Assessing Reliability Courses
Chris and Fred discuss what you need to think about when selecting your next reliability engineering course. What course do you need to do to become a better engineer (and more valuable to your organization)?
Join Chris and Fred as they discuss reliability engineering courses and which ones you should be considering to further your career. Both Fred and Chris develop and deliver reliability engineering courses, but they were also once students themselves. That said, everyone has lots of different experiences and there are lot of mistakes we have all made. Where are you at?
- Many reliability courses suck. We think. Have you completed a course where the instructor starts with (1) PowerPoint slides of explosions, plane crashes and other spectacular failures; (2) concluding that reliability is really, really, really important; followed by (3) a direct onslaught of statistical equations?
- Too many statistics. Not much more needs to be said than this. Reliability happens at the point of decision. Reliability engineering is all about making better decisions that ‘bake in’ reliability from the start. Only a few of these decisions benefit from statistical inference and data analysis. So courses that focus on statistics only are not reliability engineering courses.
So by the time they were done, Chris and Fred came up with the following six considerations for your next reliability engineering course:
- You don’t know what you don’t know. A good course is a course that teaches you something that you don’t already know.
- Courses must add value. You need to learn new things that add value to whatever it is you are hoping to achieve in your career. If a course is simply about different tools but not how to select the right tool, then you are not being taught how to think about solving the problems and meeting the challenges that are specific to you.
- Courses must motivate – personally. Which means they must relate to your personal professional experience. If a course simply talks about organizational reputation, historical catastrophes and other really high-level concepts, then every reliability activity or skillset could be relevant. But what if your focus is reducing time to market (TTM) for a consumer electronic product? … decreasing downtime at a mineral processing plant? … or perhaps you are genuinely wanting to just dip your toes into reliability engineering? Work out your motivation first.
- Courses must join the dots – and not just give you the dots. The statistics you need to learn need to be relevant to solving reliability problems. Courses that simply give you the tools but don’t tell you how to put them together aren’t particularly helpful.
- … and beware of courses that come with software! Many courses are marketed as ‘Reliability 101’ or something similar when in fact they are a barely veiled propaganda film for the software that the so called training organization also sells.
- It must be well done. Is it done on an iPhone 40 meters away from the instructor in a poorly lit room? I mean come on …
Enjoy an episode of Speaking of Reliability. Where you can join friends as they discuss reliability topics. Join us as we discuss topics ranging from design for reliability techniques to field data analysis approaches.