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How we think about Quality during Design

Applying quality thinking during a design process to get the best designs

is like

pruning a fruit tree as it grows to get the best fruit

QDD Versus Video Series

Get Quality and Reliability Engineering fundamentals from a Product Design Engineering point-of-view.

This video series introduces you to quality and reliability topics from a product design point-of-view. It introduces several topics by comparison in just 8 episodes.

  • each episode builds upon the previous ones
  • focused on relationships to product design engineering
  • "crash courses" - each episodes is less than 15 minutes
  • graphics in videos and Venn diagrams in the notes help drive home concepts
  • several options: watch the video, listen to the podcast, read the transcript, and/or read the notes.

At the end of the series, you'll have a framework for your own application of Quality Thinking that can help with the success of your designs.

Episode 1 - Detection Controls vs. Prevention Controls
Episode 2 - Discrete Data vs. Continuous Data
Episode 3 - Internal Customers vs. External Customers
Episode 4 - Design Specs vs. Process Control, Capability, and SPC
Episode 5 - Quality as a Strategic Asset vs. Quality as a Control
Episode 6 - ALT vs. HALT
Episode 7 - Design Input & Specs vs. Test & Measure Capability
Episode 8 - UFMEA vs. DFMEA

Quality during Design Redux: Test Results Analysis

We're pulling episodes from our archives about test results analysis. Download the latest episode from your favorite podcast provider, and check back here for the next episodes.

1. The Fundamental Thing to Know about Statistics for Design Engineering

Released Mar 2023, this is the episode that kicked off our QDD Redux.

2. How Many do we Need to Test?

Originally released October 2021. We talk about the typical questions we ask to figure out sampling and why they're important to consider.

3. How to Handle Competing Failure Modes

Originally released May 2021. We talk about the importance of examining failure modes plus other topics:

  • competing failure modes
  • suspensions
  • independent vs. dependent
  • reliability block diagrams

4. When It's Not Normal: How to Choose from a Library of Distributions

First released May 2021, we review the things to think about when choosing a statistical distribution.

5. Statistical vs. Practical Significance

Aired October 2021, we talk about both and why we need to evaluate the practical significance along with the statistical significance.

Curated Resources

Below is a list of some of Dianna's favorite resources: books, handbooks, websites, and quality friends. Her recommended materials are either well-worn from years of use or sparked ideas when she read them. She'll continually refresh these lists. 

Some podcast episodes feature book reviews. Below are just some of them:



Bahcall, Safi. Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries. St. Martin's Publishing Group, 2019.

The author proposes a way of looking at organizational structure and cult of personalities in the advancement of innovative ideas, and what could cause a once innovative company to collapse. Mr. Bahcall is a physicist that worked in the pharmaceutical industry. He brings his scientific point-of-view to his ideas. He also explains and explores his ideas through historical companies, scientific advancements, and inventions.

Boyd, Drew and Jacob Goldenberg. Inside the Box: A Proven System of Creativity and Breakthrough Results. Simon & Schuster, 2013.

Do you need to innovate existing products to the next level? Maybe don’t just start adding things. Instead, use a thought generating approach to re-evaluate what you already have for new applications. 

Dhillon, B.S. Life Cycle Costing for Engineers. CRC Press, 2010.

This is a general book on life cycle costing and it includes a lot of references. Use this as a starting point to discover what types of costs may be applicable to your project, then refer to the references to get more information.

Knapp, Jake, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz. Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days. Simon & Schuster, 2016.

These investors help teams develop the surface of new products, from targeted idea or goal on Monday to testing prototypes with users on Friday. They use many Quality tools to manage team creativity to meet these goals.

Lee, Kai-Fu and Chen Qiufan. AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future. Crown, 2021.

The author explores where advances in AI may take us by the year 2041. Realistic advances are explored in sci-fi fantasy short stories.

Norman, Don. The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition. United States, Basic Books, 2013.

About designing everyday products with the user in mind.

Phillips, Jack J. and Patricia Pulliam Phillips. The Value of Innovation: Knowing, Proving, and Showing the Value of Innovation and Creativity. Scrivener Publishing, LLC, 2018.

Learn business speak with ROI (return on investment).

Article: Schirr, Gary. “Flawed Tools; The Efficacy of Group Research Methods to Generate Customer Ideas.” Journal of Product Innovation Management, vol. 292012.   

Academic Scholars investigate brainstorming and other methods to generate ideas.

Thesis: Reimert, Michal. "The impact of Additive Manufacturing on the life cycle cost of one-off parts at Thales Hengelo.” University of Twente. 26 May 2017. Accessed 5 Oct 2021. 

See this graduate thesis report for an example of a detailed life cycle cost analysis.


Humble, Jeff. "What is the Double Diamond Design Process? For people that want to make sense of design." The Fountain Institute., Accessed 8 Nov 2022.

A good explanation of a common model that explains design in terms of cycles of divergent and convergent ideas.

Lauff, Carlye. "Bridging the Gap: Heling People Understand the LUMA System." LUMA Institute, 6 May 2022., Accessed 8 Nov 2022.

"Alternative Worlds" are methods that put the designers into the worlds of those they design for human-centered designs.

Resource Websites:

University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky libraries posts standards organizations on their Engineering Research Guide. Check it out! Home - Standards & Specifications - Research Guides at University of Kentucky (

Center for the Transformation of Work

This group has a searchable directory of marketplaces that are built to cross-pollinate industries with innovative ideas. Check it out! Maybe you'll solve the next problem (and get paid to do it!).

Reliability Engineering & Accelerated Testing
Data Presentation