Monday, August 06, 2007

A Failure of Management

The Smallest Minority: "Mistakes and 'close enough' are the ways to build bridges that fail." One failure reminds Kevin of another failure... the Challenger disaster.
Later I discovered that the engineers at Morton Thiokol had tried to get the launch scrubbed, knowing the problems that cold weather caused in the O-ring joint seals of the SRBs, but they had been told to "take off their engineer hats and put on their manager hats" in order to make a launch decision. The launch had been delayed too many times, and President Reagan would be making his State of the Union address that night, with a call to Crista McAuliffe - Teacher in Space.

I decided right then that I didn't ever want to be a goddamned manager.
The bridge collapse was not an engineering failure. A friend who used to work in the public sector in Minneapolis said he had been at numerous meetings where the subject of bridge repair came up, and the general lack of budget for the same.

As Kevin says, this is a management problem.

Nothing lasts forever. Even the Pyramids are being washed away by time and the elements. Failure to recognize that, and to recognize that maintenance and eventual replacement of all bridges, pipelines, roads, whatever is not an option. Not if you want to keep people from dying.

In the meantime, we will spend billions of dollars on Alaska's bridge to nowhere, but all of the bridges to somewhere will be left to rot, until they collapse.

Anyway, go read the whole thing. As usual, Kevin has something interesting to say.

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