Staying power ...

January 19, 2017

We undoubtedly live in a time where change is constant.

You don't actually need to be that old to remember back when your missed phone calls were scratched out on a pink slip of paper from the company receptionist as there was no voice mail system. At my first job out of college in the early 90's, there were cell phones and if you had enough clout you could check it out from the supply room if you were going on a trip. Twenty-plus years later and you can't imagine how you would get by without a cellphone.

Over that same time, our product development tools and practices have evolved immensely. The evolution of CAD software, analysis tools and rapid prototyping has significantly impacted how we develop products today.

As of late, there has been much experimentation and successes with problem solving and product development in the form of agile or design sprints. Speed of learning is emphasized with the Minimally Viable Product approach, which feels to me like a stark contrast to the Six Sigma methodologies of the late 1990s that required data for almost every decision.

Methods, processes and tools will continue to evolve; having the right people will remain the differentiator.

Undoubtedly, our methodologies and development tools will continue to evolve and change, but I predict that one ideology will remain relevant – I dare say forever. In 2001, Jim Collins published Good to Greathis management book that describes how companies transition from being good companies to being great companies. I won't break down all of the seven characteristics Collin's identified in this book, but I will focus on one that I believe has staying power. Collins referred to this is as, “First Who, Then What: Get the right people on the bus, then figure out where to go.”

As a business owner and engineering leader, I firmly believe that success lies with getting the right people on the bus. When you hire driven, intelligent, inquisitive, talented individuals and line them up in front of sticky problems and let them at it, there is no greater reward than seeing the resultant magic. I am inspired and awestruck by the individuals that make up our team and am really happy they are on our bus.

Methods, processes and tools will continue to evolve; having the right people will remain the differentiator.