Drop in Replacement

Today we discuss interchangeability of parts.  This may sound trivial, but you probably would not even consider replacing your food processor blade with your lawnmower blade.  It would be obvious that these are not interchangeable.  However, there are times when a part needs to be replaced or design is reworked altering the composition, that is the constituent parts of the product or design.

Let’s take an example and walked through it.  Consider the ignition key switch to your car.  It has a specific shape, mounts and attached with specific mechanisms, and performs or initiates many actions of the vehicle.  This is often referred to as form, fit and function.  Let’s consider the old ignition switch is going out of production from your supplier.  We would need to find another solution.  As an engineer we would explore alternative or replacement parts.  If we want to minimize costs, we would look for another ignition switch that forms, fits and functions identically to … Continue reading

Non-Functional Requirements – Maintainability

We have discussed the nonfunctional requirements for extensibility in our earlier posts.  Now we turn to others in the nonfunctional list of requirements. Today we are going to consider maintainability.  Maintainability is the measure of ability to successfully repair or fix the product after manufacturing, usually in the field, and over time.

For manufacturing entities, many of the maintainability requirements are born out, at least in part, by the manufacturing and assembly environment of the customer organization.  The Design for Assembly (DFA) and Design for Manufacturing (DFM). The building of the product with ease will frequently translate into the maintainability requirements.  That is not to say all will.  The manufacturing line will often have specialized tools and conditions that ensure the long-term and repeatable production of the product.  For example, the modular approach we take to manufacturing the system that may arise from our DFMA work will also likely help with the maintainability of the product in the field.  So too … Continue reading

DevOps and Continuous Delirium

This post was inspired by David Greer who presented us with the topic of devops and continuous delirium.

When it comes to devops, continuous delirium has two connotations as in wildly excited, and incoherent and bewildering.  When done appropriately, the development personnel and our customer will be wildly excited to be a part of such a wonderful and productive project.  When done poorly or inappropriately, our work resembles a sense of random and non-sequitur moments that leave the team and customer feeling like they have been thumped on the head.

Constant Builds and Poor Configuration Management

Constant builds of software with insufficient configuration and build management leaves everybody bewildered and wondering about the build and the constituent parts that actually comprise the build, not just what we suppose it to be.  Defects come, then are solved and in a subsequent build we find a defect very similar to the previous defect. Upon investigation, we will find that it is, in … Continue reading

Another proposal to Eliminate Configuration Management

Really, Eliminate Configuration Management?

Anybody that believes they are saving project time, engineering time and money by eliminating configuration management does not understand how things really work.  This is especially true if the items you are eliminating the configuration management for, interface with other items.  Building a system or subsystems that comprise a variety of software components to which there is no configuration management (traceability) is reckless and will prove either very costly or dangerous.  When you are unable to trace a particular iteration of a number of iterations in a number of different modules that comprise a subsystem or system, you will spend far more than a few hours debugging and determining root cause and subsequent corrective action.  The test department’s work will be much greater and require more hours than the trifle you are saving in the development work. In fact, the farther the product moves from the developers, the more costly the problem and longer in duration to obtain … Continue reading

But our ISO Documentation Says…..

Documentation and Rework

Once, a long time ago, I worked at a company that was having some difficulty coordinating their development work.  The product that was produced was a complex arrangement of mechanical and electrical / electronic systems.  The company was ISO certified and had documentation describing how they would work, including configuration and change management.  Funny thing, though this company shows major signs of a configuration and change managements system that routinely does not work.  For example, a previously agreed upon solution iteration constituent parts show up, and the parts are then put together to make the product.  However, the parts do not fit together and obstruct other parts in the system.  The typical symptoms look like:

extensive and costly rework over the interfaces represented by the departments extensive and costly rework at supplier at the last minute inability to put sub-systems together to make the entire system function Documentation and Organization Performance

When we take this to the person in charge of … Continue reading

Spamcast The Big Picture of Configuration Management

Software Process and Measurement Cast podcast: The Big Picture of Configuration Management, Tom Cagley and Kim L. Robertson

Configuration Management: Theory, Practice, and Application

Configuration Management is a common thread that ties the various departments and organization together, facilitating coordination of effort and is fundamental to product and human growth.

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.



Evolution of the Product Through Configuration Management

Joe Dager’s Business901 podcast with Jon M. Quigley

Evolution of the Product Through Configuration Management

Product Management and Project Management Intersect at Configuration Management


Deviations versus Change Requests

The deviation does not originate from the supplier. The change to requirements is permanent. Continue reading

Configuration Management: Deviations and Change Requests

by Jon M. Quigley and Kim L. Robertson

Words have specific meanings across all industries sectors which allow us to decode what is said by another and come to some understanding. This is a very important activity, as without effective communication not much will happen in a collaborative setting.

Waiver: After it is manufactured it is found that the product does not conform to specifications or requirements. A waiver is sought for a limited number of production units to deviate from the requirements until either the design can be corrected or the requirement changed. Request for waivers originate from the supplying organization. Requests may have to be flowed to the customer if they vary from the customer requirements. The temporary relaxing of requirements for a specific number of units generally is accompanied by a reduction in unit price for those items.

Deviation: Before a part is manufactured it is found that the product does not conform to specifications or requirements. … Continue reading

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