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BACK TO BOOK REVIEWS

Detailed review of: 


The New Management of Engineering


 

 

Publishers

:

Lulu Press

 

Authors

:

Patrick D. T. O' Connor

 

Title

:

The New Management of Engineering

 

Year of Publication

:

2005

 

Pages

:

296

 

ISBN

:

1411621492

 

Reviewer

:

Krishna B. Misra

 

Status

:

Review published in IJPE, Vol. 3, No. 1, January 2007, p. 46.

 
Table of Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. From Science to Engineering
  3. People at Work
  4. Developing Engineers
  5. Organizing Engineering
  6. Managing Engineering Projects
  7. Design
  8. Development Testing
  9. Production
  10. Quality, Reliability and Safety
  11. Selling, Using and Supporting Engineering Products
  12. Engineering in Society
 
Plus:
  • References  and Bibliography

It is evident from the contents that the author who has spent his working life in a variety of engineering roles, covers all



The New Management of Engineering

of the life cycle activities of engineering products. Since management is about maximizing potential, of people, technologies, methods and markets, it cannot be taught effectively in classrooms but must be based to a large extent on experience. The author who also started an international journal on Quality and Reliability published by John Wiley has poured out his personal experience into this book. Japanese management and quality circles have proved that unless people are motivated they can't be expected to perform at their best and successful companies have exploited these ideas to create better products at lower costs. The author rightly says that nonscientific activities such as finance services and transport planning can be learned fairly easily but that engineering requires the application of science and mathematics, and therefore can be effectively learned only by years of specialist study and practice. Engineers are expected to provide imagination, inventiveness and skills to perceive the need and to create a product. Outlining the boundaries of science, the author rightly states that scientific theories are often derived by determinism whereas real engineering problems involve combinations of effects, nonlinearities, discontinuities and uncertainties. This influences design and manufacturing. In addition material properties may vary from one environment to the other. Outlining the principle of engineering management, the author quotes Carl von Clausewitz, "The principles of war are very simple. Wars are lost by those who forget them", and likewise engineering management must follow the route marked out by the book.

Managing people is a very complex and difficult function. There is considerable evidence to show that productivity and inventiveness of engineering teams can be increased by relaxing constraints of organization and procedures. The author dwells at length on Mcgregor's and Drucker's theories of management before outlining Deming's 14 points. He goes on further to discuss how engineers can be developed and how they can be organized even though they may come from different cultural background and training. This is essential since a disorganized group of people will not be able to develop an engineering product particularly in today's competitive environment.  Further the author at length discusses the art of managing projects successfully since it involves people, knowledge, facilities, time and money. He highlights the importance of engineering the important attribute of reliability into a product. In fact, the author touches upon all the life cycle activities of a product that are essential for a manager to know. In particular, the chapter on development testing makes the book unique among engineering management texts in covering this essential activity. Problems of quality, reliability and safety as they are narrated by an engineer with wide experience, make interesting reading. The book is available in paperback and can also be downloaded from the publisher's website (www.lulu.com). The reviewer would like to recommend this book to all engineers, and engineering managers, especially those who are concerned about quality, reliability and safety of products and systems. 

Krishna B. Misra


Review published in the International Journal of Performability Engineering, Vol. 3, No. 1, January 2007, p. 46.

 


 
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