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MAY 2022 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 67 what sections need to be near or away from other sections, and whether the EE has a cer- tain flow in mind for the placement. Is termination drawn on the page it's used with or in the place it needs to be? Has the EE included all the decoupling caps? Ask ques- tions; the only stupid question is the one that was not asked that could have saved an itera- tion, ECO or rework. To recap, interview the EE, give immediate feedback on missing infor- mation to the mechanical engineer and the EE, and pull in other professionals as needed to get the information that helps establish the scope of the project. Shaughnessy: What are some of the hidden costs, in addition to monetary, of designing in a vacuum? Schattke: If the requirements phase of the proj- ect is not done well and scope creep is allowed, that is going to be a hidden cost-adder in a cap- tive design team structure, and a large adder if the work is outsourced and additional hours are required to meet the added scope. To save money and get a better design, the schemat- ics should be fully completed with all the rules and board technology features defined. is is the "ready, aim, fire" method. Saving money on the design is not always the top goal; oen it's getting the minimum viable board ready for the marketplace to get first-mover advan- tage. In this type of a design it's oen "fire, aim, ready," and many shots are taken and the aim is improved as new information becomes available. Shaughnessy: What advice would you give designers who are trying to get out of the vac- uum? Schattke: Get really good at asking the right questions. Seek to understand what will make things work, what will be potential risks, and what can be done to mitigate those risks. Ask what communication method (and what time) is best for the overworked team members you are supporting. Asking at the right time and in the right way will lead to far more answers than the alterna- tive. Respect the time of the other team mem- bers, but also remember that they save time by using you—but only if what you do is useful. No one on the team wants to go through redesign efforts. at being said, no EE or product man- ager wants to release a product they know they can make better or less risky by implementing a PCB design change. If the design team is so busy that it's hard to get information, take a best guess at what you think is right, research the data, or go to PCB and assembly vendors and get their feedback. en ask your ques- tion with the possible solution in place for the design team. is is how you become more valuable and get better outcomes. Shaughnessy: Is there anything else you'd like to add? Schattke: I don't believe that any of us live in a vacuum. We all design and produce things of value for others. e better we do that, the bet- ter it is for everyone; less scrap is better for our environment. We owe it to ourselves and the organizations we work with to break out of any self-imposed vacuum we find ourselves in. We should actively seek out help from anyone who will help us build a better product. e best ideas and products come to fruition from a rich soil that has lots of nutrients avail- able. It's up to us to turn the soil and plant the seeds. We have to tend to the design garden until it's ready for market. Just as a gardener must water, keep pests away and pull weeds, we have to do the same as designers to get a completed design ready for manufacturing. Shaughnessy: anks, Carl. Schattke: ank you, Andy. DESIGN007

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