How our electronic design team collaborates with you – Part Two

How our electronic design team collaborates with you – Part Two

We recently asked our electronic engineering team about how they work with clients to develop their ideas or prototypes into successful products.

Electronic product design is complex. Some of our clients have technical and engineering backgrounds, others have business management expertise or a product marketing background.

Yes. We’ve worked with unicorns, scale-ups and a diverse range of clients and projects. Every client and project has a unique point of difference. That’s what makes your product ideas so interesting! This is what we thrive on at outerspace.

In the second article of this series, we explain some differences and similarities in the electronic product development journey, depending on a client’s background and their level of experience in product development.

When you have a clear vision for your business and product idea

Business founders, investors, managers and marketers have in-depth knowledge of their customers and market. They have a clear understanding of what their customer needs and wants and they know their market and industry intimately.

Many of our business or marketing-savvy clients have developed products before. For others it’s their first foray into scaling up to develop a new product from an idea. They don’t always want to know the engineering details. They want us to manage this and get the job done fast.

Depending on a client’s experience in electronic development, they may understand the high level name of a feature like Bluetooth or WiFi, plus all the layers underneath to make it functional or some see electronics as just a green thing inside a box.

Our team always listens carefully to understand their requirements and discusses the development process with clients, to clarify the steps and align this with their business strategy and plan for the product. 

We guide clients through a staged process, making sure we discover all the technical aspects first, and have upfront conversations with them saying – “We can solve your problem and it might take a certain amount of time, so let’s find the best engineering solution for you.”

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the complexity of electronics and firmware. At outerspace, we always break things down into smaller boxes, to prevent an electronic design concept from causing confusion. It’s important that our clients understand what we are doing and the stages we are taking in the development process.


the V model of design

We take our clients through the V model of design, without dwelling on the engineering specification. We talk about what we’re going to do. We explain the electronic design process, and how we make sure a feature works. 

A test plan is generated in the design phase. A very complicated design can have lots of details that need testing and prototyping. 

We make sure we set out on a project in the right way. We define what we’re going to do and how we’re going to test a product idea. 

We communicate to our clients at every step of the way, so they feel comfortable and have trust in our management of their product development. 


considering all variables upfront

What often comes as a surprise to clients who are new to electronics and firmware, is that electronic product development involves high investment up front. This is the opposite to mechanical product development where the major investment is required at the end with investment in tooling for plastic or metals parts, for example.

In electronic development, it’s essential to consider all variables up front. This is because we develop the Design for Manufacture at the beginning, to make sure we know the variables that are involved, how the product will function and if it will be manufacturable. 


the development board

A development board that looks like a basic rectangle. For complex designs, It’s the first PCB and often doesn’t have the same form factor as the final product. There are typically always issues with the first iteration, so we explain this clearly. It’s a bit like a designer’s sketch in the beginning, and then becomes more detailed and accurate. 

development board - outerspace design
a development board on the bench in our lab

Especially on complex projects, the development board is a platform to de-bug issues as you work through them. Our engineers pull in all of the parts of the design from different manufacturers and different technologies and engineer them to work together on a bespoke Printed Circuit Board. 


firmware or embedded software and code

Roughly ninety percent of electronics development contains firmware (or embedded software). Our not so tech savvy clients enjoy seeing flow charts of the device functionality that we later implement in firmware code. 

They understand firmware. It’s not difficult to understand, but not the details. Code is generally boring to them, but a flow chart or diagram shows where the problems are; what they are trying to achieve; what we’ve done; the problem and how we will fix it for them. We explain the roles that microcontrollers and the various protocols play in an embedded design.

Our team works closely with a broad range of clients with varying product development experience to create successful products across many industries and markets. We understand product development needs to be managed on time and on budget.


Talk to us about your project


Read the first article in this series about experience collaborating with technical product development teams.


James Lenehan

Senior Electronics Engineer

Anirban Bose

Senior Firmware Engineer

Scott Foster

Electronics Design Manager

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