Failure mode effects analysis (FMEA)

Competency Group: Business

Type: Software

Description: Failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA) is a step-by-step approach for identifying all possible failures in a design, a manufacturing or assembly process, or a product or service. "Failure modes" means the ways, or modes, in which something might fail. Failures are any errors or defects, especially ones that affect the customer, and can be potential or actual. "Effects analysis" refers to studying the consequences of those failures.

Citation for Description: American Society for Quality (ASQ). (2012). Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA). Retrieved from

Advantages: Improves product and process quality, including reliability and safety, while reducing cost and development time.

Limitations: It is dependent on the examiners experience, which may hinder identification of failures depending on those individuals familiarity with previous failures.

Target Audience: Engineering, R&D

Relevant to Universal Design: Yes

Stages and Steps: 2.3, 4.2, 4.6, 4.8, 4.12, 7.5, 7.6, 7.11, 7.12, 8.2, 8.4, 9.1, 9.3

Free Resource: iSixSigma. (2017). Quick guide to Failure Mode and Effects Analysis. Retrieved from:

Purchase Resource: Stamatis, D. H. (2003). Failure Mode Effect Analysis: FMEA from Theory to Execution. Milwaukee, WI: Quality Press.