Purpose of a Body of Knowledge
Join Chris and Fred as they discuss what it is you need to know for a Body of Knowledge or BOK for reliability engineering?
- BOK Approach #1 – Glossary. This is where we have a list of terms and their definitions so that you can look up the term you need to learn about. This runs the risk of becoming an ‘exhaustive’ encyclopaedia where every phrase needs to be defined … regardless of how prevalent or how obscure.
- BOK Approach #2 – List of Tools. This is where specific Design for Reliability (DfR) tools are outlined and described. This could be FMEAs, ALT, HALT, data analysis and so on.
- BOK Approach #3 – Narrative. This is where we tell the story of how to make reliability happen. You need a strategy and sequence of activities where you know what each one is and why you are doing it. And we also need to include topics that need to be avoided. The sad reality is that many reliability engineers passionately and blissfully use the wrong terms and tools. And you need to know that this is a thing.
- Pros and cons? You need to have a little bit of each. And this is one of the challenges of telling the story of reliability engineering. In some cases, the BOK needs to be really useful for learning about specific topics and ideas. In some cases, the BOK needs to be really useful for understanding how to come up with a reliability plan. And this is difficult.
- Most current BOKs are ‘certification exam answers.’ Which is because this is how that organization makes money. It charges engineers to undertake each exam, and if they pass, they become ‘certified.’ In fact, some organizations make sure that the only things that go into BOK’s that they author are ‘testable.’ Which brings me to the next point …
- A BOK doesn’t often replace experience. If a junior engineer can become ‘certified’ through demonstrating knowledge of a BOK, then the BOK does not reflect or acknowledge experience. There is a case for there being ‘masters’ BOKs that apply to 10, 15, 20 year veterans in the field.
- A BOK should cover what you need to know. Not what everyone else thinks you need to be able to say you know. Which is a problem …
- … and should include ‘soft’ skills. Nuance. Stuff that engineers are sometimes not born with. And this is often lost in most BOKs. You need to have an understanding how to work in the ‘human terrain’ and not just the ‘theoretical terrain.’
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.