Including Meter’s core team of a dozen engineers, about 50 people were involved in the development of the Rise Emergency Ventilator. The extended team included 3D-printing experts, hospital clinicians, software developers and sheet metal fabricators. There was no lengthy hiring process. The team rapidly expanded by recruiting friends and colleagues from their personal networks.
“In many ways, our development process followed the same approach we usually take, but we had to compress it into hours instead of days and days instead of months,” recalls Eduardo Torrealba, the co-founder and CEO of Meter. “The biggest way we did this was by ramping up the frequency of communication. Individual contributors had multiple daily check-ins on Slack and video chats so we were constantly raising questions, spotting problems and solving them.”
“In the first seven days, we had already done two revisions of the mechanical design and started 3D prints of the first parts over the weekend,” he adds. “I also went a little bit old school and was doing 50 to 60 phone calls a day during this effort. Sometimes you just can’t beat a normal voice call when you need immediate feedback.”
For engineering team members stuck in their individual homes, PTC’s cloud-native Onshape product development platform, which enables multiple people to simultaneously work together on the same CAD model online, was essential for collaboration. Colleagues using Onshape can instantly provide feedback on each other’s work as easily as making a comment in Google Docs or on social media.
“The fact that the tool was always live was really important for us. We had several design reviews over Zoom with 8 or 10 people and somebody would share their screen as they manipulated the model,” says Torrealba. “If someone had a question they didn't just have to say, ‘Okay. Turn it around. Spin it. Do this. Do that.’ They could be in the workspace with the designer and highlight things and make edits in a much more collaborative way than I've seen with any other CAD platform.”
For sharing designs with external partners, such as the sheet metal fabrication experts at Prototek, the Rise team relied on Onshape’s Sharing feature, which allows teams to grant instant access to collaborators with varying levels of permissions. Partners can view, edit or comment on designs in a web browser with no need to download or install special software.
“Onshape was just incredibly valuable for us,” Torrealba adds. “We were moving way too fast to deal with emailing files around or setting up servers and a lot of the other things that we would need to do to have that same level of collaboration if we had been using other CAD packages.”
Version Control: 6 Design Iterations in 3 Weeks