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Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - 01:20 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

by Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI, CDT
Cincinnati, OH

It really is amazing some of the situations and dilemmas we get into! Seems that no matter how hard you try, they still occur-- all too often! And often unneeded and bordering on the silly.

You sincerely try to approach your work with the best you got-- valid information; wide and substantiating research; applied experience; well-founded specifications writing; best of intentions; intelligent approach to reasonable solutions for your clients, and still……….does anybody really pay attention? A product representative bemoans the fact he is not in your specification-- but his/her technical binder in your library is 5 years out of date [missing two mergers, and a rather substantially revamped product line!]. Paying attention?

Project Managers come by late in the game and ask IF you included this or that-- which was done as SOP early in the game. It is merely part of the standard, routine and usual situation-- why would you change it [you’re not dumb and can retain and know what needs to be included] Oh, well! They’re satisfied and while no "award” is in sight, you did do your job. But…. did anybody pay attention? Or do they simply accept what you give them with full confidence?

You challenge a Project Architect over some aspect of the work, and come out looking [or at least feeling] like a worm-like creature; slimy, wiggly, and somewhat useless. Why? You tried to straighten out a situation, provided decent, creditable reasoning and resolution, only to be dissed by someone who “knows better”, plays better defense with seemingly stronger “tools” and talks louder because of higher status, or firm conviction. [Keep that file, though, this may/will be re-visited again-- soon!] Why didn’t anybody pay attention, first off?

Why do we do so much re-work, where we do; undo; re-do;, revise; undo; modify; and finally abandon or move back to the first solution? Wasn’t anybody paying attention someplace along the line? If the keynote on the detail doesn’t synch with the specifications, are the specifications wrong?

A real revelation is the final, close-out client meeting, when the owner tends to diss the design professionals because the project didn’t turn out exactly as first developed and approved. Huh? There was $100 million spent and the Owner finds out, NOW, that the project is not as desired? Didn’t anybody pay attention-- to the numerous changes of scope, owner required change orders, shifting of logic, re-thinking of configurations, re-setting priorities, needs lists, re-visits to “done” decisions [and subsequent undoing], etc. au nauseum! Guess nobody thought to pay attention to the “small leaks” in the dam before it burst from “thinking overload”!

Was anybody paying attention when we moved to new, zippy software for document control and storage [i.e., storing that which is already stored], only to convolute our entire process and upset our norm [as in “fixing that which is unbroken”]? Creating all new simply because some software designer had a nightmare that turned into a new wave of doing old things-- better????? Better for whom? [think profit for software folks—designer, manufacturer, seller, distributor, and them other folks in the cave, who without paying attention merely “pay the freight” but can boast use the latest software].

Department meetings have evolved into long discussions about what needs to be done because new software is about. So we review what has been done [for years?], adjust our policies [again!] and change our operations to meet the parameters and nuances of the software. [what drives what?]Little is discussed about “the department” overall, so it would seem that the design and the document production efforts are really functions of the software and not vice versa-- what?

Yep, just plain gripping here, but all the same is this not all true—at least to some extent? We are so busy that we outsmart ourselves often times, and really messing ourselves up. Nothing is straight line any more, and even if it did happen to be, we would find a way to make it different, crooked and skewed. And guess what-- chances are, nobody would really pay attention anyway!! [too busy working on their own mess!].

We KNOW our work is essential and works to the good of all, but I guess being taken for granted is the reward we get. Few pay attention feeling and assuming that our work is right and will do its job.

Wonder why that tends to be so ignored and such a secret?
Dennis C. Elrod, AIA
Senior Member
Username: delrodtn

Post Number: 24
Registered: 04-2010

Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - 02:28 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Ralph... I love it when you wax philosophical. Spot on!
Dennis C. Elrod, AIA

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