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Wants vs. Needs

The line between something we WANT vs. something we NEED is often a blurry one.  With regards to electrical design software it is very important to understand the difference in order to prioritize requests for features.

I have the pleasure of working with many customers across different industries.  In all of my travels I have met smart, dedicated people doing the best they can for their company.  There inevitably comes a time when our software solutions are lacking a feature or perhaps have a bug that affects a customer.  Most of the time the initial response to myself or our support organization is “we NEED this feature or fix”.  One of the toughest parts of my job is to evaluate the the request and determine its severity.  If I happen to disagree with customer’s assessment of the issue the dialog usually gets pretty heated.  I often start the discussion by trying to get at the root cause of the problem and then understand its effect.  This usually leads into the conversation of Wants vs. Needs.

I define need as things required for survival.  In the context of electrical systems and harness design, I feel needs would be things like:

  • Data accuracy
  • Data consistency
  • Data validation
  • Data conformance and compliance

To me these are the key needs when I think about electrical design and software tools.  Do the tools help me validate that the data is correct and consistent – this is the core of any tool set.  As an engineer I was most concerned in knowing my manufacturer built the product as defined by my model.

I define wants as items that are not crucial to my survival.  These are items where there may be a workaround for or a slightly different method of accomplishing.  When a customer asks for something in this category I always play back to them how does relate to the data?  The data is the key and more times than not customers come around and realize this point.  We need to ask ourselves what is most important.

Data Accuracy, Model, Capital Harness Systems, Validation

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About Michael Stamper

Michael StamperI work for Mentor Graphics as an Applications Engineering Consultant working with the Capital Harness Systems tools focusing on Miltary and Aerospace markets. I have a Bachelor's of Science in Electrical Engineer from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield Michigan. I recently completed a Master's of Science in Engineering Management from the University of Michigan while working full time at Mentor Graphics. Visit Michael Stamper’s Blog

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