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Quote of the Day, Dilbert Edition

March 5, 2013

Our manager was out sick, so we had the meeting without him.  Planning-Engineer

“When will we have the next innovative out-of-the-box breakthrough, and is it under budget?” we asked each other.

It was a short meeting.

We do hard things and learn many discoveries every day.  It is foolish to expect new invention to be predictable and without fault.  In fact, it is bad management to assume so.

I’m a big fan of evolutionary design and sub-system testing.  Some say it costs more to do it that way.  Yes, it costs more on paper to conduct small experiments than to build one large one.  In practice it costs less when you discover new things early rather than build a large experiment that doesn’t work.  The small sub-scale tests are easy to diagnose and cheap to revise.  You have to redesign significant portions of the device to overcome local problems.  After redesign, the pieces don’t always fit the whole.  If you started with the large experiment, you often have a bad match between sub-systems that required redesign and no longer fit the original intent.

If you knew then, what you know now, you wouldn’t do it that way.

Let’s be philosophical for a second.  The unexplored path is seldom flat and smooth.  Don’t run in the dark and then blame the stone for your stumbles.  Bring a flashlight, tread gently, and fill in the map as you explore.  Don’t take the unexplored path if you can’t afford to fall.


Robert the explorer

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