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One Page Guide: Managing interface between electronics and product design

 What’s the issue?

Different resources have different traits, and few could contrast more than product designers and engineers. Both have critical attributes that ease the development of a product, but if the differences aren’t appreciated conflict rather than cooperation can result. 

This article covers the strengths, weaknesses and complements of the two types of resource.

Who is best at scoping projects? – Product designers or engineers

The simple answer is neither, and the skilled project manager will recognise the natural complement that exists from having both disciplines in a team.

Taking the topic onto a philosophic level, the two approach the world from the opposite ends of the classic Hegelian conflict. Hegel was a German philosopher who believed that 

  What needs setting up to make sure the development runs properly?

This question is going to be answered from the point of view of human resources only. The EM can give further guidance if required (CONTACT US).

After picking a project manager, pick a team and immediately set up a recurring progress meeting (once a week usually suits). A quorum is the technical disciplines, but it is often sensible to consider other stakeholders that may have a significant impact from early on:

  • Core technical functions: electronics, mechanics, product design, software.
  • Operations: design for manufacture is best considered very early on – even with early prototypes. If it isn’t, design choices that are manufacturable but sub-optimal tend to stick.
  • Quality: starting a quality plan and probing suppliers from the earliest stages always pays. 
  • Sales and marketing: it is all too easy for projects to lose sight of commercial goals.
Not all these resources need to be at every meeting, but making sure each is involved when relevant is beneficial.

How do I make sure the project development runs to schedule?

There are two things to confirm exist, are up to date, and are monitored constantly:

  • Specifications – see OPG.
  • Project Plan
The above is quite basic. Project management is not a light topic – make sure a competent PM is running your project. If further guidance is needed don’t hesitate to CONTACT US.