In engineering design, the best way to get things done correctly is to understand the problem you’re trying to solve. Although that’s obvious to many, some engineers rush the process. You can’t just go straight to designing without looking at the problem from different angles.
As someone in electrical engineering since graduating, Roy Bartholomew of Sonora, California understands this need all too well. He says knowing what’s needed before talking to stakeholders is crucial. With these steps out of the way, you can start designing. The trick lies in getting a handle on what you want to achieve.
Another thing is to remember that the design process is all about trial and error. So, don’t lose sleep if things aren’t working the first time. That’s why you build prototypes and test them. And it’s no secret that a good team comes in handy. Everyone has their way of seeing things, so tap into their expertise.
More importantly, always focus on what the end users need. Aim to build something easy to use, reliable, and efficient. Depending on what it is, you may also need to think about safety and convenience. The list goes on.
Bartholomew says don’t get so caught up in the technical details that you forget what users want. When you get this bit right, users will thank you for it.
Formulate a project management plan
A good plan provides a surefire way to keep team members on the same page. Big engineering projects come with a lot of moving parts. So, having a plan keeps things organized. Everything runs smoothly if people understand what’s expected of them.
On top of that, you won’t lose sight of what gets done where, how, and by who. If you can’t see these things, you could easily get overwhelmed. Moreover, a project management plan lets you break design tasks into smaller bits. That way, you can focus on one thing at a time and track progress easily.
Another reason Bartholomew recommends developing a project plan is to avoid costly mistakes. It helps you see where things may go wrong before it’s too late.
Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions and challenge assumptions. By doing so, you mitigate or eliminate the risks. You could do this by changing the design or adding a few safety features. In the worst case, you may scrap the project altogether. A plan allows you to stay flexible.
Use design brainstorming tools
A well-chosen design brainstorming tool can take a load off your shoulders. Best of all, you can share ideas with your team in real-time. Location won’t hold you back. Your team members can work together to draft sketches and discuss any talking points. That way, your workflow moves faster.
These tools don’t throw anything away, so you can easily track sketches and revisions. They make it easier to think outside the box. This means you’re more likely to come up with something groundbreaking.
By making the process more efficient and collaborative, it’s easier to identify the pieces. Thus, you figure out how they fit together to create a great engineering design.
About Roy Bartholomew
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Roy is an engineer with several years of experience. After earning his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, he joined On Guard Security Systems Inc. He’s the head of electrical engineering for the company’s west coast operations.