Communication is an essential part of any successful team, but this is especially true for PCB design teams. In order to turn out a completed circuit board that operates as it should, your entire team needs to be on the same page. If you think your PCB design team is struggling with communication, here are some things you can do to improve.
Set Clear Tasks and Responsibilities
First, you should make sure everyone on your team knows what their responsibilities are. These should be clearly defined so that nothing falls through the cracks or no one ends up working on the same thing. The best time to set assigned tasks is at the start of the project, but you should also check in with the team regularly to make sure everyone is sticking to their assigned roles.
Have the Right Technology
To communicate effectively in these modern times it’s essential that you have the right technology on your side. This means two things. First, you want to have technology that makes it easier for your team members to talk to one another. You should look for communication apps that will allow your team members to chat quickly, share files, and provide updates on the status of their assigned tasks. Relying solely on emails and phone calls will make it hard for everyone to remain on the same page, so upgrade your tech if it’s lacking.
The second thing you’ll want is a good PCB viewer. Getting something like the Altium layout viewer will make it easier for everyone on the team to open various finds of PCB files. If your team has to deal with different files types all the time, you’ll want something that can handle them all, rather than getting different products for each file type.
Conduct Team Building Exercises
Team building exercises are a good way to get your team members more comfortable with one another. This is important because when a team feels comfortable, they are more likely to communicate. Team building exercises are not only great for improving communication, but for boosting morale and making work more fun. Consider taking the entire team out for an activity one day, such as an escape room. Or schedule little events within the office where team members can mingle and relax. Here are some other options for team building events if you need help generating ideas.
Create a Communication Plan
A good way to ensure strong communication amongst your team is by creating a communication plan. A communication plan lays out how, where and when your team will communicate each facet of the project. For example, your communication plan might say that you’ll have weekly check-in meetings Monday morning or that all quick questions should go through Slack. You essentially want to plan out every way in which your team could communicate and how they should do it. This will leave no grey area when your team members are trying to decide how they should communicate with another member.
For larger teams you should consider delegating some of the leadership tasks. Rather than having one central person at the top – you – you can have leaders below you that handle their own smaller teams. Giving others responsibility will make them more likely to stay within your company, take some of the load off of your own shoulders, and improve communication throughout. Find some strong leaders within your team and start giving them some more responsibility to see how it goes.
Ask for Feedback
Finally, to improve your PCD design team’s communication you should ask for regular feedback. What areas do the team members think need improving? How would they prefer to communicate? What could you be doing better? You won’t always have the best answers, but by keeping an open line with your team members you can gain some insight into how you can improve. Find a way to regularly gather feedback – such as at team meetings or even a small suggestions box – then start considering their feedback.
Work on Your Communication
Having a successful PCB design team is all about communication. If you don’t properly communicate you may find that your circuit boards are not turning out they way you would like, or that they are taking longer to complete than you anticipated. Take some time to study your teams current communication style, then consider the options above. Hopefully you will find at least one or two strategies that you can implement and improve the communication between your team going forward.