Category Archives: The Signal.X Way of Life

Teamwork and Communication

Teamwork and Communication

Whenever a group of smart, talented people are brought together and tasked with a complex mutual assignment, the very first thing that must happen is agreement on the means and expectation for teamwork and communication. In fact, it is really the other way around, communication first and then teamwork, because you simply don’t get anywhere at all without strong, unambiguous, frequent, even redundant communication. I just returned from a pretty spectacular vacation where I experienced first-hand some of the best communication practices that I have ever witnessed. A week aboard the tall ship Manitou sailing out of Grand Traverse bay to parts North and back again. This 114’ schooner is crewed by five professional sailors and a cook. They operate in the old maritime tradition on a ship without electricity (just low-power lighting) and a wood-fired cook stove. We even raised the 500 lb. anchor every morning with a human-powered windlass.

I joined up with 14 other strangers for the week-long adventure and we all tried our hand at the various nautical tasks on board, but by far and away, the most fascinating thing to watch was the harmony of this crew as they worked their ship. This team had been together all summer running day sails three times a day, and the occasional three- or four-day trip, but mine was the season’s big one at six nights on Lake Michigan. Captain Brett and his crew had it down. Every command repeated by every crewman, every task prepared for, executed and confirmed with an echoed acknowledgement. Nothing done until the order was given, but everything perfectly anticipated. Things can happen fast on a big sailboat, control is maintained only by synchronized actions and everybody knowing what everybody else is doing – all the time. Even a simple thing like going down a ladder is preceded by the announcement “down ladder” and echoed by all with “down ladder.” Small tasks and big, all repeated for the sake of teamwork, clarity, safety and efficiency. Okay, it wasn’t 500 men a thousand miles from civilization sailing into the teeth of a hurricane, but it was still a beautiful thing to watch.

So, what is the lesson in this? I don’t think I can get this group I work with every day to smartly repeat everything I ask them to do and then return with a salute and acknowledgement when it’s done, but maybe I can bring a sense of the need for clarity, anticipation, acknowledgement and a copious amount of redundancy just to be sure to the team. We are a group of smart, talented people that are faced with complex mutual assignments every day. If a few hundred years of sailing tradition still works today out on Lake Michigan, I am pretty sure that adopting just a little bit of that spirit and tradition can’t hurt here in the office either.

Signal.X Welcomes Peter Skaggs to Our Team!

Signal.X Welcomes Peter Skaggs to Our Team!

Please join us in welcoming Peter Skaggs to Signal.X Technologies! After assisting us with fabrication and assembly services on a part-time basis, Peter has recently been offered a full-time position at Signal.X as a lab technician. In this role, Peter also has the added responsibilities for the organization of tools and supplies, as well as… Continue Reading

Signal.X Welcomes Miki Zheng to Our Team!

Signal.X Welcomes Miki Zheng to Our Team!

Please join us in welcoming Xueyun (Miki) Zheng to Signal.X Technologies! Miki recently graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology. As a project engineer, Miki will be participating in and leading machine build activities, mechanical design engineering, machine commissioning and test engineering activities. She has experience using Inventor 3D CAD… Continue Reading

Signal.X Welcomes Sid Parmar to Our Team!

Signal.X Welcomes Sid Parmar to Our Team!

Please join us in welcoming Siddharth (Sid) Parmar to Signal.X Technologies! Sid recently graduated from Michigan Technological University with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. As an NVH engineer, Sid will be working on conceptualization, design, control, data acquisition and analysis for NVH test automation machines. He comes with a passion for NVH and machine… Continue Reading

Stop, Drop, and Roll

Stop, Drop, and Roll

We were all taught as kids these three actions when faced with a fire emergency, and recently I have been thinking about how analogous they are to the phrase “fighting fires” in business. We all know what fire-fighting means in this context – all of us have lived through this to some extent at one… Continue Reading

Project Management in a Small Company: Part 4

Risk, Risk Planning, Risk Monitoring, Project Management, Project Management Professional, PMP

Risk Identification and Analysis Risk Planning All risks with a high-priority score (red) must have a risk plan. Medium risks (yellow) may or may not have a plan, and low risks (green) do not need a plan. All risks should be monitored throughout the project to make sure they do not change priority. There are… Continue Reading

Signal.X is Hiring!

Signal.X is Hiring!

Signal.X is hiring! If you are interested in joining our team, please email careers@signalxtech.com, and read the details below about working at Signal.X and our currently available positions. What Our Employees Can Expect Located in Southeast Michigan, Signal.X Technologies specializes in engineering services and custom application development in diverse fields related to machinery noise and… Continue Reading

Project Management in a Small Company: Part 1

Project Management in a Small Company: Part 1

Using Basecamp Introduction Before joining Signal.X I worked for a large company with a very well-defined project management method, many PMPs, lots of resources, an intricate IT system, and many, many, many rules and regulations. This was both good and bad – good because everyone used the same method which led to predictable results, and… Continue Reading

Category Archives: The Signal.X Way of Life

Teamwork and Communication

Teamwork and Communication

Whenever a group of smart, talented people are brought together and tasked with a complex mutual assignment, the very first thing that must happen is agreement on the means and expectation for teamwork and communication. In fact, it is really the other way around, communication first and then teamwork, because you simply don’t get anywhere at all without strong, unambiguous, frequent, even redundant communication. I just returned from a pretty spectacular vacation where I experienced first-hand some of the best communication practices that I have ever witnessed. A week aboard the tall ship Manitou sailing out of Grand Traverse bay to parts North and back again. This 114’ schooner is crewed by five professional sailors and a cook. They operate in the old maritime tradition on a ship without electricity (just low-power lighting) and a wood-fired cook stove. We even raised the 500 lb. anchor every morning with a human-powered windlass.

I joined up with 14 other strangers for the week-long adventure and we all tried our hand at the various nautical tasks on board, but by far and away, the most fascinating thing to watch was the harmony of this crew as they worked their ship. This team had been together all summer running day sails three times a day, and the occasional three- or four-day trip, but mine was the season’s big one at six nights on Lake Michigan. Captain Brett and his crew had it down. Every command repeated by every crewman, every task prepared for, executed and confirmed with an echoed acknowledgement. Nothing done until the order was given, but everything perfectly anticipated. Things can happen fast on a big sailboat, control is maintained only by synchronized actions and everybody knowing what everybody else is doing – all the time. Even a simple thing like going down a ladder is preceded by the announcement “down ladder” and echoed by all with “down ladder.” Small tasks and big, all repeated for the sake of teamwork, clarity, safety and efficiency. Okay, it wasn’t 500 men a thousand miles from civilization sailing into the teeth of a hurricane, but it was still a beautiful thing to watch.

So, what is the lesson in this? I don’t think I can get this group I work with every day to smartly repeat everything I ask them to do and then return with a salute and acknowledgement when it’s done, but maybe I can bring a sense of the need for clarity, anticipation, acknowledgement and a copious amount of redundancy just to be sure to the team. We are a group of smart, talented people that are faced with complex mutual assignments every day. If a few hundred years of sailing tradition still works today out on Lake Michigan, I am pretty sure that adopting just a little bit of that spirit and tradition can’t hurt here in the office either.

Signal.X Welcomes Peter Skaggs to Our Team!

Signal.X Welcomes Peter Skaggs to Our Team!

Please join us in welcoming Peter Skaggs to Signal.X Technologies! After assisting us with fabrication and assembly services on a part-time basis, Peter has recently been offered a full-time position at Signal.X as a lab technician. In this role, Peter also has the added responsibilities for the organization of tools and supplies, as well as… Continue Reading

Signal.X Welcomes Miki Zheng to Our Team!

Signal.X Welcomes Miki Zheng to Our Team!

Please join us in welcoming Xueyun (Miki) Zheng to Signal.X Technologies! Miki recently graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology. As a project engineer, Miki will be participating in and leading machine build activities, mechanical design engineering, machine commissioning and test engineering activities. She has experience using Inventor 3D CAD… Continue Reading

Signal.X Welcomes Sid Parmar to Our Team!

Signal.X Welcomes Sid Parmar to Our Team!

Please join us in welcoming Siddharth (Sid) Parmar to Signal.X Technologies! Sid recently graduated from Michigan Technological University with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. As an NVH engineer, Sid will be working on conceptualization, design, control, data acquisition and analysis for NVH test automation machines. He comes with a passion for NVH and machine… Continue Reading

Stop, Drop, and Roll

Stop, Drop, and Roll

We were all taught as kids these three actions when faced with a fire emergency, and recently I have been thinking about how analogous they are to the phrase “fighting fires” in business. We all know what fire-fighting means in this context – all of us have lived through this to some extent at one… Continue Reading

Project Management in a Small Company: Part 4

Risk, Risk Planning, Risk Monitoring, Project Management, Project Management Professional, PMP

Risk Identification and Analysis Risk Planning All risks with a high-priority score (red) must have a risk plan. Medium risks (yellow) may or may not have a plan, and low risks (green) do not need a plan. All risks should be monitored throughout the project to make sure they do not change priority. There are… Continue Reading

Signal.X is Hiring!

Signal.X is Hiring!

Signal.X is hiring! If you are interested in joining our team, please email careers@signalxtech.com, and read the details below about working at Signal.X and our currently available positions. What Our Employees Can Expect Located in Southeast Michigan, Signal.X Technologies specializes in engineering services and custom application development in diverse fields related to machinery noise and… Continue Reading

Project Management in a Small Company: Part 1

Project Management in a Small Company: Part 1

Using Basecamp Introduction Before joining Signal.X I worked for a large company with a very well-defined project management method, many PMPs, lots of resources, an intricate IT system, and many, many, many rules and regulations. This was both good and bad – good because everyone used the same method which led to predictable results, and… Continue Reading

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CONNECT WITH US

YouTubeLinkedInNational InstrumentsControl System Integrators Association