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The only engineer at a business meeting.
Old 04-04-2014, 10:20 PM   #1
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The only engineer at a business meeting.

We seem to have a good number of engineers in our group. I thought they would appreciate this video of a business meeting in which there is only one engineer present. I think this engineer is a good candidate for early retirement. :-)

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Old 04-04-2014, 11:20 PM   #2
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I loved it. It reminded me of megacorp meetings. I have been in many meetings like that and been the engineer type character.
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:52 AM   #3
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OMG. that bit was realistic enough to nearly bring on an anxiety attack at the thought of ever being in a meeting like that again.
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Old 04-05-2014, 01:32 AM   #4
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I have been in this meeting before. They have also forgotten to invite me to a similar meeting and yet expect me to come up with the red lines.
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Old 04-05-2014, 04:11 AM   #5
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Engineers can be so damn frustrating at times, but I am glad by the end of the video he had learned..

He will be management soon.
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Old 04-05-2014, 07:06 AM   #6
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Except for the accent, this appears to have been recorded where I work: the world's largest office building, right here on the Potomac.
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Old 04-05-2014, 07:24 AM   #7
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I've been in that meeting before; another factor in ER.
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Old 04-05-2014, 07:32 AM   #8
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The scary part is that I bet that there are a lot of sales and marketing folks who don't think that they don't do the analog of what's depicted.
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Old 04-05-2014, 07:34 AM   #9
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Engineers can be so damn frustrating at times, but I am glad by the end of the video he had learned..

He will be management soon.
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I've been in that meeting before; another factor in ER.
Nail, head.
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Old 04-05-2014, 07:53 AM   #10
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Thanks, that was extremely well done, and many of us recognize the setting all too well!
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Old 04-05-2014, 08:29 AM   #11
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This brought back a memory of reason #1,534 that I'm grateful to be retired.

At MegaMotors we had a complex systems problem that had multiple constraints on a solution, not the least of which was cost. The program manager got impatient and decided to have a department meeting where everyone would make suggestions for a solution. My job was to "investigate" the feasibility of these great suggestions, which ranged from the obvious (but unfeasible) to balloon kittens. The net result was that work slowed down because the knowledgeable engineers working on the original assignment now needed to go off and show why the new suggestions didn't cut it.

After that, the next round was bringing in some consultants, who were cut from the cloth of the team in the video. Fortunately for them, they were not so foolish as to bring their own engineer, so we were the fall guys for being "so negative".

It worked out in the end, but cost more and took longer than if we'd been left alone.
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Old 04-05-2014, 09:33 AM   #12
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I was accused of being negative at a merger meeting for suggesting that it would require changes to our software to accommodate a second company with operations in Europe. The executive from the other company said there was no need to change the software - they would just do whatever we were doing. I pointed out that doing exactly what we were doing meant they'd have to switch their customers and facilities to Asia, since we didn't operate in Europe like they did and we didn't have software to comply with European laws, regulations, taxes, facilities, etc. Then I was accused of not listening to what he had said.

He was eventually fired and the merger abandoned due to the costs of making the operations and software compatible. It was all sort of bizarre. I never quite understood how people like him got into high level authority positions in corporations in the first place. But I guess the video and Dilbert cartoons show these kinds of crazy meetings where the engineer type person is the only sane person in the room take place everywhere.
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Old 04-05-2014, 10:03 AM   #13
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Oh the memories. In the early 90s I sat on a committee, the purpose to come up with money saving ideas. Some wonderful person, a programmer, suggested we 'fix' the mainframe COBOL compiler. When asked what she meant, 'my programs compile but often will abend when their run, please fix the compiler'.

Sure we'll get right on that!
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Old 04-05-2014, 10:06 AM   #14
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Seriously, you could not make this stuff up!

When I read these things, I realize why my office cubicle hero is Wally.
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Old 04-05-2014, 11:54 AM   #15
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What a depressing reminder of times now thankfully over!
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:21 PM   #16
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I remember a few meetings similar to this, but where the issues weren't technical, but schedule. Some examples...

Meetings in which managers who would schedule invention by decree, "You have 6 weeks to invent an anti-gravity machine". Could not understand there was no way to estimate how long it would take to do something that had never been done before.

A meeting where development was behind schedule, so the manager arbitrarily start reducing length of remaining tasks until we were 'back on schedule'. At task level, task times were reduced by a hour here and day there, but the aggregate result was a success-based schedule in which every task in a complex schedule would have to be completed successfully in shortest possible time. In some cases tasks would have to be completed faster than had ever been done in company's long history. The manager shrugged off the risk. I'm sure he left the meeting satisfied that he had 'straightened out those lazy engineers'.

In a subsequent meeting with this same manager, after his 'shortest schedule' got behind, he arbitrarily started paralleling inherently serial tasks. "It's just software, no reason you can't start coding the interface before the API spec is written." That didn't work out so well either.

The weird thing is that these managers had engineering backgrounds, and should have known better, but they were 'old school' and didn't yet comprehend software engineering. Somehow, they thought that the scheduling principles that applied to building hardware could be circumvented for software.
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Old 04-05-2014, 01:23 PM   #17
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I once worked for a project manager who made up schedules to make his bosses happy and them dumped them on us. My project leader got sick of this so he ended up making a Project Time Slide Rule. You set the amount of time needed versus the completion date and then read how far back in time you had to start working so as to meet the deadline.
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Old 04-05-2014, 01:29 PM   #18
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In her amazing book on software development, Digital Woes (written in 1993, not containing the word "Internet", and yet still as up-to-date as the day it was published), Lauren Ruth Wiener recounts the story of the project team that had to write monthly progress reports. August's report had to be on the VP's desk by September 3. But by the time everyone had signed off on it and it had gone to the professional printers (to impress the VP with a spiffer full-colour report), the deadline for writing August's report was July 28. So every month they produced a work of fiction. But the VP was happy.
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Old 04-05-2014, 11:03 PM   #19
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In a subsequent meeting with this same manager, after his 'shortest schedule' got behind, he arbitrarily started paralleling inherently serial tasks. "It's just software, no reason you can't start coding the interface before the API spec is written." That didn't work out so well either.
^^^^Were these the people who developed the 10/1/13 ACA enrollment software?
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Old 04-06-2014, 09:30 AM   #20
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Had a lunch with one of our PhD engineers who actually said: "gee, the thermal energy radiating off this surface is quite high". (THE PLATE IS REALLY HOT!)
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