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Oops: Making Mistakes as Engineers

We all make mistakes. As engineers, failure as part of the design and development process is OK and should be encouraged.

Good testing catches issues. I’m referring to the type of failure that comes from trying to do things better. Never ever be afraid to try to improve the way something works.  EVER!

As engineers, its OK to make mistakes. Its great to make mistakes. That means you are learning. It means you are growing. It means some decisions are getting made.

As engineers on a new design project, make choices. Do your best.

There is nothing as useless as a group waffling on decisions. That makes real failure.

Real failure that ends up hurting someone is terrible. In our industry, real failure usually happens when there is apathy on design decisions. Lack of caring in doing things right.

Think through your design. Test it thoroughly. CARE deeply about what you do. CARE deeply that you’ve thought through every scenario.

Massive engineering failures like a plane crash or a bridge collapse usually result from multiple points of failure and neglect. Not from someone testing something new in the spirit of improvement.

DON’T be afraid to make mistakes.

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Paul O'Sullivan

Paul is an automation engineer and founder/owner at Skellig, an engineering company providing automation, process, instrumentation, and project solutions in the biotech & pharmaceutical Industries. Paul, with his team, is building Skellig to be more real, more personal, and more human.