By Fred Schenkelberg
What do you tell someone you just met when they ask, “So, what do you do?” Saying you’re a reliability engineer is likely to get a polite nod or confused look. How do you explain what you do, and why? Why is what we do as reliability minded folk important?
Some of us tend to focus on testing, modeling or data analysis, yet those are tasks that we accomplish. Is that what reliability engineering is about? I don’t think so. Let’s explore the meaning behind range to tools and tasks we use. Let’s explore the underpinning for our motivation to do what we do.
One way to describe what we do is to enable better decisions. Another is to answer the questions, what will fail, and when will it fail? Yet, another is we work to achieve reliability goals. We work to make things or systems last. Some of use work to break stuff in order to learn how to make the product better.
When you examine what we do closely, it turns out to be rather important to our fellow engineers, our organization, our customers, and society as a whole. Understanding the importance of reliability work helps you focus on what is really important, plus look forward too engaging in reliability work. Let’s sort out a great way to describe what we do, along with why it’s important.