General Engineering Introduction/Solve Problems/quiz

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1

Engineers

Fix Things
Avoid Tension
Solve Problems
Run with the first solution thought of

2

Techs typically work alone. Engineers work on big problems in teams. Why?

Engineers are super technologists.
Technologists typically can not get their act together
Engineers love tension
Engineers Design

3

Design Drift is caused by

Technologists
Random, one-of, unique fixes
Experts
Problems with the original design

4

Fixing things fast is the goal of:

Technologists
Engineers designing for the very first time
Engineers designing support logistics of war
Business

5

Ease of Repair is just one design consideration among many others including:

new tools, jigs or forms
original assembly versus disassembly
recycle and/or salvage
selling and passing government regulations
customer feelings

6

Who fixes things?

Engineer
Technologist
Technician
Expert

7

Technicians typically have a spare parts kit. When something breaks, they find the bad module and replace it with a good one. Engineering design creates the original. There are no spare parts. Engineers don't swap. Engineers design the ability to swap. Special tools, the space needed, what has to be taken apart beforehand, what is swapped, whether it is hot swapped or cold swapped are all features engineers design. Who Swaps?

Engineer
Tech

8

Engineers typically work in simulation software and then in the real world. When something is not working, the best strategy is to repeat what worked. Repeat previous success and new failure over and over again until a solution emerges. Technicians find replicating problems (breaking something that works) perverse. The typical technician attitude is, once fixed, don't touch it. Who repeats work/fail work/fail over and over again?

Engineer
Tech

9

Technicians can stumble across odd, tough problems and get frustrated. But they know the equipment used to work. Now it is broken. They can chant "It used to work" to get themselves in a positive frame of mind. Engineers can't. The don't know if it will ever work. Who chants "It used to work" to build confidence?

Engineer
Tech

10

Technicians typically chase forces through mechanical structures, power through circuits or information through chips to find the problem. They learn to see the paths after reading design documentation produced by engineers. Who chases force, power and information through an object?

Engineer
Tech

11

Technicians often have a working version or previous experience with a working version to compare with. Engineers have a vision of what "working" is that they are trying to create. They are totally different things. Who compares with a working version?

Engineer
Tech

12

Technicians often have ports they can connect a computer to where more diagnostic information can be found. The OBD port on a car, or a serial port in a wifi router are examples. There are pressures and temperatures to check. There are test points on a circuit board where voltages are checked. Engineers design all of these tools to help technicians. Who checks test points?

Engineer
Tech

13

Technicians typically read schematics, drawings, or 3D models to figure out what was designed by engineers. "Theory of Operation" descriptions often outline how it works. Engineers create the documentation. Engineers read the science behind the theory of operation (if any). Who reads the documentation?

Engineer
Tech

14

Engineers try to predict part lifespans and determine the first spare parts inventory. Technicians manage this inventory. Technicians have to separate new from used, broken from apparently working but causing problems for other parts. Technicians manage shipping the bad and receiving the fixed. Engineers set all this up. Who creates the logistics of spare part management?

Engineer
Tech

15

Technicians develop online forums containing problems and solutions. Engineers doing it first have no community to work in. Who searches on line for a solution with an expectation of finding what they are looking for?

Engineer
Tech

16

Technicians push, slap, feel, smell, clean, poke and spray with freeze mist or hot air to make problems appear, make problems permanent or make problems go away. Engineers only do this to the original design prototype and they do it without the expertise or intuition a technician develops from doing this over and over again. Who pokes, pushes, smells, ... ?

Engineer
Tech

17

Technicians have to restrain themselves from blaming the customer. Customers can consciously know they have damaged it, are using it inappropriately, are not using it for the it's intended purpose, or they can be using the equipment in a creative way the designers had not foreseen. This is why people answering support calls have to be monitored. Technicians know the typical mistakes that customers are unwilling to admit. Escalation of the support call usually leads to a support Engineer. The support Engineer not only worries that the problem originated with the equipment, but that the problem may be associated with the design .. and that the user may be one of many that are experiencing the problem. Who chastises anyone using something for other than it's intended purpose?

Engineer
Tech

18

Power off and on. Reset. Check the breakers. Every design has a list of simple things associated with normal operation that need to be done. Technicians have them memorized and know to go through them carefully and slowly. Engineers have a tendency to assume they have been checked and jump to the conclusion (worry) that there is a design problem. Engineers can consume lots of resources and make a huge problem out of something simple because they don't know the simple steps .. but neither does the technician ... yet. Who checks the simple steps first?

Engineer
Tech

19

Technicians know the odds of what is wrong from experience. Engineers don't and are more willing to patiently try (and document) all combinations and permutations. Technicians typically skip over what has never proven to be successful in the past. Who tries all permutations and combinations?

Engineer
Tech

20

Technicians pride themselves on having the right tool for the job. Engineers pride themselves in finding a new tool. Who tries different tools?

Engineer
Tech

21

Technicians worry about their jobs when there is nothing to do. Some actually celebrate when something breaks. Engineers celebrate the opportunity to improve the design. Technicians know which capacitor typically blows. Engineers sometimes fail to get this information from the technicians when improving design. Who celebrates trouble in a perverse way like surgeons celebrating opportunities for surgery?

Engineer
Tech

22

If it used to work, typically there is one problem. Engineers have to assume many problems during design. Engineers chop the many problems into small, tested, isolated tiny problems and solve them one by one. Technicians can search for the one common cause of all of symptoms. Engineers don't have this luxury. Who can assume there is only one problem most of the time?

Engineer
Tech

23

Parts are assembled. Subsystems create the system. Engineers define the parts and subsystems. Technicians find them in documentation or in the physical world. What the technicians find may not be what the engineer designed. Harmonizing these differences is the responsibility of technicians and engineers working together. Who tries to isolate the problem to a subsystem?

Engineer
Tech

24

Technicians used and repair. They don't have to sell the design. They don't have to sell the product. They are not worried about form questions. They don't know what complexities to hide from customers and which to expose. Engineers worry about other requirements such as legal regulations, best practice, weight, materials, cost. Repair ease is not the only concern. Who complains about ease of repair?

Engineer
Tech

25

A technician looks up equipment specifications and compares these with the reality in front of them. An engineer makes the emperical measurements used to negotiate design specifications with clients. These are totally different activities, but they often involve the same tools and equipment. Who checks against the specifications?

Engineer
Tech

26

Closed Ended Problems

have already been solved
contain the perfect amount of information; not too much, nothing missing
are like labs: materials are already on hand
have many possible solutions
maybe have no solution
are chosen by instructors that don't know the answer

27

When do incentives, rewards, promotions, threats not work?

candle problem, tacks in the box
candle problem, tacks outside of the box
When narrowed focus improves the work
Stuff that can be automated

28

What does intrinsic motivation mean?

you determine what you do
others determine what you do
rules determine what you do
nobody cares what you do

29

When do intrinsic incentives work?

Right brained, conceptual, creative tasks
Problems with clear set of rules
Problems with a single solution
Problems with rules that are mystifying
Problems with many or no solutions
Problems with solutions that are surprising and not obvious.
Mechanical skill
Cognitive skill

30

Should there be grades in this class?

Yes
No

31

Intrinsic Motivation means what?

Do things because they matter
Do things because they are part of something important to us
Do things because they are interesting
Do things because we like them
Do things because we should

32

What motivates engineers?

Autonomy- urge to direct our own lives
Mastery - get better and better at something that matters
Purpose - do something serving a purpose larger than ourselves
Money

33

Which companies/non-profits embrace intrinsic incentives?

Microsoft
Wikipedia
Google
Mozillia Foundation