Re: As a "general rule"?

rickman wrote:

It depends only upon how the cost of a human life compares to the other

Defense systems don't formally weigh off the cost of a life, at least
the ones I work on. The sort of problem I am talking about have
nothing to do with such tradeoffs, it has to do with the lack of care
by the people doing the work. What is the cost of caring about your

I care for the outcome of my work a great deal and I think I know where
Rickman is coming from in his "all encompassing requirements" requirement.
I have even ripped up the clients original requirements document and sat
down to re-write the whole thing (usually a much slimmer document) on which
we have the essentials covered and can be assured of the eventual outcome
in terms of functionality, maintainability, safety and environmental
impact. It does not take a lot of verbage to get a decent requirements
document together just clear and precise construction.

Come on, get real. Every practical project requires at least 3..4 times
more time and money to get it perfectly straight.

I don't know what you are talking about. I am saying that although we
hear a lot of lip service to what we are trained to do, in the end
management does not enforce the training. Sometimes I think that even
in management we have very few critical thinkers. In the end it has to
do with how they are awarded bonuses and emotional responses.

Management care about the bottom line and engineers need to be able to speak
to management in the terms the really understand. Bonuses, after all, tend
to depend on overall profitability.

We spend a great deal of time in training
and then fail to follow it. Many even argue against it. I am
surprised that you seem to be doing that.

I do not deny my training (it is much broader than electronics hardware,
software and simple mechanics). I put quite a bit of it into practice every


It seems I am not the only one bothered by this. A while ago I spoke
with a coworker who is incensed because a failed test procedure was
changed to allow the unit to pass even though our products not working
correctly can result in the deaths of servicemen.

I would be very concerned about this myself. Any change to any part of the
system (and test procedures are part of the system) has to be fully
reviewed in the light of the requirements - safety and otherwise). It may
have been correct that the test procedure was changed but unless a very
thorough review of the change was undergone then I would consider it
delinquent to implement the changed procedure.

Paul E. Bennett ....................<email://peb@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Forth based HIDECS Consultancy .....<>
Mob: +44 (0)7811-639972
Tel: +44 (0)1235-811095
Going Forth Safely ..... EBA.