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Engineering Your Future: The Professional Practice of Engineering, 3rd Edition

ISBN: 978-0-470-90044-4
504 pages
March 2012
Engineering Your Future: The Professional Practice of Engineering, 3rd Edition (047090044X) cover image
Round out your technical engineering abilities with the business know-how you need to succeed

Technical competency, the "hard side" of engineering and other technical professions, is necessary but not sufficient for success in business. Young engineers must also develop nontechnical or "soft-side" competencies like communication, marketing, ethics, business accounting, and law and management in order to fully realize their potential in the workplace.

This updated edition of Engineering Your Future is the go-to resource on the nontechnical aspects of professional practice for engineering students and young technical professionals alike. The content is explicitly linked to current efforts in the reform of engineering education including ABET's Engineering Criteria 2000, ASCE's Body of Knowledge, and those being undertaken by AAEE, AIChE and ASME. The book treats essential nontechnical topics you'll encounter in your career, like self-management, interpersonal relationships, teamwork, project and total quality management, design, construction, manufacturing, engineering economics, organizational structures, business accounting, and much more. Features new to this revised edition include:

  • A stronger emphasis on management and leadership

  • A focus on personal growth and developing relationships

  • Expanded treatment of project management

  • Coverage of how to develop a quality culture and ways to encourage creative and innovative thinking

  • A discussion of how the results of design, the root of engineering, come to fruition in constructing and manufacturing, the fruit of engineering

  • New information on accounting principles that can be used in your career-long financial planning

  • An in-depth treatment of how engineering students and young practitioners can and should anticipate, participate in, and ultimately effect change

If you're a student or young practitioner starting your engineering career, Engineering Your Future is essential reading.

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Preface to the Third Edition xix

Technical Competency: Necessary but Not Sufficient xix

Audiences: Students and Practitioners xx

Organization and Content xx

Additions and Improvements xxi

This Book and ABET Engineering Accreditation Criteria xxii

This Book and the Body of Knowledge Movement xxiii

Acknowledgments xxvii

Cited Sources xxviii

List of Abbreviations xxix

Chapter 1 Introduction: Engineering and the Engineer 1

The Playing Field 1

Definitions of Engineering 3

Leading, Managing, and Producing: Deciding, Directing, and Doing 4

Leading, Managing, and Producing Defined 4

The Traditional Pyramidal, Segregated Organizational Model 4

The Shared Responsibility Organizational Model 6

The Focus of This Book: Managing and Leading 7

Leading Misconceptions 8

The Seven Qualities of Effective Leaders 8

Honesty and Integrity 9

Vision: Reach and Teach 9

Strategies and Tactics to Achieve the Vision 12

Always a Student 13

Courageous 15

Calm in a Crisis and Chaos 17

Creative, Innovative, Collaborative, and Synergistic 18

The Engineer as Builder 19

Concluding Thoughts: Common Sense, Common Practice, and Good Habits 20

Cited Sources 22

Annotated Bibliography 23

Exercises 24

Chapter 2 Leading and Managing: Getting Your Personal House in Order 27

Start with You 27

Time Management: But First Roles and Goals 28

Time is a Resource 28

Roles, Goals, and Then, and Only Then, Time Management 28

Time Management: The Great Equalizer 30

Time Management Tips: The ABCs 31

A Time Management System 45

Key Ideas about Time Management 46

Employment or Graduate School? 46

Full-Time Graduate Study 47

Full-Time Employment 48

Learn From Potential Employers 48

The New Work Environment: Culture Shock? 49

No Partial Credit 49

Little Tolerance for Tardiness 49

Assignments are Not Graded 50

Schedules are More Complicated 50

Higher Grooming and Dress Expectations 50

Teamwork is Standard Operating Procedure 51

Expect and Embrace Change 51

The First Few Months of Practice: Make or Break Time 51

Recognize and Draw on Generic Qualities 52

Guard Your Reputation 53

Learn and Respect Administrative Procedures and Structure 53

Complete Assignments in Accordance with Expectations 53

Get Things Done 54

Trim Your Hedges 54

Keep Your Supervisor Informed 55

Speak Up and Speak Positively 55

Dress Appropriately 56

Hone Communication Ability 57

Seize Opportunities for You and Your Organization 57

Choose To Be a Winner 57

Summing it Up 59

Managing Personal Professional Assets: Building Individual Equity 59

Personal Professional Assets 59

Annual Accounting 60

Careful Management of Personal Professional Equity 60

Continuing Education 61

Involvement in Professional Organizations: Taking and Giving 61

Licensing 64

Concluding Thoughts: Getting Your Personal House in Order 67

Cited Sources 68

Annotated Bibliography 69

Exercises 70

Chapter 3 Communicating to Make Things Happen 73

Five Forms of Communication 73

Three Distinctions between Writing and Speaking 75

Single-Channel versus Multi-Channel 75

One-Directional versus Two-Directional 76

Conveying versus Convincing 76

Listening: Using Ears and Eyes 77

Be Attentive 77

The Value of Facts and Feelings 78

Body Language: The Silent Messenger 78

Verify Understanding 80

Use What Is Learned 80

Writing Tips: How to Write to Make Things Happen 80

Define the Purpose 80

Profile the Audience 81

Structure the Document to Reflect the Audience Profile 82

Ask About Document-Writing Guidelines 84

Start Writing on "Day 1" 84

Get Started: Overcome Writer’s Block 85

Avoid Tin Ear 87

Retain Some of the Outline in the Document 88

Write Major Documents in Third Person: Mostly 88

Employ a Gender-Neutral Style 89

Write in an Active, Direct Manner Rather Than a Passive, Indirect Manner 89

Recognize that Less Is More 90

Apply Rhetorical Techniques 92

Adopt a Flexible Format for Identifying Tables, Figures, and Sources 93

Use Lists 94

Design a Standard Base Map or Diagram 94

Compose Informative Titles 94

Establish Milestones 95

Produce an Attractive and Appealing Document 95

Cite All Sources 95

Read One More Time 96

Speaking Tips: How to Speak to Make Things Happen 97

Conquer Reluctance to Speak: Commit to Competence 98

Prepare the Presentation 99

Deliver the Presentation 111

Follow-Up the Presentation 116

Concluding Thoughts about Writing and Speaking 118

Cited Sources 118

Annotated Bibliography 120

Exercises 121

Chapter 4 Developing Relationships 123

Taking the Next Career Step 123

Personality Profiles 124

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs 125

The Hierarchy 125

Application 126

Theories X and Y 127

Definitions 127

Applications of Theory X and Theory Y Knowledge 127

Dominance of Theory Ys 128

Delegation: Why Put Off Until Tomorrow What Someone Else Can Do Today? 129

Reasons to Delegate 129

Reluctance to Delegate 131

Delegation Isn’t Always Down 133

Delegation Tips 133

Three Possible Outcomes 134

Orchestrating Meetings 135

Reasons to Meet 135

When Not To Call a Meeting 136

Tips for Successful Meetings 136

Additional Meeting Thoughts 145

Working with Technologists, Technicians, and Other Team Members 145

Essential Members of the Organization 146

Challenges Unique to Working with Varied Team Members 147

A Dozen Tips for the Entry-Level Technical Person 148

Selecting Co-Workers and "Managing Your Boss" 150

Carefully Select Your "Boss" and Co-workers 150

Seek a Mutually-Beneficial Relationship 150

Avoid Being a "Yes" Man/Woman 151

Caring Isn’t Coddling 151

Coaching 152

Coaching Tips 152

Concluding Thought 153

Teamwork 153

Three Teamwork Essentials 154

Creating a Team 155

The Forming-Storming-Norming-Performing Process 157

Closing Thoughts about Teams 157

Effective Professional Meeting and Conference Attendance 158

Learning about the Conference 158

Before the Conference 158

At the Conference 159

After the Conference 162

Looking Ahead 163

Concluding Thoughts about Developing Relationships 163

Cited Sources 164

Annotated Bibliography 165

Exercises 166

Chapter 5 Project Management: Planning, Executing, and Closing 167

Project Broadly Defined 167

Project Management Defined 168

The Centrality of Project Management 169

Relevance of Project Management to the Student and Entry-Level Technical Person 172

Planning the Project 173

All Projects Are Done Twice 173

The Project Plan: Introduction 174

Consequences of Poor or No Planning 175

The Project Plan Avoidance Syndrome 175

Preparing the Project Plan 176

Principal Project Plan Elements 177

Element 1: Objectives – What Do We Want to Accomplish? 178

Element 2: Scope – How Are We Going to Do It? 178

Element 3: Risks – What Could Go Wrong? 178

Element 4: Deliverables – What Will We Provide to the Client/Owner/Customer? 181

Element 5: Milestones/Schedule – When Will We Provide the Deliverables? 181

Element 6: Tasks – What Tasks Need to be Done and in What Order to Provide the Deliverables? 182

Element 7: Resources/Budget – How Much Will the Project Cost? 183

Element 8: Directory – Who Will Participate? 184

Element 9: Communication Protocol – How Will We Collaborate? 185

Element 10: Monitoring and Control Procedure – How Will We Know How We Are Doing Relative to the Project Plan? 185

Ten Possible Additional Project Plan Elements 186

Project Planning Versus Project Doing 187

Executing the Project 188

Keep the Project Team on Track 188

Interact With Client, Owner, or Customer 188

Communicate With Stakeholders 188

Monitor Project Progress and Take Appropriate Actions 189

Closing the Project 190

Seek External Input 190

Conduct Project Team Meeting 191

Leverage the Just-Completed Project 191

Closure: Common Sense and Self Discipline 192

Cited Sources 192

Annotated Bibliography 193

Exercises 194

Chapter 6 Project Management: Critical Path Method and Scope Creep 195

This Chapter Relative to the Preceding Chapter 195

The Critical Path Method 196

Introduction: The Four Schedule Questions 196

Alternative Scheduling Methods 197

Network Fundamentals 199

Critical Path Method Steps 200

Example Application of the Critical Path Method 201

Tips for Determining Tasks 207

Some Observations about the Critical Path Method 208

Review of Earlier Schedule Questions 209

Closing Thoughts about the Critical Path Method 210

Scope Creep 210

Two Types of Scope Creep 210

Consequences of Uncompensated Scope Creep 212

Drivers of Uncompensated Scope Creep 213

Doing Something Extra: The Platinum Rule 215

Relevance to You as a Student 215

Preventing Uncompensated Scope Creep 216

Resolving Uncompensated Scope Creep 223

Ideas for Clients, Owners, and Customers about Avoiding Uncompensated Scope Creep 225

Closing Thoughts about Scope Creep 227

Cited Sources 227

Annotated Bibliography 228

Exercises 228

Chapter 7 Quality: What Is It and How Do We Achieve It? 231

Everyone Is for It! 231

Quality Defined 232

Quality as Opulence 232

Quality as Excellence or Superiority 233

Quality as Meeting All Requirements 233

A Caution for Engineers and Other Technical Personnel 235

Quality Control and Quality Assurance 236

Suggestions for Developing a Quality Seeking Culture 237

Strive to Understand Client, Owner, and Customer Wants and Needs 238

Define the Other Project Requirements 242

Assess and Manage Risk 242

Think Upstream, Not Downstream 242

Create, Use, and Continuously Improve Written Guidance for Repetitive Tasks and Processes 243

Expect Each Person to Check His or Her Work 248

Arrange for External Reviews 249

Reduce Cycle Time 249

Tools and Techniques for Stimulating Creative and Innovative Thinking 250

The Need for and Value of Tools and Techniques 250

Create and Innovate Defined 250

Brainstorming 251

Mulitvoting 252

Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats 252

Stakeholder Input 253

Process Diagramming 253

Fishbone Diagramming 254

Pareto Analysis 254

Problems-First Meetings 256

Mind Mapping 256

Ohno Circle 258

Metrics 259

Freehand Drawing 260

Take a Break 263

Closure: Commit to Quality 264

Cited Sources 264

Annotated Bibliography 266

Exercises 267

Chapter 8 Design: To Engineer Is to Create 269

The Root of Engineering 269

This Chapter’s Approach 270

Design in the Context of Major Engineering Functions 271

Four Engineering Functions 271

Interaction 271

"Back-of-the-Envelope" Sketches and Calculations 272

Design Phases 273

Hard and Soft Results 274

The Disproportionate Impact of the Design Function 274

Design in Terms of Deliverables 274

Drawings 275

Technical Specifications 276

Non-Technical Provisions 277

Design as Risky Business 278

Design as a Personally-Satisfying and People-Serving Process 279

More Than Applied Science 279

Aspiring to Creativity and Innovation 280

The Words "Engineer" and "Create" 280

Closing Thoughts About Design 281

Cited Sources 281

Annotated Bibliography 282

Exercises 282

Chapter 9 Building: Constructing and Manufacturing 283

The Engineer as Builder 283

Constructing 285

Importance of Constructing 285

What Gets Constructed and How? 286

Roles of Engineers in Constructing 287

Trends in Constructing 289

Manufacturing 290

Importance of Manufacturing 290

What Gets Manufactured and How? 291

Roles of Engineers in Manufacturing 292

Trends in Manufacturing 293

Differences between Constructing and Manufacturing 294

Closing Thoughts about Constructing and Manufacturing 294

Cited Sources 295

Annotated Bibliography 295

Exercises 296

Chapter 10 Basic Accounting: Tracking the Past and Planning the Future 299

Relevance of Accounting to the Engineer 299

The Balance Sheet: How Much Is It Worth? 300

Personal Balance Sheet 301

Business Balance Sheet 302

The Income Statement: Inflow and Outflow 304

Personal Income Statement 305

Business Income Statement 306

Relationship between the Balance Sheet and the Income Statement 308

Accounting for Your Future 309

Estimating the Necessary Net Worth at the End of Your Earning Phase 309

Accumulating the Necessary Net Worth by the End of Your

Earning Phase 312

Is This Overkill? 314

The Impact of Time Utilization Rate and Expense Ratio on Profitability in the Consulting Business 314

Utilization Rate and Expense Ratio 314

Analysis of a Consulting Firm’s Income Statement 315

Sensitivity of Profit to Time Utilization and Expense Ratio 316

The Multiplier 319

The Multiplier as an Indicator of Cost Competitiveness? 319

Reducing the Multiplier 320

Caveat about Cost and Consultant Selection 320

The Income Statement as Part of the Business Plan for a Consulting Firm 320

Project Overruns: Implications for Profitability and Personnel 321

Concluding Thoughts about You and Accounting 324

Cited Sources 324

Annotated Bibliography 325

Exercises 325

Chapter 11 Legal Framework 329

Why Law for Engineers? 329

Legal Terminology 332

Changing Attitudes: Forewarned is Forearmed 334

Liability: Incurring It 334

Liability: Failures and Learning from Them 336

Collapse of Hotel Walkway 337

Other Failures 338

Liability: Minimizing It 339

Insurance: Financial Protection 339

Organizational Preventive Practices 339

Personal Preventive Practices 340

Maintaining Perspective on Liability Minimization 344

Legal Forms of Business Ownership 344

Sole Proprietorship 345

Partnership 346

Corporation 346

Closure 347

Concluding Comments about the Legal Framework 347

Cited Sources 347

Annotated Bibliography 349

Exercises 349

Chapter 12 Ethics: Dealing with Dilemmas 353

Inevitable Ethical Dilemmas and Decisions 353

Defining Ethics 355

Definitions 355

Distilling the Definitions 356

Teaching and Learning Ethics 356

Legal and Ethical Domain 359

Codes of Ethics 362

Introduction to Codes: What They Are 362

Engineering Society Codes of Ethics 363

Ethics Codes for Other Professions 365

Business Codes of Ethics 366

Government Codes of Ethics 367

University Codes of Ethics 369

Codes Cannot Anticipate All Circumstances 370

Dealing with Ethical Dilemmas: Using Codes and Other Resources 370

Ethics Codes 371

Advice of Experienced Personnel 371

A Nine-Step Individual or Group Process 371

A Systematic Group Process 372

Application of Moral Imagination 373

Case Study: Discovering a Major Design Error after Construction Is Complete 374

Design and Construction 374

Post-Construction Discovery 374

The Engineer’s Actions 375

What Happened to LeMessurier? 376

Concluding Thoughts: Seeing Sermons 376

Cited Sources 377

Annotated Bibliography 378

Exercises 379

Chapter 13 Role and Selection of Consultants 381

Consultant Defined and Why You Should Care 381

The Meanings of Consultant 381

Why You Should Care 382

Why Retain a Consultant? Let’s Do It Ourselves! 383

Characteristics of Successful Consultants 385

Consultant Selection Process 387

Cost Versus Quality 387

Price-Based Selection 388

The Ideal Selection Process 389

Qualifications-Based Selection 390

Steps in the Selection Process 391

Welcome Exceptions 396

Summing Up the Consultant Selection Process 396

Price-Based Selection: Three Costs to the Consultant 397

Offering Less Than We Could 397

Further Reduction in Profit 398

Damaged Reputation 398

Closing Thoughts 399

Conclusions about the Role and Selection of Consultants 400

Cited Sources 401

Annotated Bibliography 401

Exercises 402

Chapter 14 Marketing: A Mutually-Beneficial Process 403

Consider Your View of Marketing: Are You Carrying Some Baggage? 403

Chapter’s Scope 404

The Economic Motivation for Marketing Professional Services 405

Marketing and Selling: Different but Related 406

A Simple, Powerful Marketing Model 409

The Model 409

Applying the Model 410

Caution: Respect the Order and Invest Time Wisely 411

Marketing Techniques and Tools 412

Create a Personal Marketing Plan 412

Learn the Marketing Language 414

Schedule Marketing Tasks 416

Find Common Ground 416

Earn Trust 418

Ask-Ask-Ask: The Power of Questions 419

Talk to Strangers 422

Stress Benefits, Not Features 422

Focus on Existing Clients, Owners, and Customers 423

Help to Establish Multiple-Level Links 424

Proactively Establish the Next Step 425

Selectively Share Data, Information, and Knowledge 426

What Works and What Doesn’t Work 426

Marketing Concluding Comments 427

Cited Sources 428

Annotated Bibliography 429

Exercises 429

Chapter 15 The Future and You 431

What Does the Future Hold? 431

The World You Will Work In: Same Role but New Stage 432

After the Knowledge Age, the Conceptual Age? 433

After The Knowledge Age, the Opportunity Age? 434

After The Knowledge Age, the Solving Wicked Problems Age? 435

Additional Views of the World Stage 436

Implications for You 437

How to Lead Change 438

Encounter a Leadership Gap 438

Move Beyond Being the Thermometer: Also be the Thermostat 439

Define the Situation: What, Why, Who, How, and When? 439

Recognize Widespread Resistance to Change 440

Practice Paradigm Pliancy: Prevent Paradigm Paralysis 442

Appreciate the Movers–Movables-Immovables Structure 446

Work Effectively With theMovers,Movables, and Immovables 447

Expect the Awareness–Understanding–Commitment–Action Cascade 448

Test Drive Terminology 449

Learn Why Change Efforts Fail 450

Adopt Change Principles and a Change Process 451

Concluding Thoughts about You and the Future 451

Cited Sources 452

Annotated Bibliography 453

Exercises 454

Appendix A: Engineering your Future Supports ABET Basic Level Criterion 3 455

Appendix B: Engineering Your Future Supports ABET Program Criteria for Civil and Similarly-Named Engineering Programs 457

Appendix C: Engineering Your Future Supports the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge 459

Index 461

About the Author 469

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Stuart G. Walesh, PhD, PE, is an independent consultant who provides management, engineering, and education/training services to private, public, academic, and volunteer sector organizations. With over forty years of engineering, education, and management experience in the government, academic, and private sectors, Walesh has worked as a project manager, department head, discipline manager, author, marketer, sole proprietor, professor, and dean of an engineering college.
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