Just a few points should be emphasized: None of these “laws” is theoretical or imaginary, and however obvious and trite they may appear, their repeated violation is responsible for much of the frustration and embarrassment to which engineers everywhere arc liable. In fact this paper is primarily a record, derived from direct observation over a period of seventeen years, of the experience of four engineering departments, three of them newly organized and struggling to establish themselves by the trial-and-error method. It has, however, been supplemented and confirmed by the experience of others as gathered from numerous discussions, lectures, and the literature, so that it most emphatically does not reflect the unique experience or characteristics of any one organization.
Furthermore, many of these rules are generalizations to which exceptions will occur in special circumstances. There is no thought of urging a slavish adherence to rules and red tape, for there is no substitute for judgment, and at times vigorous individual initiative is needed to cut through formalities in an emergency. But in many respects these laws are like the basic laws of society; they cannot be violated too often with impunity, notwithstanding striking exceptions in individual cases.