Author Topic: Engineers solve problems, not issues  (Read 2525 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline VK3DRB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1693
  • Country: au
Engineers solve problems, not issues
« on: May 26, 2018, 08:44:20 am »
Engineers essentially solve problems, but we deal with issues as well. I once worked for a medical electronics business designing medical devices where the CEO said to me "To you, everything is a problem.", to which I replied, "Yep, that's my job. As an engineer my role is to solve problems." He said we should never write the word "problem" on any documentation, but use the word "issue", else it will raise the eyebrows of the regulatory auditors. When I studied mathematics, the textbooks all said "Solve the following problems." Never, ever did I ever see a textbook stating "Solve the following issues."

The overuse of the latest political correct buzzword word "issues" reached a new peak today. One of our biggest banks (NAB) went down for half a day this morning throughout Australia, and many small retailers and their customers could not do business. NAB never called it a problem in their media releases, only "issues". No, the outage was &@$%# problem which they had to fix. An issue would be that the bank crash highlights why a cashless society is risky.

This sounds trivial maybe, but I think political correctness has gone haywire, even in the ranks of engineering. Fundamentally, we are problem solvers. Filtering out conductive noise on the mains from a switch mode power supply design is a problem to be solved, not an issue. Am I right, wrong, or just old?
 

Offline ataradov

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6323
  • Country: us
    • Personal site
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2018, 09:10:22 am »
Wording is important when discussing things like this, so you don't get sued. This is not great, but it is a part of modern world.
Alex
 

Online tautech

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 17443
  • Country: nz
  • Taupaki Technologies Ltd. NZ Siglent Distributor
    • Taupaki Technologies Ltd.
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2018, 09:15:56 am »
Wording is important when discussing things like this, so you don't get sued. This is not great, but it is a part of modern world.
Exactly.
The issue was the problem so the problem was the issue.  :)  :P  :horse:
Avid Rabid Hobbyist
 

Offline Tomorokoshi

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 837
  • Country: us
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2018, 12:38:27 pm »
There is no value in debating semantics between issues and problems. The answer is in relationships between people not in systems or in semantics. The issue caused a problem for the affected customers.

In this case neither the use of issue or problem really relates to a politically correct choice. That's not what politically correct means.

Precisely. This type of language distinction and use is actually done for legal and insurance liability reasons, despite the gratuitous attempt to politicize it.
 

Offline Gyro

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5263
  • Country: gb
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2018, 12:41:10 pm »
Surely they are both 'opportunities' anyway.  :P
Chris

"Victor Meldrew, the Crimson Avenger!"
 

Online Rerouter

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 4522
  • Country: au
  • Question Everything... Except This Statement
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2018, 12:49:15 pm »
Not at all, they are clearly unintended features,

Device doesnt turn on? Low power mode
Device catches fire? Hand warmer
Device Explodes? Easter egg!
 

Online T3sl4co1l

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 14703
  • Country: us
  • Expert, Analog Electronics, PCB Layout, EMC
    • Seven Transistor Labs
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2018, 12:50:23 pm »
You forget, we don't address problems or issues -- we provide solutions!

Tim
Seven Transistor Labs, LLC
Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!
 

Offline Brumby

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 9751
  • Country: au
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2018, 02:28:54 pm »
This sounds trivial maybe, but I think political correctness has gone haywire ...

I don't argue with anything you've said - but it isn't political correctness.  It's called "spin doctoring".  You use terms that are less harsh in the way they come across, rather than put a hard label on something.  This allows the wordsmiths to write around whatever went south and make it seem not quite as bad or worrisome.  It also makes the organisation less exposed to the extremist who will latch onto the word "problem" and go to town on it.

It's all bullshit, of course, but in this day and age, image and reputation are all important and if using some different words produces even 1% less dissatisfaction, then those words are worth using.
 

Offline BillB

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 611
  • Country: us
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2018, 03:15:29 pm »
Nothing new...

Euphemisms.

 
The following users thanked this post: TiN, Vtile

Offline Neilm

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1443
  • Country: gb
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2018, 04:34:50 pm »
Not at all, they are clearly unintended features,

Device doesnt turn on? Low power mode
Device catches fire? Hand warmer
Device Explodes? Easter egg!
Device catches fire - It is an unintended thermal event
Device Explodes - a Rapid Unplanned Disassembly
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe. - Albert Einstein
Tesla referral code https://ts.la/neil53539
 

Offline Vtile

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 993
  • Country: fi
  • Ingineer
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2018, 05:09:25 pm »
Wording is important when discussing things like this, so you don't get sued. This is not great, but it is a part of modern world.
Exactly, that is the worst problem.
 

Offline Gregg

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 724
  • Country: us
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2018, 08:06:38 pm »
The problem is with auditors.  Auditors are paid to find problems, discrepancies, non-compliance etc.  Auditors aren’t doing a good job unless they find these things and are adept at finding problems that are mostly nonexistent so that they keep their jobs.  Audit companies are often hired as a show of force because upper management has no clue as what the company actually does; management just thinks they regulate the money.  The auditing company has zero interest in the company they are auditing other than getting paid and showing the need for ongoing audits. 
 

Offline Nominal Animal

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1472
  • Country: fi
    • My home page and email address
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2018, 10:36:19 pm »
I wonder if there is money to be made, by patching and repackaging FOSS tools to avoid terms like "bugs" and "problems", and use the marketing-speak for them instead?

So, instead of bugzilla, you'd have Detail Desk; instead of regression testing, Feature Recurrence Verification, and so on.

If the employment contracts referred to a list of terms whose use would be a sackable offense, a company might technically be able to advertise its products as having zero bugs or security holes. (They would be e.g. undesirable details and unauthorized ingress methods, respectively.) 
 

Offline palpurul

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 61
  • Country: tr
  • Hey
    • My blog
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2018, 10:40:54 pm »
failure = presuccess
 

Offline JohnnyMalaria

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 473
  • Country: us
    • Enlighten Scientific LLC
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2018, 10:48:39 pm »
From the customer viewpoint, "problem" means "shit, that's not working right and we don't know what to do" whereas "issue" means "things are temporarily not working right and we are fixing it". It's spinning the situation to put the customer at ease. To use an overused horrible phrase, it makes "the optics look right". Ugh.

My former employer sets aside meeting rooms to be "war rooms" when dealing with big issues such as when the FDA aren't happy.
Tell me it can't be done and I'll do it. Or give it a damned good try.
 

Offline Rick Law

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2735
  • Country: us
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2018, 11:21:57 pm »
Every field has its lingo.  As an engineer, you have yours.  But keep in mind, the VP of Engineering isn't really doing engineering.  He/She is doing the politics to keep the Engineering Department going as well.  As such, Corporate Politics/Politicians have their lingo as well.

If he/she is not able to do the politics effectively, the Engineering Department will not get the funding it needs to develop the product it designs.

So, (dare I say), perhaps it is a good idea for engineers to at-times leave their comfort zone and help the politicians with the fight.
 Be it defusing the bomb (issues to be handled before it blows up), or for funding which will eventually show up in your pay-check.
 

Offline VK3DRB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1693
  • Country: au
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2018, 12:48:56 pm »
Our CTO often says the annoying buzzword "takeaways", in phrases such as: 'What are our takeaways from this discussion?" I am tempted to reply, "One hamburger with cheese, and $2 worth of chips."
 
The following users thanked this post: b_force

Offline VK3DRB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1693
  • Country: au
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #17 on: May 27, 2018, 01:04:18 pm »
Error of judgement = I lied.
Error of judgement = I stole.
Error of judgement = I raped.

Business development manager = salesman.
State manager = salesman.
Area manager = salesman.
 

Offline b_force

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1180
  • Country: 00
    • One World Concepts
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #18 on: May 27, 2018, 01:22:40 pm »
Our CTO often says the annoying buzzword "takeaways", in phrases such as: 'What are our takeaways from this discussion?" I am tempted to reply, "One hamburger with cheese, and $2 worth of chips."
I wouldn't be temped, I simply would reply like that.

I find it very childish when people nitpick on words.
Complete waste of my time, just take your responsibility and go on with it.
IF someone makes a mistake, just be a man and admit it.
In the end it's about the solution, not who or what created problem to begin with.
Although lots of people and companies have a tendency to stay in the 'pointing fingers and blame stage" and never actually get to the solution.
"If you can't explain it simply (or at all), you don't understand it well enough." A. Einstein

http://www.oneworldconcepts.com/ | http://www.soundprojects.com
 

Offline Circlotron

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1748
  • Country: au
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2018, 01:30:49 pm »
You forget, we don't address problems or issues -- we provide solutions!

Tim
Almost.
We deliver solutions.
 ::)
 
The following users thanked this post: b_force

Offline Vtile

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 993
  • Country: fi
  • Ingineer
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2018, 02:35:59 pm »
Our CTO often says the annoying buzzword "takeaways", in phrases such as: 'What are our takeaways from this discussion?" I am tempted to reply, "One hamburger with cheese, and $2 worth of chips."
Takeaways?? Only translation I can find for this word is the takeaway food related, is there some double meaning for it or is it again a linguistic corporate cancer?
 

Offline JohnnyMalaria

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 473
  • Country: us
    • Enlighten Scientific LLC
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2018, 02:41:19 pm »
"we're trying to empty the ocean"

"directionally correct"
Tell me it can't be done and I'll do it. Or give it a damned good try.
 

Offline Nominal Animal

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1472
  • Country: fi
    • My home page and email address
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2018, 05:52:33 pm »
Takeaways??
It's actually written as take-aways, as in a noun constructed from to take away, replacing e.g. conclusions.

is it again a linguistic corporate cancer?
This. It seems they need to twist the language, in order to silence their consciences, to be able to continue their exploits.  You can see this in all human careers: when someone insists on using obscure jargon, it means they are unsure of whether they even know what they are talking about, and are trying to hide it; if not consciously, on a subconscious level.  A true professional can explain what they do, and why, to a five-year old.
 

Offline ebastler

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 3406
  • Country: de
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #23 on: May 27, 2018, 07:03:06 pm »
My former employer sets aside meeting rooms to be "war rooms" when dealing with big issues

I wonder what the rooms would be called in which they deal with actual problems?  ::)
 

Offline JohnnyMalaria

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 473
  • Country: us
    • Enlighten Scientific LLC
Re: Engineers solve problems, not issues
« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2018, 08:06:17 pm »
My former employer sets aside meeting rooms to be "war rooms" when dealing with big issues

I wonder what the rooms would be called in which they deal with actual problems?  ::)

Toilets?
Tell me it can't be done and I'll do it. Or give it a damned good try.
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf