A Better Way to do Design Reviews
Chris and Fred ask each other ‘what makes a good design review?’ This is a great question. Reliability engineering can help! (… click here to read an article about this). If you want to learn more – listen to this podcast!
Join Chris and Fred as they discuss what makes a good design review. There is a chance that you have been involved in a bad design review. Like the one where the mechanical engineering team lead busts out a 378 page PowerPoint presentation that is wordy photojournal of effort.
- Stop talking about requirements! What? How can this be? Because we only meet requirements at (or around) our final design. Which means the only design review where we talk about meeting requirements is the last one. So what do we up until that point if we focus on requirements? We continually ask ourselves if we are ‘on track.’ So everyone turns up with as much material as possible to convince people that they have been working really, really hard.
- … and design reviewers set the scene. Design reviewers need to prepare. They need to research. They need to not necessarily be the most senior personnel. They need to be the best people placed to provide meaningful design help.
- Design reviews are forums for helping to create awesome designs. A designer once took the initiative and sent a list of concerns or problems he was experiencing to the people who were going to be part of the design review. And this meant that instead of being an arduous ordeal of PowerPoint slides, the design review became a wonderful brainstorm of amazing design solutions.
- Design reviews need to be ‘safe’ places. Not courtrooms where the defendants (… I mean … designers) have to justify how hard they have been working while ‘senior engineers’ try and pick holes. This is destructive. We need to encourage designers to be vulnerable and look for help. They will get accolades at the end of the day.
- And the leader of the design review owns everything. If a reviewer doesn’t care or hasn’t prepared, get rid of them. If a design team lead turns up with 378 PowerPoint slides … ask them to stop and ask them what is keeping them up at night. Have a scribe. Someone who writes every action item down. Not ideas. Not concerns. Action items.
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