The only Engineering rules you will ever need

I’m sure I learned a great deal at University, and I can probably even recall an equation or two, but I will never forget Professor Collins’ 3 Principles of Engineering:
1. F = ma (The take-away is this: you can’t ignore physics)
2. You can’t push on a rope (You can’t ignore the reality of your experiences just because the math says so – chances are the math is wrong)
3. To get the answer, you must know the answer (At first a seeming paradox, but on closer inspection, an endorsement for intuition and experience.)

Luka Matutinovic

Interesting perspectives here from Prof. Collins and Luka.

1. You probably recall that I have a different use for Newton’s Second Law in OSS – that of inertia and organisational change

2. Just like rope, you can’t push on data. No matter how much effort you put into rectifying data problems to try to push it into place, it’s almost always easier to pull it into shape at the source (see this earlier post), even if that means conducting physical audits to remedy the data or implmenting better data integrity processes

3. To get the answer, you have to know the answer. That’s why OSS needs an apprenticeship. There are so many pieces of the puzzle that need to be connected that to solve any problem of complexity, you have to have some knowledge of the composite parts as well as the intuition to know how they all fit. It’s also why l count myself lucky to have been a consultant across many different OSS and have seen a wide variety of types of problems (and solutions)

Not sure that these three are the ONLY principles you’d need in the field of OSS though. Can you think of any others?

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