How Much Change is Good?

change

Design process undergoes multiple change iterations. Decisions are made and then revisited, they are revised and changed. This process repeats throughout the design process. This process not only applies to products that are in realization phase, but also occurs during sales, when its in use or being serviced. For example, A recall is issued when a manufacturer or NHTSA determines that a vehicle, equipment, car seat, or tire creates an unreasonable safety risk or fails to meet minimum safety standards. Most decisions to conduct a recall and remedy a safety defect are made voluntarily by manufacturers prior to any involvement by NHTSA.

One way to evade difficulties with engineering design changes, is uniting flexibility and adaptability into a product in the first place. Most products have the capability to engross some grade of change.  This ascends from incorporating margins. These are added by different stakeholders for a variety of reasons. However how these margins are introduced and how they work in design have not been spoken in an integrated style in the context of managing change.

Chain of Changes:

An Engineering product is an assembly of multiple parts i.e. multiple components. Most of the time a change in one component may propagate to another which in turn may cause further change creating a chain of changes. Whether a change in one part or a system will broadcast to another one, depends on two main factors.

  • Nature of the change itself.
  • Current state of the part on which the change is applied.

When a change is applied on a component, they act as one of below.

  • CHANGE ABSORBERS”, receiving change without passing it on,
  • CHANGE CARRIERS”, passing the same degree of change on as they have received,
  • CHANGE MULTIPLIERS”, which pass more changes on to others parts of the system. This in turn leads to complete redesign.

Change becomes challenging when “change absorbers” turn into “change carriers” or “change multipliers”. Turns even more critical when changes cause an avalanche creating more and more potential changes. So a common question asked is How much change is accepted?. The generic model of margins have a precise answer for the same.

I will discuss about the Model of Margins in detail in my next article.

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