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Inspired by Intel's Co-Engineering article for the Lenovo 9i

See parallels between hardware and software design and engineering.
Intel's co-engineering

I was inspired by Intel's Co-Engineering. I thought the term was interesting so I clicked the link to Intel touting it's work with Lenovo to make the new Yoga 9i. This article had me thinking of the parallels between hardware and software design and engineering.


It piqued my interest by reminding me of Charles Fine's "3D concurrent engineering" which talked about designing a product, its production process, and its supply chain at the same time.

The article had a few stages to describe co-engineering: Definition, Architecture, Execution and Launch. As marketing material that's fine, but if you wanted to learn how to do something like this yourself you'd be scratching your head because a key ingredient is missing: research.

I think of Design having three stages: Design -> Research -> Invention. We'll see how this applies to software development in a sec.

In the DESIGN Stage you focus on distilling not just the requirements, but the values that those requirements fulfill. A car's requirement for seatbelt and airbags fulfill the value of safety. How you fulfill those values determines the products or services you create.

RESEARCH stages require you to look outside of your company's walls and zoom meeting schedule and look not only what direct competitors are doing, but what they're suppliers are working on, and what your competition's customer's want. This will enable you to create something that's ahead of the market's direction, not just responding to what's out now.

The third stage INVENT takes you through fives steps. Well, the previous two stages also have five steps but I didn't want to bore you. The steps are: Sketch out a solution, Scale it down to test, make a Blueprint of the internals, Estimate what it takes to make one example, and Model it by creating the prototype.

Intel's last step "Execution" oversimplified what I have as six whole stages. But again, I don't really expect they explain everything in their marketing material pushing a product.

How does this work for software? Well, much the same way. Design and Engineering have very similar sequences if they're not the same. In software and hardware you start with a design requirements that enable customers to achieve their goals. You research what's possible in general, and what's practical for your budgetary constraints (which include manpower and time, not just cost). Then you create the content architecture and some wireframes to make a (paper or software) model or mockup of the eventual thing.

That's it. Just a few morning thoughts about the first stages of going from idea to implementation and how, if you look, you can see it everywhere.

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