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Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Assertive Systems Engineer

So you are on a project to help the team develop a successful system. You notice things that don't make sense, or are not they way they should be. You raise your concern, "Hey, team we need a process to automate testing". Everyone looks at you as if you are some wacko, and then moves on with their business. Two weeks later and after 4 more team meetings you raise the concern again, and again. Finally one team member says "We always did testing this way, and we don't have the money or time to develop the automation, so don't keep repeating this".

What do you do? Shut up? Go with the flow? or be stubborn, resist to work in a chaotic environment? Actually the reaction should be neither. Smart systems engineers need to be adaptive, flexible and understanding of the business constraints and technical limitations. They also need to be assertive and counselors of best practices and approaches.

Document your technical opinion, the problem as you see it, the proposed solution, the rationale for the solution and consequences of not addressing the problem. Be assertive about your technical opinion, and also flexible to adjust the solution as needed to meet the laws of physics and constraints the team must abide with.

Remember systems engineering is all about engineering a system with the most optimum means, in accordance to sound decisions and rationale

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