The difference is subtle:



and one is used to define the other —



— but from a design standpoint the difference is essential. Where conformance must follow an algorithm, compliance can follow a desire, wish, or even yes, a rule or process. Dr. Chuck has a great piece on how companies tend to follow a design progression from mystery –> heuristic –> algorithm. We emphasize heuristic’s over algorithms in ME 316 because we tend to engineer things that are new and cutting edge. We have to follow a process because there currently is no singular correct solution.

Including engineering standards and codes in the design process is an essential part of compliance. We standardize processes for the safety of the general public and to increase design efficiency. No company can afford to have every new component rigorously user tested to ensure safety. We specify standards that designs must follow and quickly check to ensure conformance with the standard. If a standard covers part of your design, it’s essential to follow. Imagine trying to convince a judge of why you did not follow a standard — better be ready. A guide for finding standards is here.