IBM Product Test
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IBM Product Test was a group level organization for testing of IBM hardware and software products as part of the product development rather than manufacturing. It was housed in a number of laboratories associated with the various manufacturing and software development facilities. As an independent organization, Group Product Test had much power and exercised strict control over product quality. Ultimately, however, its contribution to the bottom line could not be quantified, and it was disbanded in 197?.
Types of testing
Two types of test were performed:
- A- or Alpha-test: These were design and feasibility tests, carried out prior to announcement. In some cases, software modelling was used to estimate performance.
- B- or Beta-test: These tests were carried out to support a First Customer Ship (FCS) date for software, or a commit to manufacturing for hardware.
Keeper of Standards
Product Test was responsible for keeping and maintaining the body of standards governing the various aspects of design and development of IBM products. Proposed standards were circulated by the Standards Coordinator to other Product Test Laboratories for approval.
Tape drive reel hub: When IBM introduced a new form of tape drive reel hub using a latch mechanism to replace the older screw-on hub, failure reports began to come in from the field. Improvements were made to the design and subjected to extensive testing with periodic inspections. Initially, the testing was performed manually by repeated mounting and dismounting a tape reel, with everyone in the Lab (Poughkeepsie) assigned a number of operations, including the Lab Director. Eventually, a robot was constructed to perform these exhausting tests.
Product Test Laboratories
- Poughkeepsie, NY
- Endicott, NY
- Raleigh, NC
- La Gaude (Nice), France
- Montpellier, France
- Boeblingen, Germany
- and others