Design collaboration tips

31 May, 2004 By: Cadalyst Staff

Manage Data

Manage your data in a secure, standard database to prevent unauthorized or conflicting changes and to make sure that all team members work on components that are always up to date. Such database systems allow much faster searches and where-used queries and integrate well with corporate ERP and MRP systems.

Use Automated Workflows

Use automated workflows to ensure that everyone receives the information they need, when they need it. These can provide automated notice when changes are made to designs users are working on and should offer a full design history. Such workflows also can provide parallel and serial approval processes.

Manage E - mail Collaboration

Make sure that any e-mail sharing remains within a managed collaboration scheme. Do not simply e-mail design files, because they become outdated when new changes are made. By remaining a managed process, collaboration can protect the correctness of data, speed design cycles, and help you avoid the common and costly mistake of working with out-of-date designs.

Discuss Your Needs

Talk with design collaboration vendors to find the tools that fit your company's situation. There are more effective solutions than fax, screenshots, e-mail, and travel for design collaboration.

Overcome Challenges

Think about design as a more fluid, order-independent discipline so that you can design in the way you think. This new flexibility may take some adjustment because current tools have restrained your ability to work using this natural approach.

Keep Track of All Design Ideas

Collaboration between teams often results in many different ideas-some good, some not so good. It's important to keep all ideas, good or bad, in some managed form. A design for a trigger mechanism may not work on the first iteration of a hand drill design, but may be the perfect addition to the final design.

Protect Your Data

Protect your intellectual data when collaborating with others by sharing only the bare minimum needed for them to complete their work. For instance, if your vendor is designing the brackets to hold your new design in place, share just the mount locations and available space. There's no need to hand over your proprietary design.

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

Cadalyst Staff

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