Chapter 15. Design of Experiments—An Introduction

This is one of the more interesting areas in the 2004 version of the PMBOK. DOE (design of experiments) is defined in Chapter 8, "Project Quality Management," in "Quality Planning Tools and Techniques," Section 8.1.2.3. PMFs understanding and description of the DOE process reads as follows:

Design of Experiments (DOE) is a statistical method that helps identify which factors may influence specific variables of a product or process under development or in production. It also plays a role in the optimization of products or processes. An example is where an organization can use DOE to reduce the sensitivity of product performance to sources of variations caused by environmental or manufacturing differences. The most important aspect of this technique is that it provides a statistical framework for systematically changing all the important factors, instead of changing the factors one at a time. The analysis of the experimental data should provide the optimal conditions for the product or process, highlighting the factors that influence the results, and revealing the presence of interactions or synergisms among the factors. . . .[47]

Unfortunately, this definition, if not completely incomprehensible, does not further one's understanding of DOE one iota. Depending on your experience with DOE, which with most PMs is little to none, you may find this explanation more confusing than the actual process, especially for nonstatisticians.

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