Design007 Magazine

Design007-Feb2020

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FEBRUARY 2020 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 51 • Have a defined workflow process in place: Your team members won't know who does what, what the previous step was, where to go next, or how to escalate a problem without a plan that they can refer to. • Identify a chain of command: Someone has to be the boss to make the decisions and field the important problems. If that per- son is you, then roll up your sleeves and get to work. Whether it's on the court, at a school, or in the workplace, every team needs a leader. • Design reviews: To ensure that the proj- ect is ready for each succeeding phase of the design, put into place regular design reviews. These reviews should be part of your workflow process, and key members of the design team should be involved. • Keep the team engaged: Growth is an im- portant part of success, but it can also iso- late team members if you aren't careful. Make sure to keep everyone engaged so that they understand their importance to the overall goal. In other words, don't shy away from the occasional taco Tuesdays and casual Fridays. These are all good ideas to keep your team's morale at a high level. Whether it's on a PCB or in the office, inter- ference is never a good thing. Our engineering teams don't need the annoying disruption that lack of communication brings to work, and I no longer have an AM radio on my desk to broadcast EMI-generated pseudo game sounds through. The more that we can clean up the buzz, the better off we'll be. Until next time, my friends, keep on design- ing. DESIGN007 Tim Haag writes technical, thought- leadership content for First Page Sage on his longtime career as a PCB designer and EDA technologist. To read past columns or contact Haag, click here. crease regularly. From the traditional educa- tion provided by schools and universities, to online courses, you can add to your educa- tion as needed. Additionally, there are scores of seminars and workshops available, and de- sign trade shows will also offer many different classes hosted by industry professionals. Networking From co-workers and peers to online indus- try professionals, there's a lot more profession- al and social networking available today that you can go to for help and advice. Designers aren't nearly as isolated as they once were. The industry is poised now better than it ever has been before to develop and create the next generation designs needed for our ad- vancing technologies. Yet we still tend to bump into problems that stem from interference. As we've seen, there are plenty of different ways to deal with EMI problems in our designs, but what about other sources of interference? I'm sorry to say that for all of our efforts to reduce EMI in our designs, we aren't always that great about dealing with workplace interference (WPI). Isn't it ironic that for all the effort we can put into a PCB design to ensure its electro- magnetic compatibility, the design could still be undermined by WPI? Communication, or lack thereof, seems to be one of the greatest causes of WPI in de- sign teams. Some members of the team may not get informed in a timely manner when their input is needed or required. In other cas- es, team members are unsure of who to report to, or who gets the handoff of the next phase of the project. And no matter how much this topic gets covered in different seminars, work- shops, and trade show classes, there is still a communication gap between some design teams and their manufacturers. In engineer- ing teams, time is wasted, and mistakes are made because clear lines of communication have not been defined. If you want to avoid this kind of WPI in your workplace, here are a couple of ideas that may help you to clear up the interference.

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