It Started With a Question
It is the idea to eradicate MTBF from common use. The first question was
How do you explain what MTBF is and isn’t to someone that misunderstand MTBF?
We talked about a couple of ideas that may have helped. Of course, that first question lead to a few more.
How many others do not understand MTBF?
How many ways can MTBF be misunderstood?
What can we do to eliminate the confusion?
A lot more discussion and a lot more clarity around the problem. By asking one question and doing the failure analysis (one of our reliability engineering tools) we then started to form paths to a solution. If we worked together and uniformly asked a question, we could make progress toward our goal.
When someone mentions MTBF, simply ask them that they really want or mean.
If someone mentions 50,000 hour MTBF, ask them if the really would rather have 98% survive over 5 years. Make those using MTBF think a little, add clarity, add details, to what reliability performance they really would like to occur.
To raise awareness, increase the number of questions about MTBF, we created the NoMTBF campaign button. Giving away thousands of buttons has helped to create thousands of conversations.
Now there are earrings, coffee mugs, hoodies, and more available with the NoMTBF logo. Display the icon and cause conversations. Make people ask questions.
The NoMTBF.com site originally was a site to collect and share the questions and the wide range of answers around MTBF. It has turned into a center for those with questions about MTBF. Actually the site started with someone asking, “Is there a website for NoMTBF?” and within the hour there was.
The site also contains articles on topics that regularly cause confusion and misunderstanding. If you have a question, check the site for answers. If you don’t find an answer, write an article and share it on the site. At least ask me the question and let’s find an answer.
Looking back at all the questions around MTBF, it’s been great. We’re making progress. And, we have many more questions.
As so many have already done, and you most likely have too, ask about what is meant when someone uses MTBF – and look for information to help you and your team make good decisions without the fog of misunderstanding.