Sharks, minnows and DriveWorks


Back when I was on the swim team, we would play a game called “Sharks and Minnows”. One kid would stay in the middle of the pool – the shark. Everyone else would be on one side of the pool – the minnows. When coach blew his whistle all the minnows have to swim on the other side of the pool. Any minnow tagged by the shark becomes a shark for the next round. Thus for the second round there may be 1 or 2 more sharks than last time making it a little harder for the minnows because there were more sharks. Round 3 may start with 5 or 6 more sharks. Each round the number of sharks grew “exponentially’. The game continued until there was one lucky minnow left.

This game describes a typical successful DriveWorks implementation.  [If you are a SOLIDWORKS user, you don’t need me to connect the dots for you. You may skip to the next paragraph. AutoCAD users: read on.] The minnows are your work tasks. The shark is DriveWorks. In a DriveWorks implementation, oftentimes it is best to start small -maybe just one of your easier, more commonly used projects. After you get that project complete, you will have more time available to you to add another project to your DriveWorks collection….and so on, and so on -it’s a snowball effect.

On the other side of the coin, I just learned of a “failed” DriveWorks implementation. The customer decided they wanted to do their entire product line at once -and for them this was a huge task. They pulled an engineer off of production and assigned him to the task of building their DriveWorks system full time. This engineer was competent, but management changed the direction they wanted to go with DriveWorks several times -often times causing a loss of work. Meanwhile, production began to fall behind. Now this company had a decision to make. Pull a second designer off of production and put him in to help with the implementation and risk losing orders or put off the DriveWorks implementation. I am sure you can guess what happened. I suppose it isn’t fair to say the implementation failed because they do have plans to try again. Hopefully they will try a more manageable approach next time.