Saturday, September 28, 2013

Is Good Engineering Talent Enough to Generate Success?

In November 2012, our company introduced a new blend of engineering that we labeled "Mobility Engineering", KTM Solutions demonstrated the power of blending engineering specialties across compatible yet unique industry segments. The power of blending automotive, aerospace, and machine automation experiences to drive creativity, innovation, and imagination ... this is the essence of Mobility Engineering. 
However, this idea is not enough to achieve success. When companies begin to develop a new product or offering, we have seen time and again a laser focus on finding best design engineering talent ... the best aerospace, automation, or automotive engineer. We also find that this does not guarantee success and develops a false sense of security that often bites hard. Sadly, we are called to help companies that spent a lot of time recruiting the right technical talent but missed the bigger picture. 
At KTM Solutions, we strive to add the missing vital component to every service offering. This additional part is so essential that we can virtually guarantee failure if it is over looked. In fact, this piece should be considered before doing anything else. What's the missing piece? Systems Engineering. 
Systems engineering usually goes hand in hand with good program management. However, this engineering discipline provides a strong focus on management and identification of technical/performance requirements and project risks. Good systems engineering will ensure that all requirements are identified, risk are quantified, compliance to requirements is measured, and actualization of the requirements is managed from start to finish of the program. Systems engineering will also assure that requirements changes are managed and coordinated. This process assures the development of technical a plan that all the other disciplines follow.
Want to learn more about cost effective, common sense ways to execute systems engineering on your next development project? Please contact us, we would be honored to help. Please remember as you begin your next project, "Failure to plan is a plan to fail."

When is the obvious not obvious?

I know what you're thinking. That last statement doesn't make sense. It's either obvious or it's not. But, honestly, I'll bet most people experience this almost daily. We often call it hindsight. Hindsight is always 20/20.

An example. KTM Solutions, working with an automotive supplier, we developed a solution that was so obvious to us, but a complete surprise to the client. The first statement from our client ... "Why didn't we think of that? The solutions is so obvious!"

True creativity isn't about complex solutions. Creative solutions are usually simple and extremely practical. Many of the best ideas are generated from life experiences. This is why KTM Solutions is consistently successful and continues to surprise our clients. With our breadth of experiences across multiple industries, we have a strong foundation. Those experiences help us to visualize, imagine, and build upon ideas to develop valuable solutions.

What could KTM Solutions do for you? 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Behind in the 4th Quarter

College football season! My favorite time of the year. I love the excitement and the passion of college football. Labor Day weekend marked the opening of the 2013 college football season. At the season start, everyone's record is the same and some have dreams of the perfect season. However, by the end of the weekend, half the teams lost that dream. And so begins the battle for dominance.

I usually follow two college teams. Louisiana Tech (my alma mater) and the University of Alabama (my son's school). This weekend, I traveled to Raleigh, NC to watch my Bulldogs get spanked by the NC State Wolf Pack. The Dawgs suffered a miserable loss by falling behind 14 -0 on NC State's first two drives. On the drive home, I listened to the Bama game on the radio. The Crimson Tide routed Virginia Tech. It all started when Bama returned the Hokies first punt for a touchdown. Both La Tech and Virginia Tech fell quickly behind and never recovered.

Our professional life is a lot like college football. We usually start our careers or a new job with a clean slate. Before the first "game", most professionals receive a lot of coaching and are well practiced. Some careers generate immediate success and participants stay ahead of the curve. Others immediately fall behind and have to fight and scrap to catch up. It's a lot more fun to be out in front. Like the game Labor Day weekend, NC State and Bama both made mistakes, but by being ahead they didn't fall.

Let's apply these lessons to engineering and project management:

  1. Projects all start out in the same place, with a clean slate.
  2. Cohesive well trained engineering teams will usually perform better that a group of stars that haven't worked together.
  3. When a team plays well together, stays focused on the goal, plays by the rules (no penalty), and executes the game plan; they will stay ahead.
  4. Projects that require catch up and go into overtime wear out the team and lead to mistakes.
  5. Projects that are behind require a strong bench to carry the load when the first string is tired or injured for the long game.
  6. When teams are behind in the 4th quarter, and the have struggled through the whole game, they usually don't have the bench strength to prevail. 
Don't find yourself behind in the fourth quarter. Get ahead early, stay ahead, and execute the game plan.  Reach to the bench when you need help.