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Design007-Nov2021

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28 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2021 did some work on this over a year ago, but I couldn't remember exactly what was done or if any changes were made to the system because there wasn't any real documentation about the testing or results. I asked the co-workers who were involved with the issue at the time, but no one could remember any of the specifics, or even the outcome. So, I had to start from scratch: everything from defining the issue, identifying why it is present, and understand- ing the root cause, to figuring out the solution and implementing it, as well as making sure that I documented all the information every step of the way. A few months later, someone asked me about it, and I had a hard time remembering every piece of the puzzle. I looked over my detailed documentation and I immediately remem- bered all the specifics of the project. Some- times that's all we need—a quick refresher, a summary, or a few bullet points to remind us of what was done. Now, I can always go back to that document and answer any questions about the issue with certainty. is was a great lesson for me personally; now, I would never let anything I do go undocumented, because doing it all over again from scratch proved to be a big, complicated task. And an unneces- sary task at that. Some areas are problematic in the best of times. For instance, revision tracking of design files can turn into a rabbit hole very quickly. Whether it's 2D drawings, PCB design files or CAD files, everyone has different processes and philosophies about revisions. What consti- tutes a revision bump? Do I have to let every- one know, even if it's a really small change? In theory, of course, it would be best to track every single change, but as with testing docu- mentation, this can prove to be a tedious and time-consuming task. Some people update the revision with every minor update, while others don't even start revisioning documents unless they are close to being released. In my opin- ion, the revision tracking process is dependent upon your team members and their needs. As long as everyone on your team is on the same page and there is a system in place, it's easy to follow the process and guidelines and keep everything up to date. is, of course, means you need to come up with a system in the first place, and this on its own can be quite a challenging task. On one hand, you don't want to—for a lack of a better word—spam your coworkers or manufacturing partner with documents every single day. But on the other hand, you don't want to be complacent about changes either, as this can lead to issues such as modifications not being implemented, dif- ferent drawings with the same revisions, and many more mistakes, missteps, and miscues. Revision tracking also proves to be chal- lenging when you have a lot of products and a variety of technical documentation that needs to be tracked. Certain projects can have one revision convention, while others may need something different. Some documents don't get updated as oen, while for others, there aren't enough letter and number combinations to keep up with all the changes. PLM systems and soware can be helpful for tracking, but before you even get started with one of those systems, you must have all your documents with proper revisions, and set up in the first place, so that the system can track it for you. Anything we can do to keep the documentation up to date is very helpful when it comes to sharing files with contract manu- I would never let anything I do go undocumented, because doing it all over again from scratch proved to be a big, complicated task. And an unnecessary task at that.

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