During my first 11 years with NCR Corporation, I worked in a department called “Test Engineering”. We were responsible for the systems and processes that verified the products were ready to ship after they were manufactured. (Actually, it was more fun than it sounds…)
My first manager taught me the most important lesson that governed our work. Through his coaching, I learned that a product can be manufactured with defects, but still appear to work properly. We are actually accustomed to that in many areas of life:
- My car can run perfectly without a working radio
- My oven cooks just fine without its timer
- My computer might power up and load the operating system, but not be able to connect to the internet
The objective of Test Engineering is not to prove that the product works. Our goal is to prove that the product is not broke. There is a huge difference between those premises.
Take a minute to stop and consider your most important project. Is there anything that appears to be working…but could actually be broke? Might it be important enough to give a deeper look…?
Thanks for listening.
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