The ability to develop and use critical judgement defines and differentiates engineering excellence in our industry, yet it is one of the hardest skills to codify and replicate. This paper deconstructs the individual components and builds them into a framework that engineers and organisations can use day-to-day to develop consistently robust, pragmatic and timely decision making skills, whatever the situation. This is a key requirement for organisations to trust and empower people to perform effectively in increasingly unfamiliar contexts. Examples are given where critical judgement has influenced engineering situations and issues with the term ‘judgement’ are examined, including understanding the judgement of others, explaining your own judgement, importance of information to different experts; where the term ‘judgement’ is used to limit further engineering or analyses and the role of international codes and standards. After outlining the work of others, the paper provides a framework for critical judgement for engineers and other facilitators of judgement, such as managers or project managers, in the offshore industry and explains the key factors involved. These factors include scoping the problem, focusing on important aspects, practicalities, selection of methodology, sensitivity to assumptions, precedence/comparison, consequences of failure and pro's & con's and conservatisms & unconservatisms. Each of the factors within the framework can be used at any stage of a typical problem solving processs. It then outlines aspects of technical governance used within Lloyd's Register to consistently develop and manage judgement including technical authorisations and technical networks.

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