Category Archives: Management

Stories from the gray side of life.

Decision Making Using the Analytic Hierarchy Process

I gave a seminar a few days ago on System Engineering – a favorite subject of mine. One of the topics covered during my System Engineering seminar was decision making. Specifically, I speak about how I want trade studies to be performed in my group. I have participated in hundreds of trade studies, and I have used many different approaches. Continue reading

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Book Review: A Passion for Leadership

I just finished reading Bob Gate's A Passion for Leadership, and I am a bit torn. I regularly read books on management and most of them do not contribute anything to improving management– that is not true for A Passion for Leadership. The book is a well-written memoir in which Gates shows how he applied standard management lessons in difficult circumstances. These standard management lessons are worth repeating. My feelings about the book are torn because there is nothing new here. I understand that one could argue that the principles of good management are timeless, but I tend to like authors who give me a new way to look at things. Continue reading

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A Quick Look at the Walmart Closings

I saw in the news that Walmart is in the process of closing 269 of its stores, including 154 in the US. I became curious where the US store closures were occurring, so I downloaded the closings file and generated a pivot table of the data (Figure 1). Continue reading

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Book Review: Against The Tide

I have been working my way through a number of management books lately. The best of the lot, Against the Tide, was written by Admiral Dave Oliver about the management principles of Hyman G. Rickover (Figure 1). Years ago, I worked for a retired sub captain named Ernie Fischer. He had a number of interesting stories about serving on a nuclear submarine and about Hyman G. Rickover, the man responsible for creating the modern nuclear navy. Continue reading

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Work Allocations Relative to the Ansoff Matrix

I am often asked to evaluate the focus of my team's efforts relative to company's priorities. There are different ways of expressing these priorities – one common approach is to look at how your group resources are allocated relative to the Ansoff matrix (Figure 1). Continue reading

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Modeling Component Costs Over Time

I frequently am asked by marketing and finance people about how component costs will vary with time. Their motivations are clear – most market segments are strongly driven by unit cost, and the marketing folks need to determine when costs will drop enough to enlarge the Total Addressable Market (TAM) for their products. Continue reading

Posted in Electronics, Financial, Management | 2 Comments

Rogue Software Engineers and Responsibility, Accountability, and Authority

I have always liked Volkswagen (VW) cars – I actually rebuilt a Beetle engine during a shop class in high-school (Figure 1). My respect for VW took a serious downturn this morning when read the following headline,"Top U.S. VW Exec Blames 'A Couple of Software Engineers' for Scandal". Continue reading

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Good Example of the Economy of Scale

Yesterday, I saw an interesting article in the Journal of Light Construction (JLC) that does an excellent job of showing how the per-square foot cost of a deck construction drops as the total area of the deck increases (Figure 1). I found this interesting because I am going to have a structure built on my lake property in northern Minnesota. I thought this data would provide a good illustration of how I use Mathcad generate product cost models. Continue reading

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I Would Not Like to Have Worked For Frank Lloyd Wright

Because my wife and I are designing a cabin to replace our hunting shack in northern Minnesota, we have been looking at various house designs. Many of the designs we have looked at show the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright, who was the most famous member of the Prairie School of architecture. I know that Frank Lloyd Wright (Figure 1) is considered America's greatest architect (according to American Institute of Architects, 1991), but I do not think I would have wanted to work for him. Continue reading

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Asimov's Guide to Creative Thinking

Quote of the Day Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity, or registering wrongs. — Charlotte Bronte I just read an interesting article written by Isaac Asimov (Figure 1) on the creative process. The article … Continue reading

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