Five-step engineering process by Elon Musk

Recorded during the Starbase Tour, Elon Musk explains the five-step engineering process he tries to apply rigorously at his work:

  1. Make your requirements less dumb. It's especially dangerous if a smart person gives you requirements because you might not question them enough.
  2. Try very hard to delete the part or process. If you are not occasionally adding things back in, like 10% of the time, you are not deleting enough
  3. Simplify or optimize. It's possibly the most common error of a smart engineer to work on stuff that should not exists. Why would people do that? Well, every has been trained in high school or college to answer a logic. You cannot tell your professor your question is dumb.
  4. Accelerate cycle time
  5. Automate

I've personally made a mistake of going backwards on all five steps. Multiple times. Literally, I automated, accelerated, simplified and deleted it.


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