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Tip #88 – Elevate Your Development Productivity With DOE

Pipeline Accelerator Insight #88

Design of Experiments in New Product DevelopmentDesign of Experiments (DOE) might sound like an oxymoron to some. The development productivity benefits of laying out experimental plans in a carefully structured way may be less than obvious until you’ve seen it in action.

But DOE is a powerful tool to help you get more done with your limited development resources. A way to elevate the capacity of your development team.

At it’s core, DOE is a statistical method, but before you tune out completely, we’re not heading into the mathematical weeds to explain it.*

Rather the simple way to think about it is in three buckets.

  1. The materials you use as inputs
  2. The way you process those materials
  3. The performance you get as a result

What Design of Experiments does is help your developers use the minimum number of experiments necessary to build a map that relates those inputs (bucket 1) and process conditions (bucket 2) to the performance you want to achieve (bucket 3). The power in that is that after running a relatively small set of experiments, they can then predict how inputs and process conditions need to change to achieve a particular target result. With the right DOE layout, they can simulate the complete solution space and eliminate the need to run many other experiments.

But that development productivity can extend far beyond the lab:

  1. Concept Engineering and Idea Validation:
    • At the early stages of development, DOE aids in concept engineering. By systematically varying factors, teams explore different design options. Imagine informed decision-making for various materials, shapes, or features for a new device.
  2. Optimizing Product Design:
    • DOE fine-tunes product parameters. Picture a smartphone manufacturer using DOE to enhance battery life or camera performance. Whether it’s adjusting ingredient proportions in a recipe or optimizing hardware specifications, DOE ensures efficiency.
  3. Consumer Testing and Feedback:
    • New products must resonate with users. By varying features (e.g., screen size or color options), teams gather feedback and refine designs to facilitate end-user/consumer testing.
  4. Process Development and Robustness:
    • DOE isn’t limited to physical products. Consider software development: DOE guides A/B testing, feature rollouts, and user experience enhancements.

*There’s plenty of statistical software available to do the mathematical heavy lifting. JMP and Minitab have been around for a long time. Expert, Perry Parendo, tells me Design Expert has emerged as the leader in this space because of their singular focus on DOE.

 

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