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Engineers Troubleshoot Problems Like Doctors Diagnosis Sicknesses

Engineers Troubleshoot Problems Like Doctors Diagnosis Sicknesses - RF CafeDave Palmer has a good piece on the Design News website titled "How to Be a 'Doctor of Engineering' Without Going to Grad School" about how, according to input from his son who is in medical school, the diagnosis technique being taught to aspiring doctors is similar to the troubleshooting technique used by (in Dave's case) mechanical engineers to get to the root of problems that are reported by customers. Doctors, at least during their training phase, use a four-step process termed "differential diagnosis." The doctor first notes symptoms and medical history, then considers possible causes for the malady, then prioritizes the list according to likelihood, and finally tests his conclusions by applying diagnosis and curative techniques. The parallel to electronic as well as mechanical troubleshooting is apparent. My guess is that most professional disciplines employ similar strategies when attacking not just problems, but when strategizing with "what-if" scenarios for new ventures. Such an approach has worked well, but there is always room for improvement. Maybe what is needed is a socialized approach where government bureaucrats will usurp the industry to dictate how engineers are allowed to troubleshoot problems, decide which repair methods are acceptable, and finally determine whether the circuit or widget is worth saving based on its rated value to the rest of the industry. It would suck to have a medical system like that, right?

Posted  October 22, 2013

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