Trivial but disastrous design changes

Philip Morgan

Alrighty, here's our next pet peeve that might or might not be raw material for a strong, clear point of view (PoV) in content marketing:

_Manufactures making changes that seem trivial to them that effects the quality of a product for your client.  This could pertain to any downstream person or process that makes changes without finding out if it will effect the outcome of the overall process.

In the world of injection molding, wall thicknesses are extremely important, and the relationship of a internal structure to the main body should be 2 to 3.  Meaning internal structures need to be 66% or less of the external wall.  Too often a molder will thin this down even more because they don’t want to use a larger molding machine to get a good part.  That reduction in the structure can make an inferior part.  (ie. It will break)  It can also throw off tolerances and make things not fit properly.  But this can translate to any field.  If you can forewarn the client of this potential, they can ensure they know it’s a possibility, and hold the downstream person accountable if they screw it up._

This is an example from a list member who works in the world of additive manufacturing, but I think if you abstract it a bit you can see how it applies also to the world of software.

There are two directions you could take this pet peeve. If you take it in the direction of "more specific", I think it is not a great candidate for PoV content. Here's a few examples of how you might frame this pet peeve along the lines of "more specific":

  • The importance of wall thickness in injection-molded components
  • Why you should argue with your molder if they reduce wall thickness
  • The fatal flaw behind seemingly-trivial changes to wall thicknessNotice that all of these are very focused on the technical detail of wall thickness.

On the other hand, if you try to connect this idea of how a trivial change can have disastrous consequences downstream to the larger theme of quality or reliability or cost or profitability or customer satisfaction or some other thing our budget-controlling buyer will care about, we've got a chance at having a PoV that will be relevant, interesting, and hopefully compelling to them.

So if this particular pet peeve about wall thickness becomes one of several examples to support a PoV that has something to do with a broader theme, that's our best approach. Here are a few examples of how we might do that. I'm going to verbalize these as if they are titles for talks at a conference:- Case studies in balancing cost savings and field relibility- Unexpected causes of low customer satisfaction scores- Optimizing the design process for low return rate and high customer satisfactionWe're working here to do two things. One: generalize things enough that our PoV isn't just a seemingly trivial rant about wall thickness. Two: link it to a specific desired business outcome that matters to our budget-controlling buyer.

Getting those two things co-existing happily together in the same piece of content or series of content is not always easy, but it is possible. The starting point is a strongly-held opinion or feeling about something in your work.

So the bottom line here: I think this pet peeve could be developed into a nice PoV that is relevant to our assumed budget-controlling buyer. The key to doing so is understanding how your buyer sees the world and what issues are important to them.

Tomorrow I'll tackle another member-submitted peeve.