In this case, it stands for "Failure Mode and Effects Analysis" or "Failure Mode, Effects and Criticality Analysis". I work with critical electronic equipment, and to ensure that it works as it should, one of the tools is an FMEA. They can be very useful, once completed correctly, for use in data for Basic Events in Fault Trees, Maintenace Task Analysis, failure detection and isolation, logistic support analysis, unscheduled removal and availability analysis, and more.
BUT, only if it is done well. One of the biggest problems is the proliferation of effect descriptions. There must be UNIQUE and WELL described effects. So often I find the same effect described in various ways. I am currently working on one that was contracted out to a "professional" company specialising in electronics FMEAs. Well, they have (a) badly described effects. I continually have to look at the failed element in the circuit to see what they meant with the effect. (b) Describe the same effect differently. There are almost 4000 low level effects - I reckon it should have been below 1000. There are over 400 high level effects - I am working on reducing it to below 100. Some of these high level effects differ only by one synonymous word (e.g. "element number noted in A" and "element number listed in A"). This makes it so difficult to filter on specific effects - which is what an FMEA is all about!!!.
Is there anyone that thinks the way I do??? Perhaps I should start doing them for a living (in my current job I don't have the time).