Design Control


This is the text of an article published by Peter Griffin


What is required ?

How can we produce it ?

Does it meet the requirements ?

Design is the production of something new, although it is more normally a variation of an existing product or service. It may be a new product, or it may be a system made up of many products.

The process demands that we establish:-

  1. where we are now
  2. where we want to get to
  3. where the boundaries are (e.g. regulatory)
  4. how we are going to achieve it
  5. how long it should take
  6. who will undertake the task
  7. who will check, when we think we have arrived
  8. how we will change direction during the journey, if required
  9. if it is acceptable to the customer(s)

This information establishes our Design Plan, against which we can monitor our progress.

Once the criteria are established, the process can be controlled. "Original" design is normally performed by staff exercising a degree of inventiveness, and considering optional ways of achieving the objectives.

Once it is thought that the objectives have been met, the design must then be "verified" to ensure that the objectives have truly been achieved. This can be performed by:

review (by another competent person)
alternative calculations
testing of prototypes
comparison with other similar designs
performance tests
asking the customer

If we wish to compose a letter we generally know the points we wish to convey to the recipient. We use our tools to perform the task (intelligence, paper, pen, typewriter, computer). If it is an important letter, we often ask a trusted colleague to review the [finished] item prior to dispatch. If we spell a word incorrectly, we are unlikely to spot it, no matter how many times we review the text. As soon as our colleague examines the letter, the spelling mistake tends to stick out "like a sore thumb".

Editor's Notes

Peter Griffin is managing consultant of P Griffin & Associates (PGA); one of the leading quality management consultancies operating in Europe and the USA.

P Griffin & Associates have assisted 260 companies (ranging from 3 employees to multi-national corporations) to achieve improvements in quality and ISO9000 Registration.

While the majority of companies fail to achieve ISO9000 certification at the first attempt, 98% of PGA's quality assurance clients have achieved first-time success.

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Last Updated November 19, 1995
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