardless of cost to the community, the school budget, or the needs of the community for an educated student.