Yes, you read that correctly. It may sound like a childhood prank, but in reality pig launching is an everyday occurrence! Every one of us is dependent on the oil and gas industry, and the pipelines that carry oil and gas products to consumers. Just like the pipes in your home, oil and gas pipelines can build up residue that impedes the flow in the pipe. To keep the pipelines flowing, a device called a Pig is placed into the pipes, and travels with the flow to loosen debris and enhance throughput.
In the ideal product development project the client would provide a thorough and well-written set of requirements that can be unambiguously understood and implemented by the engineering team. Of course, this almost never happens in practice. Sometimes the requirements we’re given are so “soft” that they aren’t even really quantifiable. That kind of requirement can be extremely difficult to design to during a product development effort. So what can you do?
As part of our community outreach efforts, Syncroness engages with local universities in a variety of ways, one of which is guest lecturing. We’ve found that this is both a teaching experience, and a valuable learning experience. To help explain why you might want to try incorporating teaching into your own outreach projects, let’s look at one of my recent guest lecturing experiences.
You’ve convinced the powers-that-be that your company should use Model-based Systems Engineering. You’ve done an extensive trade study and picked the tool that you want to use. You’ve completed the budget and IT hurdles to put the tool into the hands of all your engineers. Now what? How does this new tool fit into your product development process? How do you capture your project’s data in the tool? Which diagrams should you use? How do you create your regulatory submission documentation?
These days it seems like everything is becoming a “smart” device. Even the batteries that power smart devices are becoming “smart.” A conventional battery simply exposes positive and return terminals. You’re left to figure out how to use the battery. In contrast, a smart battery looks after itself, tells you what its status is, and even lets you control what it’s doing. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But do you really need a smart battery? And if you do need a smart battery, what’s actually involved in making one?
The goal of an internship experience is often to “get your feet wet” in an interesting field or company. As a Syncroness intern, I think I got sufficiently “soaked!” I’d like to tell you a bit about my experience as an intern, and why I chose to continue working at Syncroness post-graduation.
What were your team members doing a year ago? Did they do brilliant work? Was there room for improvement? Do they even remember the details of what they were working on a year ago? If you’re a fast-paced and dynamic workplace like Syncroness a year may be multiple projects and multiple teams of coworkers ago. Providing feedback and setting goals once a year during an annual review, on a timescale far removed from the timescale of the work being done, can be less than ideal.