Methodology Vs. Problem-Solving

When I was 18, I bought a Vespa ’67: the famous Italian scooter. It was already very old then, totally beaten-up, but luckily I had a friend who owned an auto-repair shop, and he was kind enough to give me some access at night.

For several weeks, I taught myself the art of metal bodywork, ending up with a beautiful metallic sky-blue ‘67 Vespa. God, I loved that machine!

Then one day, I began to hear strange voices from inside the engine. This kicked off several weeks of nighttime debugging. I would wait for the auto shop to empty out, then I would disassemble the scooter, break it down into its parts, trying to find the problem. But I had a rule: always reassemble it before dawn breaks and take it out of the shop.

This was my first real engineering job. I had no fear, and I simply knew that I could understand how it worked and fix it, simply by debugging. Nor did I think it might be worthwhile to read the spec and bank some knowledge before starting. I became so good at disassembling a Vespa’s engine that I think I could still do it today – and faster than most people. After all that, I ended up replacing a one-dollar metal pin, and I fixed the problem.

Today I’m a verification engineer, leader, teacher, and I lead Vtool, a company that invented the Cogita debugging platform.

When it comes to engineering, there is always a tradeoff between going step-by-step, using well-defined and proven methodologies, and exploring your own path, looking at problems as if for the first time, finding the best solution you can think of.

 

Click here to read the entire blog post in Semiconductor Engineering.

Methodology vs Problem-solving
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