Quo Vadimus?

Where are we going?

There’s a lot of change in the world today. Marketing practices have been turned on their sides. The Internet has revolutionized the way we interact. “Knowledge Management” has become the buzzword of the hour.

Over here in the engineering industry, we still use “kips” (kilopounds, no kidding) as our fundamental unit of force. We issue all our drawings on unwieldy, large-format paper. Even basic communication is a hugely mysterious skill, and one that is largely considered unnecessary to reinforce in young engineers until they’re well into their career, at which point it’s far too late.

This would be all right if engineers were an isolated bunch, content to sit in a corner and crunch their numbers after they’ve been handed final designs from an architect…

Can you appreciate how truly archaic that sounds? We’re in the twenty-first century now. If you step into the oncoming flow of information traffic and expect it to gently roll to a stop and politely present itself to you, you’re going to get steamrollered in a rude and violent manner.

All design is fluid now. We’re way past paper; drawings are outdated as soon as they hit the plotter. Aggressively proactive communication is so essential if you don’t want to get sued, and communicating such that we achieve a seamless level of design coordination is an animal that nobody’s ever even seen. We can land dudes on the moon, but we still can’t come out the grand opening side of a major project without looking back at our plans and seeing a pitiful mass of spaghettious kludge.

Why is that? How can we pick this apart? I don’t think that we do design/business/knowledge management very well as a profession. I’m going to look at our process, our procedures, our philosophies, and see where we don’t quite add up. This blog is going to cover a lot, and it’s mainly for me to get my thoughts in order, but I welcome anybody who’s keen to come along on the ride.


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