How to build reliability into your product

by | Dec 27, 2019

William Drislane from Dragon Innovation delivers a talk about how to reduce failure rate and thereby build reliability inherently into your product. It is a Slideshare deck worth 10 minutes of reading time along with an hour-long video which I highly recommend.

He makes his case of reducing failure rates in your product by giving quite a few examples. He talks about the M16 rifles used in the Vietnam war, gas explosions related to the Ford Pinto, and also the Challenger shuttle disaster. Not every product will have this fate but he makes a solid case for reducing failure rates in your product in this presentation. There are some industries such as Aerospace and Medical which inherently follow these reliability principles but it makes sense for any business, as he demonstrates with the example of a vacuum cleaner product because defective product returns or recalls affect profitability.

Towards the end he also clears some air about Six Sigma approach to quality with an example of Japanese cars. This is an informative piece for any designer or business leader looking to build high-quality reliable products.

That being said, product development regardless of type and sector depends upon a key attribute: reliability. Greater the trust of the customer in the service, better is the growth of the product in the markets. As the world looks forward to adapting smarter processes, the following key tips will ensure reliability.

Embrace Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Amidst the rapid digitization of products & processes, RPA is a key tool to fasten time to market and meet customer expectations. By eliminating manual hassles, automation leaves time to focus on other important areas of product strategy & launch. Since there is a swathe of soaring SaaS-based products, enterprises must utilize the ready-to-deploy functionalities as far as possible.

From ideation to launch, automation works at all levels including delivery. You should start with a blueprint of building, testing and delivering the product to customers. This includes code scans, test executions, automated builds, performance analysis and end-to-end configuration management. For making seamless deployment in different environments, you should embrace deep monitoring and observability as a part of the delivery pipeline.

From a simple chatbot deployed to address customer grievances to digital twins in an IIoT setup, the scope of automation is oceanic. Not only has it set the narrative for the future of all sectors but directly influenced customers to expect more than just basic services. Therefore, automation of your product lifecycle is not a choice anymore. It is the mandate and the greatest differentiator for your survival.

Focus on Customer Experience (CX)

The companies in the pre-digital era governed the consumption of the masses. This is because an average customer at that time was not fully aware of the choice at hand. Fast forward today, customer expectations have soared at a record rate. Since there is on-demand information to consume, today’s customer is more educated and demanding.

At the product development level, CX is a great deal. Starting with the blueprinting, the product specs architecture is designed around the targeted customer. This includes customer profiling, vision identification and building emotional connect with the targeted audiences through marketing.

Some of the most popular hacks at ensuring great CX are seeking regular feedbacks, swift onboarding, easy to use product interface, secure payment functions (if any), prompt support and cross-device accessibility. Not to miss automation as discussed above is an important differentiator in regaling customers for a long-term association. Through automation, you can enable various self-servicing options that cut the dependency upon customer support and saves time. Self-servicing prepares a smarter customer who gains more confidence in your services.

While Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) is an increasing area of focus for many, CX is the foundation that you have to target.


Don’t Hesitate From Outsourcing

No matter ready-to-deploy products & services in the cloud have lessened the dependency upon 3rd party vendors, technology is uncertain and requires on-demand expertise. Given the current circumstances, digital communication is a necessity that we have to perfect. So be it the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet-of-Things (IoT) or the Blockchain, your product would be depending on any of these in some way. At the same time, the dearth of skilled professionals has derailed many promising projects. Therefore, you should not hesitate in striking partnerships with outsourcing vendors. If an outside service is filling the skills gap efficiently then what is stopping you from availing the benefits?

Browse through an array of public platforms to find professionals. Publish your requirements, outsource some projects on trial and expand your search. Besides social media and usual project search platforms like Upwork, there are a few line-of-business specific platforms for narrower and quick search. Ioterra for example provides a huge database of IoT professionals across disciplines such as business analysis, mechanical development, software development and production. It helps the project owners to connect with like-minded professionals and get jobs done in targeted timelines.


Building a reliable product isn’t as easy as it reads. There’s an uncertain market and an ever-changing customer expectation to meet. Add to it, the technology landscape that throws unpredictable challenges should be handled with expertise. Going forward, enterprises who have foreseen the trends will stay and grow.
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