Years ago I knew this guy, he had a set phrase that he used to trot out to people who came up with engineering designs, because invariably they would come to him and tell him they had ironed all the bugs and flaws out and it was now ready for EP1
(Back in those days you did design work, then made Engineering Prototype 1, (EP1) and EP2, then Production Prototype 1 (PP1) and PP2, then Production Design 1 etc… EP1 could look like a dogs dinner, it just proved the principles, did the thing do what it was supposed to, PP1 had to encompass those things in a consumer ready package, and PD1 is what was actually sent to the shop floor for the initial pilot production run…)
He’d tell them, it’s got fucking flaws, you just didn’t spot them yet.
Every time someone, or indeed myself, entertains the NAWALT thought for a fleeting moment, that phrase pops into my head, the bitch is AWALT, you just haven’t spotted the flaw that removes the N from the front yet.
There is a secondary reason.
That old guy reckoned that you could sum up the issue in 99.999% of cases by stating that the undiscovered flaw would eventually be characterised as the thing not doing what it claimed to do, at some point or in some area of the spec.
In pretty much 99.999% of cases of the NAWALT being revealed to be AWALT, it has been the same thing, something she actually did, or failed to do, or something about her, did not live up to what she said was the case.
The guys trying to bring the design to life through mockups, EP1, EP2, PP1 etc basically spent all their time trying to make this thing fit the specs.
They weren’t stupid, but this was their focus, to work through the specs making this thing fit them all one by one.
The old guy was great at finding flaws, because he would go through the spec and deduce logical scenarios where the specs would give rise to situations with parameters that the basic design didn’t even address.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say you are making a machine tool, the thing is 1 metre long, and it is made of just one material, steel, and lets say it has to work to a repeatable precision of 100 microns, or 0.1 mm.
Let’s say steel has a coefficient of thermal expansion of 0.000013 per degree.
1 metre = 1,000 mm = 1,000,000 microns, so raise the temperature 1 degree and that bed will expand by 13 microns, raise it 10 degrees and it will expand by 130 microns, you just exceeded your repeatable precision of 100 microns, even before you added anything else to that bed.
So he would look for the systems put in place, not specifically listed in the spec, but nevertheless required to meet the spec, that would measure the temperature and therefore thermal expansion of this bed at regular intervals along it, together with some system of calibration and reference… and then another system to take these corrections and feed them back into the system.
Sometimes the flaw was purely technical like this, or the design was fine but as soon as you actually used the mounting points to torque it down that process twisted something out of alignment, or to reach one control you had to put your hand through the work envelope, or if you were using this control you couldn’t see that part of the system, and you needed to, etc etc etc.
it’s a thing young engineers do, they will design some doodad that involves part a moving against part b, and the moving against bit will cost 250 bucks a pop to manufacture.
more experienced engineers will know the design has to involve a part a moving against a part b and reach for the bearing catalogue, select a suitable 25 buck bearing and incorporate it into the design process.
The old guy KNEW there were flaws, dozens or hundreds of them, even when it gets to mass production, AWALT, but, some flaws you could manage and live with, provided you fucking knew they were there and what they were.
The wimminz who reminded me of this lesson yesterday, well, I don’t for one nanosecond want to give the impression that I was thinking she was a NAWALT, not at all.
She had and has flaws up the wazoo, but knowing them I did not personally have an issue with them, my error was I wasn’t actively monitoring for further flaws, thankfully I am red pill enough my normal modus operandi (my way or highway, no accommodations or allowances or flexibility or adjustments) caught this extra flaw and highlighted it as soon as it surfaced.
This extra flaw was caught by the wimminz not doing something she said / claimed / promised she would do.
Thankfully “people do what they wanna do” (AfORisms) so I hadn’t built any castles in the sky on the assumption that this wimminz was as good as her word in all areas and all things and at all times, so it was more of a
windows has failed to do x,
abort / pause / retry / skip?
dialogue box that pops up.
But it is still a shitter, no matter how fucking smart and experienced and cynical and red pill mother-fucker you are, eternal vigilance is impossible, and the odd NAWALT will sneak past your defences, so you better have systems in place that will catch that shit on the fucking drawing board, long before anything gets anywhere near the production line…