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It should just work

T he f orums, ch...
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It Should Just Work: Story of Product Launch and Expectation


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The product launches of Boeing's Dreamliner and Sony's Playstation have received a lot media attention for the early failures. Meeting customer expectations is easy, they expect the new product to work.

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It Should Just Work: Story of Product Launch and Expectation

  1. 1. f m sre liabilit m m/educatio n/just-wo rk/ It should just work Fred T he f orums, chats, twits (#bluelightof death), blogs, and main stream media (CNN) are looking closely at the launch of Sony’s Playstation. T here are reports of dead on arrival and ‘blue light of death’ f ailures. One business blog discusses the need to understand and match customer expectations as a way to avoid the bad press. I f ind the expectation is pretty simple. It should just work. A brand new device, in this case an expensive new game console, the entire experience of the purchase, transport, unpacking, hookup and f irst turn on should be a joy. T he anticipation f or those picking up the device on the f irst day comes crashing down to despair when the device f ails to work. Products are expected to provide value, and you expect the device in f ront of you to work as expected. It’s simple. I once explained to my son that not all units f rom production will work (he was in junior high school). He said he understood and that it is f ine, if the game console he buys just works. Ship the ones that don’t work to someone else. Statistics Sony is saying their is a 0.4% initial f ailure rate f or the 1 million units shipped. T his achievement could be the envy of any major product launch. T he connected and verbal customers though, and in particular the f ew with the ‘blue light of death’ issue, do not care about the low overall f ailure rate. For them the f ailure rate is 100%. Remember there is a person behind every f ailure. T here is an individual story of anticipation and disappointment. T here is the non-economic pain associated with the loss of value. T here is no joy. Sure the numbers are a means f or us to understand the magnitude and rate of f ield issues. T hese charts and graphs shield us f rom the look on someone’s f ace as the screen stays dark. Next Steps T he work of product design with input f rom reliability prof essionals can f urther reduce product f ailure rates. All the basics on risk identif ication, f ault discovery, and understanding the customer’s environment sharpen the ability of the design engineer to make a reliable product. It is the point of decision that matters. It is the selection of a component, a circuit approach, a supplier that creates the ability of a product to withstand stresses and work as expected. Focus on how you make decisions. Focus on including the ramif ications of each decision on reliability.Focus on your customer and their expectations. Would you be happy with a 0.4% launch f ailure rate? Would you be happy with the adverse media attention?