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10 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JUNE 2023 Feature Q&A by Andy Shaughnessy I-CONNECT007 It seems like everyone has something to say about PCB designers and the way they do their jobs. Everyone involved in the process likes to chime in with advice for the front-end folks. But what do designers think about their seg- ment of the industry? is month, we asked PCB designers and design engineers to discuss their biggest pain points. Jen Kolar Monsoon Solutions What is your main concern for PCB designers? Communication. It all comes down to that. Are they asking clear questions of their customer or manufacturer? Are they reading the customer's full email or documentation and responding to everything? Vice versa for the customer. Is someone sending key summaries from verbal conversations to make sure everyone is on the same page? How much design is happening in chat applications (Slack, Chime, Teams, etc.) vs. a more structured, traceable way? Is the customer providing the necessary data in an organized fashion or in dribs and drabs? While PCB design engineers may be good at design, they also need to be good at customer and project management. is is especially true in a service bureau environment like ours with external customers, but it still applies to inter- nal customers. Make sure the requirements and decisions are clear from both ends. e difference between DESIGN CHALLENGES: From the Designer's Viewpoint having a brick vs. a useful board can come down to one conversation. I see many projects drag on due to the customer being slow to reply and the designer not managing their customer well to keep them moving. Sometimes there is nothing the designer can do but, oen, setting clear expectations about the inputs needed and clearly calling out when the project is on hold is a good way to keep the customer moving. e designer sometimes needs to help them realize when they aren't quite ready to move forward and that they need time to figure things out. Designers need to be good at communi- cating. Depending on the scope and size of the project, daily updates of progress may be important. For much longer projects, it might Jen Kolar

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