A Tale of Two Design Validation Specs

One aspect of productization, Design Validation Testing, often called DVT, and not to be confused with Design Verification Testing with the unfortunate same acronym, has been a hot topic in the halls of Zebulon Solutions the past few weeks (okay, hall, singular–we’re not big enough to have multiple halls).  How much to test, when to test, what to test?

We have a couple of companies that we are working with right now, who will go unnamed and even disguised up a bit.  Both are in the “industrial” space, but one is a startup (let’s call them “StartupRus LLC”) designing a  robotic manufacturing system and the other is an old-line mega company (let’s call them “Megastuff  Company”) adapting what is essentially a commodity consumer product for their industrial products.

So here’s the rub: StartupRus has essentially no plans for doing DVT on their product (or at least they didn’t until we offered to help them set up a plan) while Megastuff has 20 pages of specs referencing dozens of other specs for DVT–everything from salt spray to 10 year life tests.  Yet StartupRus’s product has extreme tolerances and many moving parts, while Megastuff’s product is of a class (although they do have a few legitimate special requirements to be fair) that literally can be bought at Walgreen’s with change back from a Jackson.  Go figure.

The answer for StartupRus is relatively simple–we’re helping them define and implement a lean, staged DVT plan that keeps the testing modest in their current beta stage (where they are, as their CEO proudly says, still using a bit of duct tape) but then putting together a robust final DVT plan before launch.  The answer for Megastuff is more complicated since they have 50 years of culture to fight, and it’s likely a losing battle to even mention that maybe they should lighten up on the testing.

All for now.  Gotta get back into the lab for more testing.

Chuck

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