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Brian, Carmen and Jeff discuss the role of details in engineering projects, and how one goes about evaluating, managing, sharing, and documenting critical minutia.
- In the introduction, Jeff misses the detail that this podcast is published in November, not October.
- Carmen doesn’t mind sweating the details, but reviewing documentation for typographical errors is not his favorite task.
- It is often said that “the devil is in the details.”
- We continue to look for guest and topic suggestions from our listeners, so feel free to send us a note with your ideas.
- A previous guest, James Trevelyan, has written about the value of engineers, and how uncertainty reduction is an important contribution of the engineering profession.
- Uncertainty is frequently treated as a statistical issue.
- Brian relates a recent situation in which he burned through many hours trying to uncover a programming detail buried in the documentation.
- Electronic circuits can behave badly in “high EMI” environments, where EMI stands for “electromagnetic interference.”
- Jeff justifies his “pi multiplier” concept (see this podcast’s first episode) with the “cone of uncertainty” used by software developers.
- It’s Brian’s opinion that engineers often fail to utilize the formal methods found in other professions when managing a multitude of critical details.
- Jeff claims that engineering standards ease the burden of dealing with frequently encountered details.
- Of course, as Carmen observes, the problem sometimes lies in choosing the “right” standard.
- Searching a large solution space for potential design details can be a frustratingly slow process, says Jeff.
- Brian always tries to have a backup plan, so he is not “checkmated” by a single detail.
- The amount of documentation appropriate for each detail seems related to the detail’s expected and potential costs.
- Creating a documentation hierarchy can provide needed information without overwhelming customers, notes Carmen.
- Humans quickly become inured to a surplus of details (or warnings).
- Brian has found modularization (it’s really a word!) to be a good means for keeping details from interfering with one another during the development process.
- Software packages are available for companies wishing to implement enterprise resource planning (ERP).
- Git has become very popular as a version control system.
- Hardware changes can be tracked in Git using visual diffs.
Thanks to Frédéric Bisson for the photo titled “Détail de la machine à vapeur Merlin.” Podcast theme music by Paul Stevenson.