Addressing Challenges in Product Development Collaboration

Today’s products are designed and manufactured with the help of large groups of interconnected people from various disciplines and companies. These stakeholders all play important roles in product development and their ability to collaborate efficiently with their counterparts is becoming increasingly critical. Engineering often serves as the hub of design collaboration.

No one designs in a vacuum

Despite the increasing demand for more design collaboration, there’s a surprising amount of friction that still exists in the process. Exchanging designs with other engineers can be painful and time-consuming and collaborating with non-engineering stakeholders can prove even more challenging.

Fortunately there are new solutions to reduce this collaboration friction that offer cleaner exchange of design data between engineering teams. These new solutions also enable non-technical participants to provide their feedback without burdening engineers. These tools make it easier for everyone to collaboration on designs across the entire product development spectrum.

Engineering is the hub of collaboration

Today’s products are a marvel of integration, including a bevy of electronics, such as circuit boards, sensors, cabling, and network antennas. They also include embedded software that act as control systems and stream data to IoT platforms. At the end of the day, all these interconnected subsystems must act as one cohesive whole.

The change in the composition of today’s products has not only changed the way products are designed but also placed more burdens upon various disciplines to collaborate effectively. With more electronics and software being incorporated into products, mechanical engineers must coordinate their work with electrical engineers and coders.

For instance, electronics can run dangerously hot and require a means to dissipate heat. The software running on those electronics needs to provide the right level of control. The antennas stream data to IoT platforms that can run into interference from mechanical components of the product. Thus, mechanical engineers must work closely with stakeholders in other domains to resolve these issues so the product functions as a whole.

At the end of design, engineering must provide a single bill of materials (BOM) that manufacturing and suppliers can use to produce the product. Engineers from different disciplines must collaborate on the definition of that deliverable throughout design, as opposed to a sudden rush at the end to help the entire company avoid costly delays.

Modern design requires high levels of communication, collaboration, and consensus while still demanding deep technical expertise in specific fields. Today’s engineers need the right tools to do that efficiently.

Learn more about how you can help your product development teams collaborate more efficienctly—both within the company and externally with design partners—by downloading Lifecycle Insights’ new eBook “Eliminating the Friction in Design Collaboration.”


Barb Schmitz

Barb Schmitz

Senior Marketing Communications Manager at SolidWorks
Barb Schmitz is a Senior Manager in Marketing Communications with BA in Journalism and over 30 years of experience in the CAD software industry. She started her career as a journalist covering technology and served as an editor for several leading industry publications for over 20 years. Besides being a sleuth of tech, she is a loyal dog owner, travel bum, mom, lover of hoppy IPAs, red wine, and alternative music lover living in the great city of Chicago.