Time to review our goal

Setting aside some time to review our goal

As annual milestones occur, like the approach of the new year or the end of a project, we often take time to reflect. Did we accomplish what we had set out to accomplish? Are we making progress? Are we making a difference?

Part of this process is having a goal to start.

If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things. ~ Albert Einstein

Three goals

This morning I’m thinking of three goals that have been important to me.

  1. Eradicate the use of MTBF
  2. Increase awareness and discussion about MTBF
  3. Help others personally and professionally

Eradicate MTBF goal

A quick Google search for MTBF finds 1,440,000 pages. I should track the search results monthly to see if the rate number of finds is steadily increasing or not. Not sure how to really measure this goal. Maybe:

  • MTBF discussions involve “remember when…”
  • The term is removed from dictionaries and glossaries.
  • We do not recall the last time a customer requested MTBF.
  • We have to look up the exponential formula in an old book.
  • MTBF is not part of standards, contracts, or the CRE exam.

So far, making progress slowly as far as I can tell. The IEC TC 56 Dependability set of standards have been removing MTBF and related calculations from their set of standards. We continue to hear about companies and organization that avoid using MTBF. Yet, it’s still out there.

Increase awareness and discussion

On this front we’re doing well. The NoMTBF site has enjoyed over 40k page views from over 20k visits.

The guest posts by Andrew, Mark, Chris or Kirk generated the most traffic. I don’t feel bad that my posts are not the most popular as I suspect you may tire of my ramblings.

The Linkedin Group NoMTBF also continues to grow, with 417 members at the moment. I’d like to see more success stories posted. Let me know how you are dealing with MTBF and let’s share what works with each other.

The hard part is knowing how far the conversations are going. I’ve heard from a few that the coffee mugs and buttons do start conversations. I’ve heard of a few that regularly forward the link to the site. Let me know what works for you and what I can do to help. Any thoughts on improving the site? the forums? the blog? What do you need to help you avoid using MTBF?

Help others

Talking to an engineer last week about how to become a consultant we agreed that a key element is the willingness to provide value with every engagement. This includes the website, email, forum, phone call and meeting. I have been thinking about this and the many projects I’ve undertaken over the past few years.

To me the site, CRE Preparation, and my musings blog along with openings, the reliability calendar site, and the ASQ RD webinar program all contribute to our profession and to you.I get to answer question, promote professional development and get to know you. I get to enjoy helping you.

In classes I’ve taught recently I explained that I’m always available to answer questions or help find resources. Stay in touch and even though the class is done, the education continues. I like answering questions and try to as best as I can, or will help find someone that can help.

It’s in my nature, I guess.

I had not thought of this a personal goal, yet I do spend a good amount of time volunteering what I know. Maybe I should keep track. Maybe not.

As a consultant I find that some of these questions lead to projects. Most do not. That is ok. I’d rather give you a sense of how I work and how I can work with you, then keep it all behind ‘for pay’ consulting only. I get enough business to pay the bills and enjoy a fairly comfortable life.

Besides, it’s not about the money. It’s about improving the world in some small way.

I’m certainly looking forward to the coming year and all the goals, challenges and opportunities it will bring.

Best wishes to you as you pursue your goals.

About Fred Schenkelberg

I am an experienced reliability engineering and management consultant with my firm FMS Reliability. My passion is working with teams to create cost-effective reliability programs that solve problems, create durable and reliable products, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce warranty costs.

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