Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Final Program Quality
Al Richardson, VP & Head of Technology Requirements

In our previous blogs R&R has addressed program and quality items to point out where a program has a better chance of success. Like most, R&R System Solutions defines Program Quality as how well a program operates in delivering its product or service on time and within budget meeting all the requirements.  We measure it by;
  1.      The program’s ability to develop and manage all requirements
  2.      The programs use of Lessons Learned and checklists
  3.      The effectiveness of peer inspections / reviews
  4.     The techniques and procedures for validation and verification

There is no doubt that excellent program quality needs excellent program management.  Program planning to risk management and everything in between needs to be of a high quality.  And even with everything in place, things can still go wrong. If you are familiar with Murphy’s Law and then you should know about Otoole’s Law. Otoole’s law states that ‘Murphy was an optimist’.

Let us share a quick story of the ½ inch bolt.

At one time there was a requirement for the rapid deployment of a very small electro-optical cable. The design teams started and things progressed smoothly for quite some time. Designs were created, checked, re-checked, fabricated and tested. All was good.  All the elements were assembled and off to the sea trial we went. D-day for deployment came and within minutes after the system was deployed, it failed!  A bit of head scratching and everything was checked and re-checked again.  Assembly instructions and deployment procedures were re-reviewed.  As built books examined, quality records were investigated and nothing came immediately to light. Finally, after several inspections, the cause was determined to be none other than the ½ inch bolt. Yup, one little old ½ inch bolt.

In the design, a ½ inch bolt was specifically called for in various places. The bolt needed to be of various lengths in various places and you guessed it, a long bolt was used in a place where a short bolt was required.  The longer bolt extended into the cable pack and ripped the jacket causing water to penetrate the cable and the cable shorted to sea. As a result, checklists were updated and a new item was added to Lessons Learned.

As you have read in previous blogs, from the color of the jacket, from sharks, skates, and rays, from Lessons Learned, from misused acronyms, to the ½ inch bolt and beyond even the best planning cannot always anticipate what can occur.  Our experience has taught much.  While R&R has not seen everything in the world of undersea programs, we have experienced and seen a lot!

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