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Product Design as a Team Sport

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Cabe Atwell
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Re: Collaboration is the way forward
Cabe Atwell   5/4/2014 12:28:13 AM
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Since gradeschool... there is always someone who is doing more work than the others... and that person is always us. What gives?

C

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Collaboration is the way forward
Cabe Atwell   4/23/2014 3:43:21 PM
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Tram work is key no matter what the task is but since it's a 'team sport', then there should be cheerleaders, which can only function to increase performance.

a2
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Re: Collaboration is the way forward
a2   4/22/2014 2:17:36 AM
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@Nadine: Yes and that is because they have individual goals. No team work has been taught to them.  

NadineJ
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Re: Collaboration is the way forward
NadineJ   4/21/2014 10:52:20 PM
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I agree that collaboration is the future.  Newer designers are rarely really taught how to work in a team.  Everyone wants to be a superstar. 

I hope the book is used at the university level.  The future needs a little help.  The sooner, the better.

ChuckMahoney
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Re: Collaboration is the way forward
ChuckMahoney   4/17/2014 11:44:48 AM
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Collaboration, co-location and having the right tools when and where you need them are key. some thoughts:

 - Let's not draw the "generational line". I'm not that young anymore, but I love online tools, and prefer to work on my iPad when I can. Lets say "progressive engineers" versus "stodgy engineers"

- in my experience, IT has been the biggest inhibitor of implementing online tools and BYOD applications. They tend to be overly cautious.

- There is also a real fear in upper management about IP issues with "open engineering". Using open software as an example is not a good one, because frankly, much of it doesn't really work well.

- I have never not worked in teams in my 30+ years, although there are times when an engineer has to sit quietly and focus on a problem. You can't force collaboration when it isn't needed.

 

bobjengr
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PRODUCT DESIGN AND TEAM EFFORTS
bobjengr   4/16/2014 7:37:05 PM
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During my university years I had real difficulties in studying within a group.  For some reason it just did not work for me.  I was either faster or slower than my team mates.   After graduation, I found working within a team and calling on the expertise of vendors was a remarkable asset in meeting design goals and schedules.  We never had issues with confidentiality or protecting trade secrets.  The vendors understood; one slip and they were out forever.   With the modern day complexities of design; i.e. FEA, solid modeling, CFD, etc etc; it is almost imperative to include a variety of disciplines to get the proper design commercialized and in on time. One issue I might mention was great difficulties we all had with our CAD function being in India.  They were going to bed when we were getting to work.  We would meet each morning at 0630 hrs for a discussion relative to the project at hand.  They uploaded at night—we downloaded in the morning.  It got old quickly and produced real issues.  Co-location, as mentioned is the very best way to go if it is at all possible.    Excellent post Rod.  I certainly agree with the methodology.  

Nancy Golden
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Re: Collaboration is the way forward
Nancy Golden   4/16/2014 6:56:45 PM
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Moving forward can be very uncomfortable - but just as in your Boeing example, there is often too much to lose not to. I still find word-processing painful at times :)

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Collaboration is the way forward
Rob Spiegel   4/16/2014 6:51:42 PM
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I agree Nancy. I've worked on projects where management forced collaboration. It was uncomfortable at first, but so was word processing.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Collaboration is the way forward
Nancy Golden   4/16/2014 6:49:06 PM
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That's right, Rob - whenever that happened where I worked, we viewed it as "us versus them" - it is really difficult to create a good working dynamic with other companies when it comes to the nuts and bolts of engineering. Being able to overcome that has to be a corporate cultural value embraced by leadership.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Collaboration is the way forward
Rob Spiegel   4/16/2014 6:41:56 PM
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Good points Nancy. I remember covering Boeing when the company broke ground by bringing suppliers into the design process in the late 1990s and eary 2000s. I would imagine that was a big jump, bringing in engineers from a different company with its own unique culture. But the benefits of collaboration were too important to allow hurdles to stymie them.

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