In this episode, I provide clarity on the true meaning of quality control and how it applies to engineering documents including proposals, executive or overview summaries of reports, public hearing statements, and much more. I also talk about the need to measure assumptions and what type of language to avoid or supplement in your quality control efforts.
Here Are Some Key Points Discussed in This Episode About the true Meaning of Quality Control and How It Applies to Engineering Documents:
- To the public, quality control is focused more on products and not necessarily on service, and is generally thought to mean consistency. They say that it means assuring the results are reproducible and expectations are met each time.
- Quality control is also seen as producing the same product continuously without changes, defects, or variations. Engineering documents can be seen as a product that engineers try to consistently reproduce without any defects or variations.
- The goal in engineering is to always have a great product with the best solution. If changes are made to the product that reduces the quality, it should be put back to the way it was before. Do not let change happen just because it happens. Make an effort to make beneficial changes.
- Accuracy can be seen as another form of quality control. The product must be reviewed for accuracy and must look and function the way it was intended to. All flaws and faults must have already been identified and corrected before it is delivered to the public.
- The public has a relatively accurate idea of what quality control is for the physical product they want to get. The public expects that they will get something that is of good quality, but it must be able to be repaired and maintained.
- When working with quality control, certain words should not be used and some words can be replaced. Some of the words that engineers use can have connotations and expectations that go with them professionally, legally, and for the end user. For example, the words, “all, best, and none,” are terrible words for engineers to use because they refer to the extreme. Words like the word “stop” are directive words and should only be used by people on an authoritative level.
- Alternative use words like “highly trained” evoke expectations. The word “must” should be changed to words like “may” and “in accordance with.” The word “all” should be replaced with “most or some.”
- The use of these words, and many more, should be thought about when compiling things like proposals, reports, and after-the-fact documentation. Always consider what the public and end users will think about. Use language that everyone can understand and come to the conclusion you are trying to bring across.
- Cost estimates have become very challenging over the past couple of years. Caveat your cost estimates by saying things like, “This is the anticipated cost based on our knowledge and recent experiences, and cannot be guaranteed.”
- As engineers, we always have liability with everything we do, but the degree of mitigation must be determined. Our goal as engineers is to tenaciously apply sound principles.
More Details in This Episode…
About Brian Wagner, P.E.
Brian Wagner, P.E., is an engineer who specializes in civil site design and plan implementation. In addition to a career spanning nearly two decades of civil engineering, he has experience in Emergency 911 Communications, law enforcement corrections, and fire/rescue services, including K9 Search and Rescue. This different and diverse range of experiences has not only prepared Brian for his career but also positioned him to be an excellent speaker with a wide range of valuable experiences. He strives to motivate others to change their world and wants to do the same for you.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you can share on the true meaning of quality control and how it applies to engineering documents.
To your success,
Brian Wagner, P.E.
Engineering Management Institute
Host of The Engineering Quality Control Podcast