Front-End Engineering Design: How to Plan Your Next Project Part 2
Lucas Leão from CIM TEAM Brazil returns with the second and final part of his blog series that takes you step by step through a standard process for implementing front-end engineering in your design process. Read part 1 here.
Last time I introduced you to front-end engineering design and then looked at the first half of a standard process, looking specifically at 1) team management, 2) project planning, 3) initial analysis and design consideration, then finally 4) benchmarking and market assessment. Now let’s look at the remaining four items:
5. User/Customer Needs Assessment
Consideration for all present and future users of the product design needs to be addressed, typically gathered through questionnaires and surveys.
6. Product Exploration
This stage deals with exploring a product’s design through functional analysis, risk assessment and planning, while also taking into account the systems used. This can be done using tools like mind mapping, which provides a conceptual representation of the project as a whole.
Functional analysis is where functional and user requirements of the product are considered. At this point the integration of the product with components or a system, are taken into account. Now, with a better understanding of the market, customer needs, and functionality, the second iteration of the design will address the product’s main objectives.
7. The Developmental Plan
This is when all information and materials are collected and a plan is developed for the design, which provides input into solution development, following on from the beginning of the design review. The main point of this stage is convert user needs and design requirements for predictable performance, into something that can be manufactured.
8. Critical Design Review
Part of items 2 and 3 in the last blog post comprise of the early design review, which should include a well-documented team meeting where the members review what has been completed to date, and reflect on anything that may have been omitted or any new developments. The critical design review achieves the same goal, except with a solution development process. This is used for focusing efforts on problem understanding and solution development This is the best time to discuss the most important decisions, as process costs are lower. Selecting a solution later on while the project is in motion, could result in delays and issues in the future. More time spent at this time on problem solution development will increase ROI and the creative design process will be more effective.
Design Considerations and Better Return on Investment (ROI)
Designers can often overlook problem solution development and become fixed on a certain conceptual solution that might later on fail to address the issue/problem originally being addressed. Even at this point, some may try to redesign the solution to find resolution to the flaws, instead of considering a new design. Don’t get caught in this trap by following these eight guidelines.
To add more credibility to this argument, research has been conducted to show that those who use front-end engineering design tend to finish projects on time.
Remember – taking extra time in problem statement development and review will eliminate the potential of generating unsatisfactory results in the engineering design process.
Thanks for reading.