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12 The PCB Design Magazine • July 2014 by David Wiens MEnTOr grAPhiCs COrP. Design Efficiency in the Fast Lane PCB systems design pressures can be broken down into the ubiquitous buckets of time, cost and quality. Efficient design is about balancing the three. Push too hard to shrink the design time, and watch your costs go up while quality diminishes. Spend too much time optimizing a design, and watch your market window wave goodbye. A recent survey by The Aberdeen Group [1] confirmed these critical pressures, and also identified some strategies to resolve them— two of the top four involved optimizing collab- oration across the design team. Figures 1 and 2 show the responses graphically. PCB design teams can range from the individ- ual who does everything up to global enterprises with large, distributed teams. Large teams have a competitive advantage of resources and special- ization, but they also bear the challenge of opti- mizing those resources to avoid the diminishing returns that can come with team inefficiency. The other dimension to the problem is design com- plexity, illustrated with Figure 3. An individual can design almost anything with the right tools; the challenge is to complete the design within a reasonable time, while optimizing quality and cost. Enterprises can tackle complexity with larg- er teams on a project, including specialists who can optimize design functions for quality. Let's look at typical types of enterprise col- laboration, and propose some best practices to optimize efficiency across the design team. feature Optimizing Collaboration for PCB Systems Design

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