Part I: Getting control of your simulation processes and data
SPDM, SLM, SDPM, EKM, SM… Huh? PDM and PLM are good at locking down the finished product of our engineering work and providing a “one document of truth” as we head into manufacturing. But, what about all the trial and error your simulation folks went through to get there? How efficient were they in doing so? How many times did they reinvent a wheel (ie, run the same simulation someone else might have last year)? Did they capture all the results of failed attempts for future reference, or just a report from the one that worked?
If you’re sophisticated enough to use CAE as an integral part of your process, then it’s time to mature up the curve to SPDM: Simulation Data and Process Management. Here’s a quick video overview:
Part II: Skills you can use to become a better engineering presenter
In the presentation above, I demonstrate some of the best practices I preach in the Presentation Skills category of this blog. Watch again after considering the following:
The biggest challenge with this topic is the nature of the subject. Most people don’t have a predefined “bucket” in their minds labeled SPDM. If you just say the official words describing SPDM, your audience will start hearing a lot of terminology that sounds like it belongs in the bucket that does exist in their minds, PDM. That’s bad because they will be putting oranges in the apple bucket. Even worse, they will shut down the intake of new knowledge from you… because, frankly, who wants to know more about PDM? Got that covered already. See what I mean?
This is a concept worth thinking about for every new presentation. Ask yourself this question: In what existing mental bucket might my audience be inclined to (erroneously) place my message? We protect ourselves from the onslaught of new information by making snap judgments on how to categorize new ideas.
If you are happy with the bucket that your audience is likely to pick, then great! If it’s likely they will place it in the wrong bucket, however, you have a huge problem. In that case, your first job is to immediately create a new mental bucket for your listeners. Think about this idea and watch my presentation again. Look for the several spots where I create and re-establish the SPDM mental bucket. It’s very important to distance this new bucket from the likely (erroneous) old bucket.
You’ll also notice my attempts to limit text. Wherever possible, I use large, bold images. Asking your audience to listen to auditory input while simultaneously interpreting textual input creates a mental traffic jam. I ran into a problem with this on the “quotes from happy customers” slide. My solution was to leave a long period of silence towards the end. That gives the viewer a chance to read the text without me babbling in their ears. Not a perfect solution, but way better than talking over the text and immediately moving on.
You’ll also notice this idea in action on the final slide. I paused the video of screenshots until after I finished speaking. If I hadn’t, you can bet nobody would have heard a word I said. That would have created a different sort of mental traffic jam.