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No vacationing during the holidays then.

Some people in the English speaking world will be puzzled by the title. Even with English as a first language you may have to think for a few moments to understand it properly. It is an illustration of the troublesome elasticity of the language. In business competing usage, obscure meanings can be more than a nuisance. it is a time waster for people not to understand quickly. It can be costly for people to misunderstand partially or wholly.

Because I am working through during the Christmas and New Year (holidays) without time off (vacation) I may remark “no rest for the wicked.”  Without a particular cultural context and familiarity with the proverbial/ironic voice this phrase carries you might be misled.  You may take away the false impression I am being punished for some reason by having to work when others are not, or confessing to bad intentions.    

Through the last two months of the year I have been back into the routine of travelling to visit customers. Many of the Capital customers, pretty much all of the ones I am dealing with are multi-geography, multi-cultural enterprises. I learn a lot of lessons about the best way to manage global business, get a good understanding of collabrative engineering with people from different cultures from my interaction with these customers. And have rediscovered a few things about the typical hotel room too.

Pretty terrible portrait on the wall there. Actually that's me in the mirror.

Speaking and writing clearly, precisely and appropriate to the needs of the listeners and readers is a necessity, not a luxury. Helps you to to do business efficiently. Just like in our business a program specification conceived with a flaw can result in a misfiring feature presented for testing, similarly a mis-statement of requirements for electrical design can be the cause of poor realization of consumer product.

And it is hard, very hard to be a perfect communicator for a couple of hours. The potential for error is large.

Look at this twice for Twin Peeks

You may say it is impossible to consistently communicate effectively. However one should not stop trying to improve.  

One of the problems with communication is that sometimes it is rushed. Engineers designing automotive and off-road vehicle electrical systems’ interconnections work with tight deadlines, heavy workloads. Their environment is even when software rich, almost invariably time poor. Sometimes the software detail richness gives interesting choices of ways of doing which become downright annoying because the time for choosing between competing closely matched benefits or methodologies is not now it was last year.

So I have been experimenting with brisker, sharper documentation. More quickly to the point.  When I have visited customers it is my habit to provide a report of what issues, discussions, resolutions, next steps and so on were covered.

I have been trying to condense a day into a few words as possible. I have tried to liberally use acronymns and abbreviate. Now it will only take you seconds to understand completely what it took me a day to accomplish.

In 8 am @ PEC – OJT for CI & XC, an EE NewB.
Q: DSI out? A: No. XML for FSS.
Q: FSS XC? A:Yes.
Q: Now CAN DRC or CER? A:DRC via API.
Q: Is ISC in ECAD from MCAD? A: CSA + OD fed to MCAD from ECAD from WS. RMB X.
Q: Ah, WS. CWS or AWS or MWS? A: Use AWS 1st.
Q: T&M Grp say SHRQ? A:Not now, IESD IDEA.
Q: ER/DR? A:CSD 5 Star. Ok, it is EFM or MPM.
Q: TCO & ROI? A: COTS = $ PDQ.
Out 3pm
DL432 Gate B47 Seat 16B 2hrs late.
DTW 11pm -6C Bah!

Capital Integrator Manual (PDF format) Pages 292-296 for further details if needed. ISC is a rarity as a TLA, but I have seen it used.

If you read this and don’t understand, well that was the point. If you DID understand, then that was the point as well. A win-win for all of us.  Nonverbal clue coming up, soon, here it is  :)

Poem: Don’t unmark my words in one fluttering updraft.

You mark my words.  
Mark my words in one fell swoop.
Never zero, two or more unfell swoops.

Nor yet in the USA a whole nother kinda swoop.

Happy New Year to all Mentor Graphics Customers and all my co-workers.  Best wishes for flawless communication – I’m going to keep on trying, that’s my resolution.

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About Paul Johnston

Paul JohnstonI help Mentor Graphics customers to be successful, accomplish a more rapid return on investment. My professonal focus is on the Capital product line. Customers need a good technical and commercial understanding when making software system purchasing and adopting decisions and in addressing issues through to best resolution. I am one of the team of experts Mentor employs to support the Capital worldwide. I was born just outside of Manchester England, am now resident in the metro Detroit area of Michigan USA. I have worked for Mentor Graphics for more than 15 years. Visit Paul Johnston's Blog

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