Forensic Engineers & Investigators
Managing investigations can be challenging for both the client and the investigator, regardless of the objective and whether the context is blameful or non-blameful. Any type of management process is required to form goals, objectives and expected outcomes, but this is often difficult at the beginning of an investigation. While these may not always be formed until after the investigation has progressed, somehow the job still has to be managed.
We at Prosolve have learnt the value of managing such uncertainity through stage wise implementation of objectives and understanding the value of iteration, which is often also encountered during engineering design and development activities.
It is helpful to understand the process of iteration by referring to the adjacent diagram. As the investigation begins and proceeds, endeavour and effort pushes a point on the spiral towards the bullseye centre, representing improved truth and correctness. Each radial represents an investigation activity or additional resource which results in improved knowledge. Reviews of knowledge, cost, time to run and other useful parameters can be undertaken at various stages of the spiral. Cost has to be assessed by means of a committal accounting system, as opposed to a conventional accounting system.
We find that working with specialists across disciplines in an environment where their competence and effort will be subject to scrutiny and challenge requires first a personal relationship to be formed between specialists. This cannot be achieved in writing alone. Once this has been properly developed it is possible to create an environment where experts and other professionals feel comfortable about challenging each other’s hypotheses. This serves to facilitate the management of bias and cognitive illusions, an important aspect of investigation management.
In this way an investigation can be successfully managed transparently and openly, by way of a stage-wise incremental and iterative approach.
A dispute resulted between two parties due to several problems in an industrial plant that one of the parties manufactured and installed in a South Pacific country. Andrew McGregor was engaged to manage the technical investigation which included sourcing the necessary engineering expertise and managing the technical objectives. The investigation took several years to complete and the parties and experts spanned four countries. Stage wise implementation of objectives and iteration management occurred frequently. The dispute was settled out of court and details are confidential.