Working together to develop a product comes with a host of pros and cons.

The pros include a bigger pool of innovative ideas to draw from, unlimited “sanity checks,” quicker progress on a project, and different points of view that can improve a design.

The cons: Well, we have a whole blog about the cons

For engineering leaders, it’s up to you to minimize the cons and maximize the pros to drive team success and foster an environment that embraces collaborative design. Here’s how to tap into its power.

Collaborative Design at Work

We live in an interconnected world where true collaboration can separate winners from the rest. It’s imperative to leverage the collective expertise and diverse perspectives of your team members to elevate engineering and product design to new levels. 

Imagine a workplace where ideas flow freely and innovation takes center stage. This is the power of collaborative design – a harmonious fusion of minds, working in tandem to create products that make an impact. That’s what collaborative design can do.

Create an Open & Transparent Culture

Effective collaborative design thrives in an environment where open communication and transparency are the norm. The onus falls on team leaders to cultivate a culture where ideas can flow, feedback is welcomed with open arms, and trust is the foundation upon which your team operates.

Regular meetings, both virtual and in-person, can become hot spots for innovation. Team members can share their insights, discuss challenges, and celebrate milestones together. By fostering an open and transparent culture, you'll tap into your team’s collective genius, propelling your engineering projects to new heights.

Harmonious Collaboration Needs Clarity

Clarity is at the center of collaborative design. Without a clear understanding of who is responsible for what, teams can quickly become disorganized, leading to duplication of efforts, missed deadlines, and misaligned goals.

As a team leader, you are responsible for establishing a transparent system that outlines each team member's roles, responsibilities, and tasks within the project. This not only enhances accountability but also ensures that everyone understands their specific contributions and how they fit into the larger picture.

Achieving this level of alignment and cohesion will streamline your design processes and result in higher-quality deliverables on time and within budget.

Embrace Mobility and Remote Collaboration

The concept of a traditional office space is quickly becoming obsolete. Teams and external collaborators are dispersed across different locations, time zones, and even continents, making remote collaboration an absolute necessity.

Collaboration solutions for engineering teams should offer mobile accessibility, allowing your team members to access and work on designs from anywhere, on any device. This level of flexibility not only facilitates collaboration but also enables quick decision-making and faster turnaround times, keeping your team ahead of the curve.

Always Share Knowledge

Collaborative engineering encourages knowledge-sharing and cross-training within teams. By continually learning and growing, you’ll foster an environment where expertise is celebrated, and collective wisdom is the driving force behind your success.

Implement training sessions, mentorship programs, or knowledge-sharing initiatives that allow team members to share their expertise and learn from one another. Cross-training team members on different aspects of the design process can foster a deeper understanding of the project’s complexities and enhance collaboration.

Use Design Collaboration Tools

Having the right tools at your disposal can make all the difference in making collaborative design work for your engineering team. The right design collaboration tools empower teams to communicate effectively, collaborate seamlessly, and bring their collective visions to life.

With the right tools, teams can simultaneously access and edit CAD models, regardless of physical location. No more endless file sharing, version control nightmares, or communication breakdowns. With design collaboration tools, your team can work together in real-time, ensuring that everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal.

Onshape: The Software for Collaborative Engineering Teams

While numerous collaboration solutions for engineering teams are available in the market, Onshape stands out as a cloud-native platform that offers a comprehensive suite of collaborative design tools.

With Onshape, your engineering team can:

Collaborate in Real-Time

Multiple team members can simultaneously edit and view the same CAD model, enabling seamless collaboration and real-time updates. Onshape’s Follow Mode and Comments features allow you and your team to communicate effectively while walking through a design.

Onshape Comments Onshape's Comment Feature.

Access Designs Anywhere

Onshape's cloud-native architecture allows your team to access and work on designs from any device with an internet connection, fostering mobility and remote collaboration. Whether you're in the office, at home, or on the go, your designs are always within reach.

Share Progress Often and Early

Onshape’s design collaboration features allow for seamless sharing with internal or external parties, like manufacturers or vendors. This allows the manufacturer to decide whether it’s even possible to manufacture the CAD design in its facilities. The manufacturer can also prepare its facilities early on to speed up the time to market. Using Onshape’s design collaboration features, CAD teams can share their designs with stakeholders without delaying the product development process.

A Drawing in Onshape
Collaborators are able to view users' edits with the Versions and History feature.

Ensure Secure Data Management and Access Control

With robust access control and permission settings, you can securely share designs with internal and external stakeholders, ensuring intellectual property protection. Permissions can be easily granted or revoked, providing you with complete control over who can view, comment, or edit your design data.

Streamline Task Assignment and Tracking

Onshape's built-in Task Assignment tool allows you to assign tasks directly within the design environment. This ensures that team members have a clear understanding of their responsibilities as soon as they open the project. Tasks can be assigned to individuals, teams, or companies, and progress can be easily tracked and updated in real-time.

Track Project Progress in Real-Time

Onshape's Activity Overview dashboard – available to Enterprise users – presents a high-level view of your company's design activities. It allows you to monitor the total number of hours spent on each project per day and per user. You can see which engineers are actively working on which projects, how many releases are pending approval, and which documents have been worked on the most.

Gain Detailed Insights with Customizable Dashboards

Rather than waiting for weekly progress meetings, executives and project managers can drill down into each table and chart to get more detailed, up-to-the-minute reports. Customizable dashboards provide granular insights into document access, design activity, and resource management, empowering you to make data-driven decisions and optimize your team’s performance.

Onshape Analytics
An Onshape Analytics Dashboard showing who has accessed a Document.

Collaborative Design Essential to Your Success

Collaborative design is essential for engineering teams to thrive in today's competitive landscape. With the right mindset and tools, engineering teams become unstoppable, tackling complex challenges and setting new standards.

Don't let outdated processes hold your team back. Unlock their full potential with Onshape’s transformative collaborative design capabilities. Experience true collaboration and shape the future of engineering excellence. With Onshape, the possibilities are endless.

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