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Discovering Failure Modes

FMEA is a useful tool in trying to test the suitability of a product or process to the tasks that it is to perform.

It is often associated with the physical design of a product but it’s value can be felt far more widely in the designing new products. For example. In the testing and decision making of the selection of new product concepts.

One of the problems with the FMEA process is that it is being used by people to critique designs of their own making. This, from a psychological point of view isn’t something that we naturally excel at.
A technique that can be used is to turn the tables so that a Failure becomes and Success.

Who is the best person to advise on increasing Home Security? A Security Advisor or a successful burglar?
The difference here is that you are asking the Security Advisor to critique systems that he has already advised on and finding fault in the system is a negative slant.
The burglar, on the other hand, sees success in breaking into a property. His motivation for finding ways for being successful is a very positive experience.

It is through changing the situation around and creating a positive experience involving the right people that we can flush out as many failure modes as possible and then, rather than band-aid on the failure, we can root cause and possibly eliminate the reasons.











  Interim Engineering Director. Interim Engineering Manager. Interim R&D Director. Interim R&D Manager. Interim Project Director. Interim Project Manager. Interim CTO. Interim VP Engineering.