Rule #18: Don’t do an end run

Unwritten Rule of Engineering #18: Never invade the domain of any other department without the knowledge and consent of the manager in charge.

This is a common offense, which causes no end of trouble. Exceptions will occur in respect to minor details, but the rule applies particularly to:

  • The employment of a subordinate. …
  • Engaging the time or committing the services of someone from a different department or division for some particular project or trip. …
  • Dealings with customers or outsiders, with particular reference to making promises or commitments involving another department. …
  • Performing any function assigned to another department or individual. …

There is significant commentary on this last principle that should also be observed: in general you will get no credit or thanks for doing the other person’s job at the expense of your own.