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Re: Cross-Training vs. Specialization

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On Tue, 2 Jun 1998, Bill Polhemus wrote:

> We have an ongoing debate in our organization regarding the best
> philosophy for producing our bridge plans.
> The "oldsters," who've been around the block a few time, favor the
> tried-and-true "specialization" approach, where each member of the
> design group has a "specialty," such as prestressed beam design, or
> foundation design......
> .....
> Those of us with not so many grey hairs favor the "cross-training"
> approach, wherein every member of the team seeks to become as adept as
> possible in every phase of the work.

What happens if you lose your "Prestressed" person ?  Do you stop
designing prestressed bridges ?

What happens if all your bridges this year are steel ?  Does the
"Prestressed" person get to loaf around and read magazines ?

Unless your office is huge, you need redundancy in capabilities to
handle changes in personnel or work load. Each person needs to have
the capability to handle a variety of job assignments to accommodate 
these changes.

Specialization is for insects.

Edwin R. Schmeckpeper, P.E., Ph.D.
Department of Civil Engineering                   Phone  : (208) 885-6702 
University of Idaho                               FAX    : (208) 885-6608
Moscow, Idaho 83844-1022                          E-Mail : eds(--nospam--at)