As Marketing and Creative Services lead at Intelligent Product Solutions (a high tech product design/development company) one is surrounded by hardware and software product development engineers. And being a purveyor of a ‘soft science’ in an environment where everything is otherwise quantifiable, you’re often the proverbial lone voice crying out in the wilderness. The great payoff though, is the opportunity to learn dozens of new and challenging things every single day. So, in addition to the gazillion anagrams I’ve come to understand over my 6 years at IPS, I’ve also gotten a few pretty nifty life lessons from my engineering colleagues.
What I Learned From Product Development Engineers
1.) Beware the Law of Unintended Consequences.
The client wants to make a change to the product being developed. “That’s fine”, says the engineer, ‘but that change will also effect that, which will then effect this, which will also impact that.” There’s ALWAYS a tradeoff.
2.) There’s no such thing as “final” improvements.
Since we never stop learning, there will always be a way to do it better next time. Or maybe even this time.
3.) If it can’t be said with a chart, it may well not be worth saying.
As much more a person of words rather than numbers, this was a tough one. Because no matter what anyone thinks, you really can’t find a way to quantify everything! But if one intends to successfully communicate with engineers, it definitely behooves you to try and say it with a chart. Or at least a spreadsheet. And you may actually learn something more about your topic in the process. I certainly have.
4.) The glass is not half empty. It is not half full. It is simply the wrong size to hold that amount of water.
Neither optimism nor pessimism are helpful tools in product development. Just level-headed, clear minded observation and assessment.
5.) The only effective way to really de-fog the inside of your car windshield is to blast the AC and the defogger at the same time.
This is no joke. Try it.