In today’s booming software landscape, you see highly dynamic teams quickly iterating to develop and improve their products. Yet while the world’s software creators have learned to “move fast and break things,” hardware developers are still (slowly) moving to adopt a more agile product development methodology.
Agile hardware development is about quickly iterating through prototypes to optimize your product’s aesthetic and function. You need to repeatedly test your product before it’s in your customer’s hands. By the time your product is entering production, the cost of tooling and setting up specific manufacturing processes requires a huge investment of resources. Last-minute design changes can kill you with delay and cost overruns.
As hardware companies begin to incorporate agile methodology in manufacturing, they face infrastructure and operation challenges due to the level of manpower involved. Plethora’s factory uses manufacturing software to change this by automatically deploying instructions to machines. Providing input during the design process and controlling the manufacturing process from start to finish lets us incorporate agile concepts at every step of production.
How to get there? Controlling every part of the design and production process lets companies like ours embrace agile processes every step of the way, maximizing the system’s benefits. However, even now, there are ways we can vastly accelerate the product lifecycle without needing to reinvent the entire factory in order to practice agile development.
Four ways to apply the software approach to agile to hardware:
In software, TDD is when you write the tests your code has to pass before you even write the code. In hardware, once you’ve finalized a general design approach for your product, spend time building testing into your engineering process and prototypes themselves. Fast testing is key to rapid iteration.
Taking a more agile approach to hardware development helps de-risk the manufacturing process by catching design problems early on.
This is where the answer to better and faster hardware development lies.
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