And, I’m not thinking about the common language definition either.
Plus, I may have this all wrong. Here is the way I think about the reliability of something. More than ‘it should just work’ and different than ‘one can count on it to start’. When I ask someone how reliable a product is, this is what I mean.
During RAMS this year, Wayne Nelson made the point that language matters. One specific example was the substitution of ‘convincing’ for ‘statistically significant’ in an effort to clearly convey the ability of a test result to sway the reader. As in, ‘the test data clearly demonstrates…’
As reliability professionals let’s say what we mean in a clear and unambiguous manner.
I am a rock climber. Climbing relies on skill, strength, knowledge, a bit of luck, and good gear. Falling is a part of the sport and with the right gear the sport is safe.
I do not know, nor want to know, the MTBF (or MTTF) of any of my climbing gear. Not even sure this information would be available. And, all of the gear I use does have a finite chance of failing every time the equipment is in use. Part of my confidence is the that probability of failure is really low. Continue reading Do not want equipment failures→
A bolted hanger along a rock climbing route is often a very welcome site. It provides the climber with safety (by clipping the rope to the bolt); with direction (this is the way); and, with confidence. Does MTBF as a metric do the same for your organization?
As climbers we count on the bolts to provide support in case something goes wrong or we need to rest along the route.
A reliability metric is often used in the same way as a climbing bolt. The measure, whether MTBF or Reliability or Failure Rate, provides a sense of assurance that the product in question is performing as expected.
The organizations profits are or will be safe. The development team uses the measures as a guide for design and supply chain decisions. And, the measure provides confidence to the organization related to meeting customer expectations around reliability. Continue reading true, beneficial and timely→
At first MTBF seems like a commonly used and useful measure of reliability. Trained as a statistician and understanding the use of the expected value that MTBF represented, I thought, ‘cool, this is useful’.
Then the discussions with engineers, technical sales folks and other professionals about reliability using MTBF started. And the awareness that not everyone, and at times it seems very few, truly understood MTBF and how to properly use the measure.