There is an interesting story in the Bible about Moses and his father-in-law Yitro. Yitro visits Moses and sees him sitting in his tent day and night as thousands of people ask for his advice. Yitro advises his son-in-law to set up a court system where he would delegate the easy problems to lower level judges and only judge the most difficult cases. Moses ends up taking Yitro’s advice and sets up a full court system.
I believe there are a many lessons in this story that apply to engineers. Firstly we see that since the dawn of time father-in-laws have been telling their son-in-laws what to do. Apparently this trait is in our DNA. Secondly we learn that Moses was the world’s first Project Management Professional (PMP). Yitro literally invented Project Management. Thirdly, we learn the value of delegating responsibility.
As engineers, how often do we try to solve a problem ourselves instead of asking for help? Like an engineer who never took a literature course believing that people want to read his blog…purely hypothetical.
What has the lack of delegating meant for the cybersecurity of our embedded systems? Engineers designing a radio are focused on RF propagation and those developing a vehicle are focused on fuel efficiency – as they should be. However the new reality of the Internet of Things means that everything is connected and everything can become an attack vector. Many engineers are not equipped for this new reality. Instead of asking for help, they kick the can down the road to the platform certification stage where the redesign increases schedule delays and cost. For instance, in a recent study of weapons systems, the GAO estimated that system redesigns increased development time twofold and development cost threefold.
Some of our greatest leaders were expert delegators. It is important to understand the value of asking for help and to ask for it early. When TELEGRID is designing and developing a new product we will actively search out experts in every discipline. We probably do not need a mechanical designer of tanks to design a handset, but when a device needs to be MIL-STD-810G it is important to use the best. The same should be said of embedded software security.
Eric Sharret is the Vice President of Business Development for TELEGRID. TELEGRID designs and develops secure embedded systems for the US Military.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here do not represent those of TELEGRID Technologies, Inc. TELEGRID Technologies, Inc. will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.