19Discovering System Nonconformity

In the Preface, I quoted the ISO 9000 definition of conformity as the fulfillment of a requirement and nonconformity as the nonfulfillment of a requirement. While true, this statement does not go far enough. Although a nonconforming unit may be obvious, the task of the forensic systems engineer is to determine whether the process that made or provided the nonconforming unit is itself nonconforming. For purposes of this book, this assessment is called a finding. Because the cost of nonconformity can be enormous, all findings will be challenged, so it is essential that a forensic systems analyst have a solid understanding of nonconformities and the kind of evidence required to justify a finding.

Few things are black and white. Some nonconformities are obviously so, but others are not clear. For example, suppose that a company has an apparently high defect rate, but you discover that process capability is not measured. Most standards of performance require a measurement to verify the ...

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