It is immensely important to streamline design workflow for any development firm or organization. It is fair to say that this workflow can be different for different types of organizations. I am going to take some time to share our design and development workflow i.e. from a startup’s perspective.
Since we are small we have the benefit to be in direct contact with our clients at the very top tier. This situation gives us advantage over the bigger elephants, we can adapt quicker, we can provide customized solutions and we can scale up at short notice but one thing that remains steady is the workflow for this we use different tools as voice programs that allow us to create a more effective communication, you can find out more in this Walkerinfo Article. In our case it is representative of a backbone and a building block. The workflow is carefully tailored and then takes final shape during the first 5 to 6 initial projects. At this point each team member is aware of the role and what he is expecting as input and what he needs to send out as output. The factors administering it are the range of services, whether we provide turnkey solutions and the human resource available.
In our case we have found the following workflow to be efficient, flexible and effective. Our 100% client approval surely owes a lot to the streamlined processes. The following process may help startups when formulating their workflow.
Inspiration Charts :
After touching base with the client on project requirements we compile our understanding of the client’s requirement and then start to pin those onto a board. We then look for inspiration by studying already existing designs and ideas, forms and functions, relevant materials and ergonomics. After populating the inspiration chart we discuss our understanding of what the client wants with the client by sharing the product features we want to incorporate from our inspirations. This may be an iterative process as this the point where we establish the exact requirements.
2. Concept Mockup:
Once the requirements are highlighted we develop virtual mockups of the envisioned products starting off with concept sketches and then leading to CAD models. At this point the CAD models have no functional details but only show aesthetics and ergonomic features. Although the outlook of the product is generally 90% of how it will eventually turn out but there are chances of design changes in case some anticipated feature does not work out as per engineering intuition.[iframe id=”https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FBMKDesign%2Fvideos%2F345735065550707%2F&show_text=0&width=560″]
3. Product Engineering:
After generating virtual mockups we engineer the product to parts and sub assemblies down to the last screw or fastener. At this point we make the design feasible for manufacturing and for assembling. If need arises, the product assemblies or parts are analyzed for strength and endurance in FEA environments.
Once we have good confidence in our virtual prototype we head over to our manufacturing liaisons in china to prototype the products for us and generate tooling and production cost estimates. The product is then physically tested.If the product under-performs we re iterate step 3 till we are satisfied. A product usually requires none to one iterations.
Beyond this, if our client requires mass manufacturing, our liaison factories provide fully QC / QA product manufacturing and assembling and have the shipped to our clients across the world.
I hope this article provides an insight into modern day product development process and is helpful for startups to find some workflow perspective.