Meet Will Spencer
SolidWorks Series

Project Management

Think about the last time you had a conversation regarding a design. How much of the information that was transmitted was actually documented, let alone remembered? When teams review designs, oftentimes there are action items, review lists, to-dos, etc. The documentation around these are particularly important because they drive design change. When designs go into production or have final review, it’s important to recall the “change list” around what certain design changes were made, mostly to verify that they were intentional and don’t cause impact to other parts of the system. Teams have struggled with this very fact for decades and software applications are definitely making strides to help bridge this gap. Tools like Jira, Monday.com, and Asana have helped thousands of teams. However, when it comes to the application of these tools to hardware workflows and assets, they lack functionality and proper industry specific features.

As a result, PDM solutions have adopted project management features to help hardware teams. But a deeper look into the existing workflows of these teams reveals an interesting find: most teams do not utilize nor know about these features. PDM systems were built with the mindset of providing core processes around version control, simultaneous design, and a single-source-of-truth. With project management as an after-thought the features ended up being half-baked and not well integrated into the toolset. Furthermore, all the leading project management tools listed above are cloud native, which drives a significant level of value to these tools. With legacy PDM being designed for on-prem, they can not work with data across other cloud based servers and only can interact with data the server in which the PDM was installed on. This technology stack fails to deliver the integrated experience that modern project management tools have.

This gap in the market leaves hardware teams to leverage screenshots, slide decks, and email as their primary form of project management and design review tool. Some teams will adopt Jira or Asana, but end up posting screenshots. Both workflows end up leaving the project management layer disconnected from the design layer. This ends up causing confusion around “which feedback is associated with which version”, “have we closed out on this feedback”, “which version addressed this feedback”, and more.

On SolidWorks PDM, project management entails providing text-based feedback to specific designs. You can even assign feedback to users, and these feedback items even have a status. However, deciphering where in the model the feedback item is located is a difficult task. These feedback items are text only and do not associate themselves on top of the model, making understanding the location of discussion difficult. Furthermore, simply just assigning feedback to users and monitoring statuses does not provide much value to project management. Because of the frictions of getting into SolidWorks PDM, as we’ve discussed in other posts, collaborators do not end up using SolidWorks PDM to provide feedback. This leads to multiple sources where feedback is stored, with different workflows, different statuses, and different design associations. A simple project management feature that’s embedded into SolidWorks PDM does not end up solving the issues of hardware teams, without the consideration of the actual workflow it demands and end use case across an organization.

With Bild, project management is the forefront of how designers and collaborators engage with designs. With Bild, PDM features are table stakes and our focus is on integrated project management. Because teams can easily view models directly on Bild, without having to load them into SolidWorks, Bild creates an inclusive environment where everyone comes together to view and review design and data. As collaborators and designers review designs, they can add feedback items directly on top of designs, associating feedback to not only a location in a design, but also to a specific revision of a design. This makes understanding and making decisions on feedback quick and intuitive. No more having to load up a design in SolidWorks, have to navigate to the specific location, somehow share it with everyone else, and then manage the feedback across another platform. With everything integrated in one platform, your designs and feedback live together.

Furthermore, Bild’s intuitive Kanban board allows teams to easily visualize and manage workflows across multiple feedback items. The board is an easy way to understand project status, effort levels needed, and simply navigate from start to finish. With advanced feedback properties, designers and collaborators can assign feedback to specific individuals. They can also set due dates, assign risk levels, and see statuses. To make information finding even faster, you can add #tags to feedback items, grouping them together so that you can see all relevant and necessary information together. Oh, by the way, everything we just described is also directly accessible on Bild’s SolidWorks plugin!

Working together on hardware has never been easier. Learn how Bild can drive process improvements and collaboration today! Book a demo to see collaboration in action.