My daughter, when she was much younger, used to joke, pointing into the distance and proclaiming, “shiny,” with the second syllable all drawn out.  Usually followed by “I wants” or some such.  Engineers have a habit of chasing shiny sometimes as well.  Too often it is in the context of looking for a quick, all inclusive solution to a tough problem.  Furthermore what really happens is that shiny causes engineers (and their managers, perhaps even more often) to abandon a tedious, methodological path to solving a problem that is promising but will take time and hard work for a new idea that looms in the distance, bright and beckoning.

The mythical will-o-wisp had perhaps the same effect, farmers abandoning their fields to chase an elusive beckon.  Likewise sirens and their impact on sailors, and even some politicians and their constituents.  Yet that is for a different species of blog.  Here we are focused on productization engineering, and we need to beware the lure of the new, quick fix.  It does happen of course and new ideas / insights / inspirations should not be dismissed just because they are new, but on the other hand a bit of due diligence before leaping off in a new direction full bore is not a bad idea.

Some tools for productization engineer and supply chain professionals to use to keep to a rigorous path toward a  goal–to catching shiny–without sacrificing velocity (very important: as my old boss at Flextronics, Michael Marks, used to say, “It’s not the big who eat the small, it’s the fast who eat the slow”) include FMEAs, both DFMEAs for designers and their cousins, PFMEAs for industrialization engineers; program and project management; design of experiments; and of course defining and most importantly using processes.



  • Zeb

    I done chased shiny last Friday night. Saw a will-o-wisp out behind the office, a bright light in the haze. Ran off after it quick as a garter snake then suddenly that there will-o-wisp starting chasing after me. Now I don’t run so good no more, and that bright light was catching up on me, roaring like a bar with a bee in its nether reaches. I dove into a ditch to save my sorry hide, and saw some creature from Lucifer’s basement, all leathery like, roar by on some kind of new-fangled velocipide. No more shiny for me.

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