Category Archives: Business

In praise of recruiters

My current work situation is unusual.

I am doing engineering work, but often find myself at a desk sandwiched between two full-time recruiters.

I have many times been chased by recruiters to go work somewhere. And I have been the company using a recruiter to source engineers.

This is the first time I’ve gotten to see the world through the recruiter’s eyes.

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Why you should like Requirements Based Engineering

Requirements-Based Engineering (RBE) is simply an exercise in two positive human qualities.

Think about it.

“The system shall do (insert action).”


“The system shall have (insert characteristic quality or detail).”

This is simply detailing to your supplier, your colleagues (and yourself) what you want.
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Why I’m pessimistic on the long-term career potential in big commercial airframers

I’ve been fascinated with Big Birds since I was old enough to walk, and I’ve worked directly in commercial aerospace for 15 years.

This is the first time I’ve seen this situation.

For the next 5-7 years, the only two significant commercial airframers on the planet will be preoccupied with developing their existing products.

Boeing will have their hands full delivering the 787 and all its variants, and launching the 737 MAX and the rumoured new 777 variants.

Airbus will meanwhile be preoccupied with developing the A380 (and boosting sales), delivering the A400M, and getting the A350-900, -1000, and A320neo family through flight test and entry into service.

Neither airframer is wasting any breath talking about new airframe concepts that we might see next decade. Each will occasionally do some public daydreaming about a blended wing-body concepts, transparent fuselages, etc, etc. (I suspect they do that more for the PR benefit potential than anything.)
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Kickstart Your Aerospace Career – Final Words of Wisdom

Some of these you may have already heard of. It’s good to be reminded of them. They are good habits to live and work by, not just in aerospace.

If you can apply them all, every day . . . . . . . I salute you. You should be my teacher.

Here they are:

Pareto’s Law

20% of the inputs generate 80% of the outputs. I quoted this to you earlier in this series of posts. It applies to everything.

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How to bore an engineer

Give her a task that could easily be done by a piece of software.

Then tell her to do it again. And again. (No software.)

And tell her it has to be this way because this is the way it was for you.

The problem now, of course, is you don’t just have a bored engineer.

You have a bored engineer who’s looking for the exit. And a possible new recruiting problem.

Yeah, I know, you didn’t leave. But youngsters today have more options (and more gumption) than your generation.

The solution to a recruiting (or employee engagement) problem is simple: Eliminate boredom.


What’s Your Antidote to the Fear of Loss?

Twice in the last three months, I’ve missed out on paying work, losing in the end because I was too expensive.

Too what?

The client had a pay scale, or a spreadsheet somewhere that dictated how much they were prepared to pay for my time.

On or below that line, and I was in. One penny above, and I was out. Simple. Case closed.

The bottom line was the expense they would incur by hiring me.

I had been reduced to a cost.

They (and I) had failed to consider: How much profit or benefit would they make by hiring me? (It’s a skill I haven’t yet mastered, obviously.)

You will often hear someone moaning about the shortage of engineers, the lack of technical skills, young people don’t want to go into engineering anymore, it’s holding back the company’s growth, it’s holding back national growth, etc, etc.

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Google should learn from aerospace

As a self-confessed critic of the aerospace industry, I never thought I’d hear myself say this:

I think Google should take a lesson from commercial aerospace.

Google has abruptly decided to shut down its Google Reader tool, without replacement or merging the functionality into any other tool.

Just imagine an announcement like this from Boeing:

“Boeing announces today that it is withdrawing all support for the 767 line of aircraft, as of two months from now.  Operators of these aircraft will need to make alternative arrangements in support of their customers.”

Operators of these aircraft would be seriously inconvenienced and out-of-pocket. Some would find their very survival threatened.

There wouldn’t just be screams. There would be lawsuits.

There would be permanently lost customers.

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