How to Write a Reliability Report
Reliability reports offer information about whether or not a product works right. These reports are essential to both the makers of that product, as well as the consumers of that product. Writing a reliability report requires you to describe how you tested the product’s reliability, as well as the results you discovered upon testing the product.
Provide an Overview
Such reports open with a broad overview of the product being tested, the reasons why that testing is significant, the people for whom that testing is important, and a general statement of whether or not the product is performs reliably. For example, in Altera’s 2014 Reliability Report, the overview indicates that Altera produces processor systems and software tools for businesses requiring “high-value programmable solutions.” They go on to summarize their report findings by stating that all of the processor systems and software tools they produce “successfully meet” the company’s “quality and reliability standards.”
Outline the Methodology
Following your overview, provide information about the methods you used to test the product’s reliability. This information should include descriptions of specific tests you performed, as well as how you were able to control the conditions in which these tests were performed. For example, in AEi Systems’ sample reliability report, the company tallies when single board computers fail, as well as the conditions in which they most frequently fail when operating. These conditions include things like temperature, shock, humidity and voltage stress.
Detail the Results
The largest portion of your reliability report will focus on describing the results of your tests. Break up your results section according to different ways in which the product’s reliability was tested. For example, in Altera’s report, they broke their results down to include information based on specific conditions (shock, humidity), as well as specific components of the product that could fail (soldering, storage shell) and results related to different versions of the product (earlier versions versus later versions, different models).
Some reliability reports conclude with specific recommendations for the product’s producer or consumer regarding the development or purchase of the item. These can range from general recommendations about buying or not buying the product, to specific recommendations about how to improve the product based on the reported results. For example, California’s State Water Project reliability report offers 73 recommendations related to upkeep of the myriad river deltas throughout the state.
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