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Paper given at RAMS 2013 on best practices and consideration when establishing reliability goals for the development team.
The way we communicate goals directly impacts the achievement of the goal. Creating and succinctly stating a reliability goal necessary for the leadership it provides an organization when designing a new product.
The reliability goal statement includes four elements: function, environment, probability of success, and duration. The function definition provides one means to define failure conditions. The environment includes elements such as weather and elements related to use frequency.
The probability of success and duration should always be stated in a couplet. Setting more than one probability and duration couplet further defines reliability over the expected lifespan of the product. And setting multiple couplets enables various focuses of the goal that concern different periods of time or constituents.
Setting and stating a clear and complete reliability goal delineates the boundary between a reliable enough product and one that is not. The goal enables the design team to balance the myriad of other design considerations along with product reliability in a meaningful manner.