Rule #3: Do not wait passively

Unwritten Rule of Engineering #3: Do not wait passively for anyone — suppliers, sales people, colleagues, supervisors — to make good on their delivery promises; go after them and keep relentlessly after them.

Many [engineers] assume that it is sufficient to make a request or order, then sit back and wait until the goods or services are delivered. Most jobs progress in direct proportion to the amount of follow-up and expediting that is applied to them. Expediting means planning, investigating, promoting, and facilitating every step in the process. Cultivate the habit of looking immediately for some way around each obstacle encountered, some other resource or expedient to keep the job rolling without losing momentum.

When you take responsibility for delivering something, you take responsibility for the whole supply chain. Boeing famously discovered this truth with the 787 program. As Boeing engineer Hart-Smith said (years in advance of the problems):

If [taking ownership of whole supply chain] is not done, the performance of the prime manufacturer can never exceed the capabilities of the least proficient of the suppliers. These [risks] do not vanish merely because the work itself is out-of-sight.