Friday, June 1, 2012


Liberals claim they are progressively making the world a better place with their ideology being implemented in the form of legislation, rules, standards, guidelines, and regulations. What liberals call progress, I like to call “creep”.

In my working years at Texas Instruments I noticed a lot of creep. Essentially, there would be a group of 3 or 4 people on a New Product Team (Design Engineer, Test Engineer, and Product Engineer) working hard to develop and introduce a new product. However, there were literally dozens of people employed in several departments hindering new product development progress and simply making it difficult to finish the job. It was not always that way, but due to new rules, regulations, guidelines, standards, and corporate policy (creep) the time and cost (adjusted for inflation) it took to develop and introduce a new product more than doubled over my 22 year career.

Marketing Engineers continually changed product specifications and therefore, changed the scope of the project (spec creep) throughout its development. The bottom line is it is impossible to hit a moving target. Sustaining Engineers wanted every new product to run at manufacturing facilities as if it were a mature product. In other words, they wanted new products to meet guidelines for yield, repeatability, and reproducibility as if the product had been in production for 10 years – this, off course, was unrealistic. And it was not enough that new product teams had to deal with sustaining engineering, they also had to deal with Manufacturing. Manufacturing had a completely different list of criteria, metrics, and goals, which incidentally conflicted with those goals set forth by new product groups. Project Management’s sole responsibility was to make an unrealistic project schedule (no new products ever met or exceeded scheduling expectations) and consequently held an inordinate amount of meetings about why the project is failing to meet the unrealistic schedule. Corporate Security creep worked to make it more difficult to get on systems, to enter buildings, and even to park a vehicle. I was reprimanded several times for parking violations and leaving my office door open and or unlocked (even though no secure information was exposed or unlocked). Corporate Maintenance and Safety made new and more stringent guidelines for engineers to follow (even though a product, test, or design engineer was never killed at the company due to safety issues). Human Resources were the best at issuing new creep including regulations for hiring new personnel, evaluating personal, and implementing an assortment of diversity policies that were just impractical. Quality Control was referred to as Creep Control. Quality Control issued dozens of checklists to ensure the new product team was meeting all the standards set forth by Marketing, Sustaining, Manufacturing, Project Management, Security, Safety, and Human Resources. And if that was not bad enough, upper level management was the machine behind all this madness of creating departments, groups, and organizations solely responsible for making up specification, rules, regulations, and policy creep.

All of these groups/departments/organizations (Marketing, Sustaining, Manufacturing, Project Management, Security, Safety, Human Resources, Quality Control, and Upper Level Management) had a few things in common. First, very few of the people within these departments understood the big picture. In other words, they were creating new rules, checklists, guidelines, policy, and regulation for new products without completely understanding how new product organizations created new products (remember the company needs new products to create revenue). Secondly, the creep departments grew in size (bureaucracy), while new product group growth was much slower. Third, ego and power was the reason for departments to create creep, not necessity.

Does any of this sound familiar? It should, this is exactly how the government interferes in the private sector. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) creates hundreds of new rules and regulation annually (creep, but what liberals would call progress). The EPA is continually making unrealistic guidelines for automotive and energy companies. For instance, the EPA set a 31 mile per gallon (mpg) standard for all new cars, but the EPA does not understand the science, engineering, and physics behind meeting such standards. For example, the EPA does not understand or care about the design tradeoffs between car safety (car size and weight) and meeting the 31 mpg standard. In other words, the EPA does not care if the car design is practical to meet marketing demands (big enough for a family of 5 to drive long distances). Hence, the automotive industry struggles at times to be profitable.

Just about any government department or agency is creating more creep than progress. The Department of Agriculture, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Health and Human Services, and unions are doing more harm (creep) than good (progress). Heck, the liberal interpretation of the Constitution is not progress, but creep.

Government creep has the same detrimental outcome as corporate creep – it makes it harder for private sector workers and companies to do their jobs; it makes private sector products more expensive (i.e. higher energy costs, higher health insurance costs, emission standards, and so forth); and it takes longer for the private sector companies to create new products. This is not progress, but creep that is strangling the life out of innovation and creativity and therefore, making the U.S. a second rate nation.


  1. Very good post, Patrick! You’ve coined the perfect word to describe the effects of out-of-control bureaucracy.

  2. Thanks CW, but I cannot take credit for the word Creep. I am not too sure who coined this phrase at my former employer.