At the beginning, there was an organization chart. The speaker assumed that we would all share his enthusiasm for this chart--perhaps because his own name was at the top. The rest of the talk flowed seamlessly from the organizational structure we had been shown. The project being reviewed was partitioned beautifully into the designated departments. There was a crisply defined set of system requirements, which melded into a flowchart of milestones and schedules, every one apparently being met, and a series of chronological bullet points describing major decisions. It was all a great success for the person named at the top of the chart.

I was suspicious. It was a talk I had heard many times before. There is probably even a template in PowerPoint for such a talk. "Insert name of project here," it says. Or perhaps the dreaded paper clip pops up and says, "I see you are trying to prepare a project review."

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Vertical
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":[]}