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Coping With Murphy’s Law

Michael J. Hamill, P.E.

Course Outline

Murphy's Law states that if something can wrong, it will. Inevitably, engineers will encounter situations where problem conditions arise. Situations of most concern usually involve individual parts, devices, or systems, but sometimes they involve people. This course is intended to help readers prepare for the frustrations of coping with inevitable difficulties in the world of work.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this course, the student will:

Intended Audience

This course is intended for Engineers, Architects and Technical Managers.

Benefit to Attendees

This course provides guidance to help engineers, technical managers and architects provide the best work results with as few errors and oversights as possible. It is meant to help users avoid common pitfalls. It also provides guidance on what sorts of problems to be most alert for, and how such problems can be avoided, minimized in frequency, fixed, or lessened in severity or consequence. This course will help those acting in a design capacity; startup personnel; and end users utilizing equipment and systems designed and installed by others.

This course will take about 3 hours for study and quiz-taking. The student will acquire three (3) continuing education credits upon successful completion of this course.

Course Introduction

People take for granted that the products they use, the homes they live in, and the services they rely on will work as intended and reliably.

Although reliability is taken for granted by most people, Engineers are often quietly on the front line of the human race in confronting problem conditions. This course focuses on helping them address some key but inevitable difficulties of their profession. It concentrates on common, “low-tech” failure mechanisms.

Course Content

This course content is in the following PDF document:

Coping With Murphy’s Law

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Course Summary

This course is meant to help the reader improve his or her understanding of the challenges engineers face in designing and applying useable devices and systems. It also meant to assist those who want to improve personal and organizational effectiveness.

Selected References

National Association of Corrosion Engineers International (NACE),
“Principles and Prevention of Corrosion”, Denny A. Jones (Publisher: Prentice Hall).
“Mechanics of Materials”, by Ferdinand Beer, E. Russell Johnston Jr., John Dewolf, and David Mazurek.
Construction Specifications Institute,
Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee,
Moore Industries White Paper, “Signal Isolators, Converters and Interfaces: The “Ins” and “Outs”. Refer to


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.