My colleague, David Wiens, recently posted a blog about survey results that we collected regarding PCB design. One of the questions asked was around the most common platforms for collaboration. Eighty percent (80%) of the respondents claimed that email was their common platform for communication followed by conferencing as the next most commonly used vehicle for collaboration.
This got me thinking, our most common platforms for collaboration that we are using have been around for forty (40) years (for email) and 133 years for conferencing (telephone). If collaboration is so critical in business success, why are our collaboration platforms of choice the ones that are least efficient? (In a Google Wave video there is a claim that email was invented the same year of the lava lamp, the last time I had a lava lamp was in my college dorm room twenty years ago – it went with my velvet posters and black light).
In the next question of the survey we asked about barriers to effective collaboration. The first response was that “ambiguous communications” was the major barrier to effective collaboration. This is a “no-duh” moment; the reason why there is so much ambiguity is because we are using highly inefficient means to collaborate!
There has to be (and there is) a better way. Over the past month and through December we are highlighting a series of webinars around PCB Layout and Routing. Our most recent webinar was around enabling concurrent team collaboration in layout and routing.
In today’s hyper-competitive and global business environment it no longer makes sense to have “push-pull” collaboration. This is mostly the paradigm of email and conferencing. We need to drive more concurrency throughout our processes. We need to enable “native” collaboration where engineers and designers can collaborate within the context of their own environments or where ECAD and MCAD teams can do the same. We need to be able to have real bridges between design and manufacturing and to be able to understand the implication and constraints of each others’ processes.
All of this is possible today – it just means getting rid of the lava lamp!