• Question: Has there ever been a time where a project hasn't went as planned?

    Asked by TeriM on 25 Mar 2021.
    • Photo: Sarah-Jane Potts

      Sarah-Jane Potts answered on 25 Mar 2021:

      On many occasions. I think that’s a part of research though as you are investigating into things currently unknown or roorly known so somtimes it doesn’t go as you’d expect and others it does. There have been a number of unforseen problems with increasing the size of printed solar cells because previous people working on them either didn’t know what some issues would be or down played them. The main thing with my job is being able to take it as it comes, accept it and change your project plan and schedule to account for these things.

    • Photo: Amy Carter

      Amy Carter answered on 25 Mar 2021:

      Most of the time, unfortunately! It is very common in the construction industry for things to change and develop over the course of the project, because often when we start there are still a lot of things we don’t know. For example, we can do lots of investigation into the ground to try to figure out what it is made of, but then we might dig a hole a few metres away and find something completely different! So we have to make a lot of assumptions and keep reviewing things as we go. At first I found it quite frustrating but now I understand it to just be part of the job, and everybody expects it to happen so there are systems and processes in place to deal with it.

    • Photo: Mia Richardson

      Mia Richardson answered on 25 Mar 2021:

      Like Amy said, things rarely go to plan, especially the planned timeline. You come to expect a certain amount of delays. It can be something as simple as sensors getting broken during installations to bigger problems like the pandemic delaying construction problems.

      Getting the chance to react to these problems and solve them quickly and efficiently is what I enjoy about being an engineer.

    • Photo: Emma Robertson

      Emma Robertson answered on 25 Mar 2021:

      Yes, this happens a lot, especially with timescales! Often we may be too optimistic with how long something will take to do, or extra issues appear which take more time to solve!

      Sometimes when coming up with ideas, something will work really well until you discover one small issue which then impacts a lot of different areas of the project, so the plan goes out the window! Also sometimes lead times to get parts from suppliers can be longer than expected due to delays, which will then impact the rest of the project.

    • Photo: Magdalena Grzybek

      Magdalena Grzybek answered on 26 Mar 2021:

      Of course, it happens a lot! Especially when it comes to the deadlines and budgeting.

    • Photo: Anna Garcia-Teruel

      Anna Garcia-Teruel answered on 26 Mar 2021:

      Yes, all the time. It is important to plan projects so that you have time to react if something does not go as initially planned and to be flexible and adapt the plans as the project goes on.