Influencing the Organization

Adam Bahret
Adam Bahret

It can be hard as a reliability engineer to influence the greater organization.  Reliability engineers have that awkward dynamic of not just executing the tools they are expert in but directing others to incorporate them into their own process.  If the perception is that reliability engineers only instruct others what to do, like a coach, then the perception may be that “they don’t have skin in the game”. If they take complete ownership of reliability activities the effectiveness of any tools influence on the product greatly diminishes. “DfR principle #1, You can’t “Design for Reliability” if the design team isn’t using reliability tools in the design process.

With this tricky balanced to be played between “man on the ground” and “methodology leader”, a strategy is needed.  One way is to keep a personal scoreboard for credibility among the product development team (for your notes only).  This incrementally increased credibility is what will enable the fluidity of reliability tool integration into the program and colleagues tasks.

So how does a team member gain that trust.  A good way to do it is to look for an issue that can deliver solid results if completely solved in a reasonable period of time ( i.e. not a massive initiative). Fix that broken section of sheet rock on the wall.  Don’t try to renovate a kitchen.  The work just needs to be one with a concise conclusion, visible to the team, and showcase some of the tools that you hope to “sell” later on.  Most critical is that you do it yourself.  Roll up your sleeves (literally if needed, get in the lab), do as many parts of the work yourself as possible. Need something from the warehouse?  Put your coat on and go over and get it. Need something machined?  Make the CAD model/drawing yourself.  Can’t do CAD? get a pencil and paper.

You won’t be alone.  Team members will begin to assist once they see someone making such a strong effort. They will want to see you succeed and be apart of solving this solid win.   When this initiative is complete you now also have peers who know what it is like to work with you, trust and respect.

The reliability engineer is no longer an outsider giving instruction.

They are apart of the design team.

-Adam

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