Last week we reviewed the 10+ topics removed from the CRE body of knowledge (BoK). This week, let’s look at the additions.
Three of the additions are new categories or groups of topics that in part contain new topics. There are five new topics, that in most cases included bits and pieces of concepts buried in the previous BoK.
Let’s take a look at each additions in a bit more detail. Some I agree with, some I wonder what the motivation is behind the addition, and some I question why it is included.
II. Risk Management
A new major area for the body of knowledge. Pulling together the various elements related to risk identification, analysis and mitigation into one section.
This seems to be in line with ISO 9001, ISO 55000, and other ISO documents that have an increased emphasis on risk management. Reliability engineers have long worked with what are now being called risk management tools, and now we are being expected to work within the larger enterprise risk management frameworks.
II. A. 1. Risk management techniques
This topic expands the BoK to include the use of risk management tools within a risk management framework (such as one of the updated ISO standards). Reliability engineers have long considered and “prioritized safety, economic, performance, and customer satisfaction” with respect to reliability performance, yet now it appears to include a broader scope of concerns.
I wonder if this is to sell more ISO standards, or reflects an increased risk management role that reliability engineers and manager have taken within an organization.
II. C. Mitigation
A new subsection and topic. It has no subtopics. Again aimed at the increased role in risk management, this one focuses on the ability to create and execute “risk mitigation (treatment) plans”. There are various available risk mitigation strategies to consider.
III. B. Data Management
While the entire statistics section has been reduced it now includes the new section of data management. This makes sense to me as data is the heart of the many statistical analysis tools which we rely. The various topics scattered about the old BoK are now brought together within the probability and stats section.
Nothing really new other than a new location for the related set of topics concerning the collection, management, and treatment of data.
I. A. 3. Reliability engineer leadership responsibilities
I like this one. Having been a long-time advocate of building one’s influence in order to be a successful reliability engineer, it’s good to see this topic within the BoK.
The description includes words such as: champion, influence decisions, facilitating, and communication. The best reliability folks are leaders, influencers, and excellent communicators. While this is true of any engineering discipline, as reliability engineers we often have to play a leadership role exercising influence to achieve important objectives.
I. A. 8. Performance monitoring
Appropriately located in the leadership foundation section, the ability to set up, track, and understand processes and results enables reliability engineers to make informed decisions. A large part of the management function of an organization, monitoring that is, this one focuses on reliability and safety-related performance, which is appropriate.
Performance monitoring is a welcome new topic, in my opinion.
I. B. 4. Root Cause Analysis
I had to check and recheck – it wasn’t in the old 2009 BoK. This is a critical skill and glad to see it as a standalone topic. Wonder why it hasn’t been included in the past. Maybe it was considered part of FRACAS, which it is, yet such a broad topic does deserve its own focus.
This may be quite a difficult topic to master as most reliability engineers are not full-time failure analysts or working in a failure analysis lab. There is a lot of great tools available in the lab, yet I suspect the focus here is on the process of arriving at and solving or mitigating the root cause of an issue.
The 8 Discipline process comes to mind a natural one for this topic.
I. B. 8. Quality triangle
This one is going to be difficult to write exam questions that make sense as there are multiple ‘quality triangles’ in system engineering and project management literature. The basic idea is to consider and tradeoff appropriately cost, time, and quality. Here the topic encourages us to consider these three along with reliability.
Some triangles include function and some consider the effectiveness of the solution.
The focus of this topic is to understand the organization’s priorities and how to fit reliability in the priorities appropriately. While a common project management technique and something familiar to reliability engineers, it will reinforce the need to work with the rest of the organization to achieve reliability objectives.
Nothing shocking with the additions, no surprises. Some welcome additions and some I suspect are more politically motivated than actually part of everyday reliability engineering work. The process does involve many working professionals, so I may be just a bit cynical about the elevation of risk management.
I mention the changes to the overall structure of the BoK and next week will take a closer look at the new major sections along with what has been elevated or demoted to how well we need to master a given topic.
Take a look at the new BoK and leave your comments here. What additions or deletions make sense and which do not?