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Planning Product Development

Product
Dev Processes
Deadlines
Internal Communication
Collaboration

19 June, 2018

Amandeep Midha
Amandeep Midha

Principal IT Consultant at BEC

Amandeep Midha talks about questioning design plans and using blueprints or plan to work out how a product will work.

Problem

I currently work as the VP of Engineering for a company called Ernit. However, I was the first technical person to join the company. The company's founders had decided to work on an IoT device and drew up with a local technical university. The device reflected what was there in the balance and all the communications manuals stated that if the device wanted to update it would tell the balance that you pressed the update button. However, nobody had written a single line of code for the device to communicate back to the servers.

Actions taken

There was even a Kickstarter campaign for this product with a clear specification for the product. I decided I needed to question what the protocol for the message back from the device to the servers was, as I hadn't seen that code anywhere. I also asked the founders for a blueprint of which block is communicating to which block with a directional arrow. Once the problem was recognized, we were able to come up with a solution - the device would ask the server for updates every six seconds. This helped us to survive shipping the product in the Kickstarter phase.

Lessons learned

Even if people aren't technical they should be able to provide blueprints with flows showing where information is flowing from and to. If your information is going one way, never just assume that information is flowing in the other direction.

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