8 Mindset Traps: Overcoming them as a Technology Leaders save you from costly design iterations

8 Mindset Traps: Overcoming them as a Technology Leaders save you from costly design iterations

While a first-time-right design may be the ultimate goal for any product development team, achieving it is often challenging and may not always be possible. The complexity of the product being developed can make it necessary to make revisions to the design, even after careful planning and execution. However, there are certain mindsets that can prevent a first-time-right design from being achieved. By recognizing the importance of thorough design, clear communication, well-defined traceability and acknowledging the complexity of the design process; product development teams can increase their chances of success. Ultimately, while a first-time-right design may be elusive, striving for excellence and a continuous improvement mindset can lead to better outcomes and greater satisfaction for all involved in the design process. Here are some of the mindsets to stay away from to reduce costly design iterations:


(1) Neglecting traceability of requirements throughout the validation process / Lack of traceability matrix


Tracking requirements throughout the development process up to validation, promotes clarity and alignment among stakeholders. By doing so, any gaps or missing elements in the design, development, testing or certification phases can be identified and addressed. This helps to minimize uncertainty, reduce risk and ultimately lead to a more successful outcome for the product development



[Case Study]


This 5MP CMOS camera is developed to provide a CMOS sensor based ARM platform to port specialized scientific image processing algorithms.


(2) No design documentation / Considering Design documentation as burden to development process


Design documentation is at times seen as a burden to the process. But a clear and concise design document can help ensure that all stakeholders understand the project goals, requirements, and constraints. Documenting the product’s design can help identify potential risks and limitations of design. This can help address them before they become major issues. With a clear design document, it becomes easier to maintain and update the project over time, making it easier to adapt to changing requirements or market conditions. But time spent on design will give its fruits in smooth and hassle free validations and also saves from costly iterations.


(3) Not paying attention to details


Attention to detail is critical for successful product design, as it ensures that all components of the product work together seamlessly and that the product functions as intended. However, designers may sometimes overlook minor details, assuming that they will work fine. Such assumptions can lead to issues with prototypes, which may require costly iterations to correct. Therefore, it is essential to scrutinize even the smallest details during the design process to avoid these issues. By paying attention to every aspect of the design, designers can ensure that their product meets the desired specifications and that it functions efficiently.


(4) Ignoring reviews at multiple levels & independence in the review process


Reviews play a crucial role in the design process because they help identify errors that can occur during manual design work. Conducting proper reviews at various stages of the design process can help catch and correct these errors early on, which can save valuable time and resources. To make reviews even more effective, they should be conducted by a team or individual who is not involved in the design activities. This helps eliminate any biases that the designer may have and ensures that the review is more objective and meaningful. Overall, incorporating reviews into the design process can lead to a more accurate and efficient design, while increasing the likelihood of first time right design


(5) Cutting corners in validation process


Both design and testing are equally crucial phases of the design process, and ignoring either one can result in costly iterations. Neglecting to identify mistakes during the validation/testing phase can be especially costly for companies, as it may result in product recalls. To ensure the reliability of a product’s functionality in the field, it is essential to identify all the corner cases of its functionalities and conduct thorough validation for each of them. By doing so, any potential issues can be identified and addressed early on, which can help prevent costly recalls and improve customer satisfaction. Therefore, companies should focus on both the design and testing phases of the product development process to ensure that their products meet high-quality standards and deliver exceptional value to customers.

(6) Not starting pre-scans early on in the process


Pre-scans are EMI/EMC tests that are conducted before final certification. Based on industry observations, most designs fail during pre-scans when tested for the first time. Delaying pre-scans may increase the likelihood of failures in later stages of the design process. Therefore, it is recommended to conduct pre-scans early on in the design process whenever possible. This can help identify potential issues at an early stage, allowing designers to address them promptly and avoid costly rework later on. By prioritizing pre-scans, designers can ensure that their product meets the necessary standards for EMI/EMC, reducing the risk of failure and increasing the likelihood of a successful product launch.


(7) Not engaging with the customer feedback early on in the process


While internal reviews are helpful for identifying design-level issues, customer or user feedback is equally essential for discovering user-level issues. As such, it is recommended that designers involve customers or users in document reviews and acceptance testing wherever possible during the design process.

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This way, designers can receive valuable feedback that can help improve the product design and better meet the needs of end-users. Incorporating feedback from customers or users can lead to more intuitive and user-friendly products that are more likely to be successful in the market. By prioritizing customer or user feedback throughout the design process, designers can ensure that their products meet the highest standards of usability and deliver exceptional value to end-users.


(8) Designing in isolation


Designing in isolation is a sure shot way of failure in the design process. Effective communication is crucial for minimizing the number of design iterations. This communication must occur between designers and users, as well as between designers and cross-functional teams. By communicating openly and frequently, designers can raise concerns and correct any misunderstandings that may arise early on in the design process. This approach can help minimize the need for costly rework and ensure that the final product meets the needs of all stakeholders. Through open communication, designers can gather valuable feedback from users and other team members, which can help identify potential issues before they become major problems. By prioritizing communication throughout the design process, designers can minimize the number of iterations needed, reduce costs, and deliver high-quality products that meet the needs of all stakeholders.

About the Author


Siddharth is the Founder of the company and is Director of Product Engineering. Siddharth has more than 15 years of experience in Embedded Product Engineering and his expertise covers complete product design cycle right from feasibility analysis, system architecture, design to volume production.

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