It is not a secret that engineers are constantly busy. Certainly, a full flight simulator’s (FFS) breakdown (e.g. host computer failure) must be solved immediately, because there is always a bunch of students waiting for their slot. But even if all full flight simulators work properly, there is always something on the ‘to do’ list: to update, repair or even periodically inspect all the processes in order to prevent potential problems or failures.
In order do manage all the workload SimHelp team would like to give some advice on how to manage your time in order to squeeze out the most and do all the work.
1. To solve one problem at the time
The main advice is to solve one problem at a time. You can choose one, the most critical problem and focus on it until the repair will be done completely. Or the other option is to select small fast-solving problems, solve them one by one and then do the highly time-consuming tasks. Sometimes fixing small problems will help with the bigger ones, e.g. fixing lights, internet or coffee machine would help to find more information or stay productive while repairing simulator. Either way the main rule is to stick to one problem at the time. Following this advice will help you not to waste your focus and time, to avoid confusion or not to forget important things. Therefore your productivity and quality of work increases.
2. Do not make experiments!
Every system, mechanism or operation has its own specifications made by manufacturer. Those specifications comprehensively describes where, when, how to use, how to repair and maintain, and must be followed even though some of them look obvious or unnecessary. Following them would help to do job properly. It may take slightly more time, although it could reduce the risk of failure and save a lot of both money and time. For example, some seemingly unimportant cables, or even smallest parts disconnected from the FFS at the wrong time, can cause major reaction or damage, such as creating FFS‘s response to fire and shutting down electricity for entire simulator. Of course, we have no doubt that fellow engineers are experienced at their job. Although, new full flight simulator, new mechanism or new software can be slightly different, which may require new studies in order to understand the principle how it works. In such cases simple ‘I guess this would work…’ could become very expensive.
3. Check, check and… check once again
It was mentioned before that wrong actions or procedures could lead to major damages. Such problems may not come just from the lack of knowledge or misunderstanding. Everyone makes mistakes. It may seem boring or ordinary advice, but SimHelp sticks strongly to it: best practice to avoid mistakes is checking. If you think that your work is done, check if it is really everything properly connected once again before turning the power on. When you do that – check one more time. When you do that – ask a colleague to check everything. Sometimes we are inspecting the work done from our memory, what can result missing the important errors. That is why SimHelp engineers suggest to use the ’power of group‘ and work with others on the same task – a few more heads could suggest more solutions and easily notice mistakes.
SimHelp would like to get your opinion and advices on the topic. What different practices you use managing workload?