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Auditing

Design Reviews and Auditing

Many companies are realising the benefits of conducting design reviews and audits to help reduce design cycle times. Auditing can be held at each major stage of the development process and the aim to ensure the design is fit to continue to the next stage. The cost benefit from auditing is gained by both reducing the number of design errors and by finding the errors earlier.

A good review process can give the following advantages :

  • Faster to market times and lower design costs through early error detection and less prototype iterations.
  • Less bugs in the field.
  • Easier compliance with quality standards.
  • Better design documentation

Problems with Design Reviews

Unfortunately the review process has some significant downs. To be useful a review has to be prepared for. Both the reviewer and reviewee should spend time preparing the documentation to be be reviewed. This can be time consuming and unless the process is seen to run smoothly and provide benefits, there will always be something else more important to do.
Unfortunately the process can run anything but smoothly. A number of problems can occur that require careful handling, here are some of the common downfalls :

  • The reviewer uses the review as an opportunity to show his superior knowledge.
  • The design is critised because its ” not done like that here”.
  • The designer is sensitive to critisms of the design.
  • The designer and the reviewer have a “history”.
  • The reviewer uses the review to implement a re-design.
  • The review is curtailled because some more important comes along.
  • The choice of the reviewer is critical to the quality of the outcome.

So how can we help ?

We provide an experience reviewer, who has been through the rough and the smooth of the design process. A reviewer who has been through the review mill on many occasions on both sides of the fence.
Because our independence, we have no axe to grind over implementation methods. Our aim is to make the review a useful and pleasant experience for all concerned. Most of the review work will take place off site and without calling on your resources. We will provide a report outlining any problems or weaknesses found in the design. We can tailor the review to suit the occasion, from a few hours for a small simple design to several days work for a larger complex piece of work. We will check the design meets good design practices and is fit to proceed down the design chain.

Areas Of expertise

The areas we have review expertise in are as follows :

  • High speed digital and mixed signal electronic design.
  • Embedded microprocessor design.
  • CPLD design.
  • FPGA design.
  • PCB layout and design.
  • Interface standards.
  • EMC and compliance issues.
  • Specification documentation.

What do you get?

  • A report on the quality state of the design.
  • A list of items found which are considered sub optimal, each with a recommended remedial action and a priority rating.
  • Recommendations on changes to internal policy to help improve design standards.
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