By Bill Donegan, MSCS
Director of Engineering
SMART Holdings USA
http://www.linkedin.com/in/billdonegan Week 11: How to Succeed
and Think Like an Engineer
§ Cost Strategies
How to Succeed As an Engineer
By Todd Yuzuriha
§ Competitor product analysis
Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers
A concise reference on engineering survival skills,
this book shows readers how to take charge of their
§ Making a difference as an engineer
career in order to survive and excel in today's
engineering world. It will improve the reader's ability
to communicate, solve problems, make technical
decisions, lead projects, and impact business results.
§ Exchange rates and engineers
§ Finance and today’s engineer
§ Financial linkages
● There's more to engineering than math!
● You have to understand others, and make yourself
● You have to plot out what you are going to do and
how you are going to do it (Strategic Planning).
● You need to understand how you are going to pay
for and make money from what you are going to do
● You need to understand the mathematics of chance
● You need to pull different activities together to
accomplish a result (Project management).
● Personal Communications
● (Talking to yourself)
● Interpersonal Communtications
● Getting along with others
● Develop a strategic plan for yourself:
● Lifetime goals
● Development plan
● Shorter term goals
● Time Management
● Develop a prioritized “ToDo” list daily.
● Consider both the importance and the effort required.
● Understand when you are most productive:
● That's the time to work on the most important items
● Write things down!
● Paper notebook or planner, computer file, planning software,
PDA, smartphone, whatever you are comfortable with.
● Have a good filing system.
● Automate where possible.
● Review your notes at the end of the day.
● Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
● Build trust with others.
● Respect the feelings of others.
● Examine purpose and clarify ideas.
● Keep an open mind.
● Be mindful of “overtones” as well as basic
● Emphasize face to face communicions.
● Timing is everything.
● Shut up and listen!
● Focus on meaning – not style.
● Watch out for emotional filters (yours and theirs).
● Don't jump to conclusions!
● Ask questions!
● Summarize the discussion.
Communication is a feedback process:
● Who, what, when, why, where, how?
● Know who you will be addressing.
● Know what you will be telling them.
● Understand the timing of your presentation.
● Now why they might be interested.
● Understand the physical environment.
● Tailor your message to the medium.
● Get along with your boss and co-workers.
● Respect and trust are key.
● With boss – make sure you know goals and priorities.
● With co-workers – ID ways to collaborate.
– Help each other out.
● When problems arise:
–Take the initiative.
– Keep the temperature down!
● Remember, you don't have to be friends with everyone you
work with / for, but you still have to work together!
● Generic Strategies.
● Cost Leadership.
● How to contribute as an engineer.
● Generic Strategies:
● Cost Leadership
– Cost is not the same as price.
– Example: Apple Mac's priced higher than Wintel PC's.
– Go after a niche.
● Be first on the market!
● How to Contribute as an Engineer:
● Know what your customers want.
● Know the competitors products, and how yours
● Develop an efficient product development process.
● A Strategic Plan is long term and directional. It is
not the place for specific measurements.
● A Strategic Plan is not a forecast.
● Strategic Planning requires a deep knowledge of
the larger business environment.
– New entrants, Substitution, Competition.
– Buyers, Suppliers.
– “You've got to know the territory!”
● Business as a Dynamic System
● Financial Reporting
● Financial Analysis
● Making a Difference as an Engineer
● International Finance
● The Business as a Dynamic System:
● Operations Concerns
– Target Market, Pricing Strategy
– Deployment of Assets, Cost Effectiveness
– Operating Leverage
● Investment Concerns
– Disposition of Profits:
● Dividends → Owners / Stockholders
● Interest → Lenders / Bondholders
● Reinvestment of Profits → RDT&E, Expansion
– Financial Leverage
The Business as a Dynamic System
Dividends Profit Interest
● OK, so there's still a lot of math!
● Primary applications:
● Statistical Process Control (SPC)
● Design of Experiments (DOE)
60 Normal Distribution
1 σ = 68.3%
2 σ = 95.4%
3 σ = 99.7%
-5 -5 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5
● Statistical Process Control
● Need to control variability.
● Decide what is important to measure – then
● Consider the mean (arithmetic average), the range
of values, and the standard deviation.
● Consider the percent that fail to meet specifications.
● Perform Pareto analysis to determine where the
● Design of Experiments
● State objective
● Define acceptable risks – primary and secondary
● Determine significant difference
● Determine variables
● Calculate sample size
● Establish test criteria
● Perform experiment
● Compare results with test criteria
● Make a decision
● Evaluation Phase – Thing to Consider:
● Alignment to Strategy
– Cash Flow
– Time Value of Money
– Return on Investment (ROI)
● Planning Phase
● Project Objective
● Work Breakdown Structure
● Team Members
● Responsibility Matrix
● Project Schedule
– PERT Chart or Gantt Chart
● Project Costs
● Project Closure
● Implementation Phase
● PM role is mainly communication
– Project team reviews
– Executive reviews
– Customer reviews
● Conflict resolution
– Forcing – only when necessary
– Avoiding – bad idea!
– Accommodating – can lead to more conflict.
– Compromising – politics at its best and worst.
– Collaborating – best solution when possible.
● Monitoring Projects
● Planning is good – but it don't mean a thing if you
don't track the implementation against the plan.
● Software such as Microsoft Project can help – but it
does not do the job for you.
● Track actual vs. current plan vs. original plan on
your PERT or Gantt charts.
● Need regular status meetings (teleconferences or
web conferences are good here).
● Closing Projects
● “It ain't over until it's over!” (L. P. Berra)
● Write a final project report.
● Recognition of team members and outsiders.
● Transfer the technology.
● Transfer the team members appropriately.