Sometimes it takes a new set of eyes and a fresh perspective to investigate and correct a problem. For the month I was out of the office, my co-worker took over my duties with two similar products that, not surprisingly, have been a problem their whole life. I have been THE engineering team for these two almost exclusively since they were handed off to me. The design team moved to other projects and companies. Until B_ was assigned and I was moved on to post-production for another product, I thought these were going to form the epitaph on my tombstone, “here lies an old fool, a RIME took his reason and health”.
My new responsibilities are not unfamiliar. I had worked on the hardware test development team a couple of years ago for this state-of-the-art network device. I had been assisting our test team and floor technicians develop and then perform “bring up” tests. Those were – and now, continue – to be “exciting times”.
There is an old saying, “you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink”. To me, it relates to people all up and down the industry, from the folks who build our designs onto circuit boards (Printed Wiring Assemblies) to management to the technician loading the machine code by computer at a test bench. Horses are stubborn. People are stubborn, But people also have spreadsheets, budgets, and competing priorities for engineers and support staff.
And sometimes, it is just a faulty circuit that confounds repair. That’s where B_ and I come in.
And you may be asking, how does this relate to rabbits? When I take Dexter and Comet to our little wilderness area next to our home, there are large and small rabbits out and about. I may catch a glimpse of them. I do not deliberately let the dogs run after rabbits but occasionally they spot one and tear off into the brush. Dexter generally goes the opposite direction to the rabbit running. Comet lumbers after Dexter. And sometimes they are rooting around happily peeing on a bush and oblivious to a rabbit which hops out across the path right in front of me.
My work is often chasing rabbits. Going down a hole or rooting around tumbleweeds. Not oblivious, but sometimes very focused. And then the rabbit (problem) will pop up in front of someone with fresh eyes.