Testing, Trade-off and the Emissions Tango

The Emissions Tango

There is so much to learn from this case for those who develop products for a living and automotive products in particular.  Understanding the impact of concept selection and testing of the product on the project success and product quality is important.  The early decisions we make regarding the development of the product will stay with us long after launch or we may find ourselves reworking the entire product.

Trade – offs

Most every design solution requires trade-off considerations.  For example, we sacrifice weight for reliability; or we may increase the cost to obtain a longer battery life.  Making this trade-off decision requires forethought and systems level thinking regarding the consequences and risks to product development and production.  In the case of the VW diesel situation, the trade off was NOx and CO2. [1]

The starting point of the diesel matter was, in hindsight, the strategic decision by Volkswagen in 2005 to start a … Continue reading

Regression Testing and Scope

Regression Testing and Scope

A brief exchange on twitter on the topic of regression testing leads me to this post.  Twitter, is not the place to really discuss this topic as there are too few characters and there are many factors that go into determining the scope of regression test.  Regression testing is the testing of portions of the product that were built previous to this iteration.  The testing is to ensure that in the addition of the new features to the product we have not inadvertently broken the product.  A good definition of regression testing can be found from ISTQB.


Risk Aversion 

One of the things we will consider in determining the scope of our regression testing will be the level at which our company is comfortable with the risk associated with the product in the field.  If our company makes medical or perhaps automotive or aerospace products, we may generally be risk averse since the consequences of our … Continue reading

Organization Management and the Pendulum


I have been re-reading my copy of Introduction to Quality Control by Kaoru Ishikawa.  If you have been following our blog, you will know we frequently write on quality items and it is not strange for us to read these types of books. However, there is a reference in this book that takes me back to some of the companies at which I have worked in the past.  The specific paragraph is noted below[1]:

Presidential QC diagnosis should not be carried out on the premise that everything is bad, using top management muscle to expose malpractice n a deal shortcomings.  Like the doctor who examines a patient in order to diagnose an illness and commence treatment and promptly so that the illness gets no worse, the presidential QC diagnoses aims for action.  Its purpose is to enlist everyone’s cooperation to pinpoint weaknesses and systematically improve the situation.  This means that CEOs … Continue reading

Decision Matrix Applied to Test Strategy

We can use a decision matrix to help determine  the best test strategy.  In this instance, the decision matrix is comparing what we believe to be vehicle testing success criterion (such as the fidelity of the test results and ability to duplicate, the speed at which we can test and meeting critical dependencies) against a number of possible solutions.  The highest scoring approach represents the best approach given the constraints.



Optimism is a Kind of Blindness

 Optimism is a Kind of Blindness

Perhaps it is because I have seen the word optimism abused that I say optimism is a kind of blindness.  Optimism like hope is used to justify our limited planning and reduced talent.  Through optimism, we encourage troops to charge across a field that will surely end in their death and little else (Pickett’s charge).  It is optimism that responds to valid constraints or risks cavalierly or worse yet shooting the nay-saying messenger.  Consider the Allied Operation Market Garden, dropping paratroopers on top of tanks. The messenger that brought this to the attention of “management” was (-Major Brian Urquhart) and he would be asked to take sick leave because he pointed out that dropping paratroopers on top of tanks would be a poor idea.  He rocked the boat.

I am not comparing the seriousness of troops and their lives with business, but this approach is not limited to generals and wartime.  This approach … Continue reading

Poor Excuse for Not Automating Testing

Poor Excuse for Not Automating Testing

Recently I came across and participated in a social media exchange that proposed that automating product testing (software) was really not helpful.  Their assertion was backed with comments about personnel new to testing will be unable to learn how to test.

Testing and System Complexity

System and software complexity, the number of interactions, permutations (configurations) and feature content, and failure mode consequences can make comprehensive testing via solely manual techniques very improbable.  The only time solely manual methods may work, is for very simple and small scale products.  The number of test cases for a moderately complex system can be in the thousands.

Testing and Repeatability

Done correctly, automating testing helps ensure repeatability of testing.  This is important when we find a defect and we wish to trace the root cause of the problem, the exact set of steps of the test that evoked the defect.  Of course, Continue reading

Project Strategy and Decision Matrix

There are many ways for us to evaluate the project we have discussed the monetary evaluation techniques in our books. These business measurements provide us with mechanisms to assess the business viability of the product.

There are also ways to evaluate the project strategy with decision-making tools like Pugh. In an earlier post we demonstrated how this tool can be used to evaluate the design against the objective and product requirements. We reviewed a variety of concepts against success factors. Those design factors had priority levels (weighting) so those design attributes that mattered the most received are weighted accordingly. This same approach works for project strategies as well.

Consider a project objective, and our team has generated 3 different strategies that will meet the objective, but we need to determine which one is the best fit (if there is one). We can set the table up with columns representing the strategies, and the rows … Continue reading

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to our Newsletter
Email *
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO