What Is the Goal of Reliable Design? (Part 3 of 5)

Frank Federico, RPh, IHI Executive Director

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Learning Objectives: At the end of this activity, you will be able to:
  • State the goal of reliable design.
  • Discuss why reliability and capability are importa​nt in design work.
  • Identify two change concepts that can be helpful when creating reliable designs.
  • Discuss several ways to help standardize work.
Description: Exactly how reliable does a system need to be? What if you create a process that is reliable, but not capable? In Part 3 of this five-part series, IHI Executive Director Frank Federico, RPh, answers those questions and discusses change concepts that you’ll find useful when designing a process.
Discussion Questions:
  1. Frank says it’s sufficient in non-catastrophic processes to achieve a 95 percent level of reliability. Does this make sense to you? Why or why not?
  2. Why is a reliable design that isn’t capable a bad design? Can you think of an example of a process in your life that has this problem?
  3. Why is a capable design that isn’t reliable a bad design? Can you think of an example of a process in your life that has this problem?
  4. Frank listed several advantages of standardized processes. Can you think of any advantages he didn’t mention? Can you think of any disadvantages of standardization?
  5. Why is it important to continually test and measure standardized work? Can you think of an example of a standardized process in your work or life that became less effective over time?
  6. Frank says, “Sometimes we spend a lot of time trying to tweak something to make it work when in reality it’s probably not the right process to begin with, and we should be looking at something else.” Have you ever fallen into this trap? At what point did you realize it was better to start fresh than to try to fix the broken process?
  7. Is there a process in your life that you were able to improve through simplification and/or standardization? Share your experience.
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