We design, we test, we break things–but why does that matter?

Steph, our new marketing maven, likes the pithy blog post title I did a while back, “We design, we test, we break things.” She thinks maybe that should be a new mantra for our prductization services.  I like it too (after all I did think it up), but I also worry that it’s missing one key element: why this matters to our customers?

Design is the easy part: before our customers can sell a product, it has to be designed.  Ergo value.  Ergo this is why there are thousands of design firms out there ready, and for the most part, able to perform that value add service.

Test is a bit tougher to quantify the value.  We test to verify the product meets requirements (aka Engineering Verification Testing, or EVT). We test to validate that the product meets specs (aka Design Validation Testing, or DVT.  We test each individual unit to make sure it’s a good one (aka Production Test).  This adds value indirectly, in avoidance of field returns, in avoidance of damage to brand.  It’s a necessary evil, or at least a necessary cost, to selling a product. Because failing in the lab is a whole lo cheaper than failing at the customer’s site.

Breaking things, well that sounds like fun but how does it add value? Because if we do this early enough in the product development process, we can learn how products might fail.  We can learn what tests a product might not pass.  And most importantly we can feed back that information into the design process and modify the design so that our customers’ customers don’t get the same pleasure of breaking things that we do (are we greedy?).  We learn by breaking necks, by running products so hot they stop working, by testing hinges so many times they fracture, by testing electronics until the solder joints fatigue. And this, very very indirectly, makes a big,very very tangible,  difference to our customers’ long term profitability. For the better.

Still looking for a revised pithy saying: “We design, we test, we break thing so ________________”

Chuck

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