At 08:51 AM 4/20/2002 +1200, Simon Peacock wrote:
>your best bet is to do a round the world processing.. that way the board can
>be worked on 24 hours a day by people in different time zones :) .. but
>expect to pay through the nose :)

I did this with a job which was more complex than what Mr. Robison needs; 
essentially it was a list of changes to be implemented on a PCB. I and 
another designer traded off the file, so we were working sequentially: I 
was in the U.S. and he was in New Zealand. In fact, it was Mr. Peacock....

Without breaking a sweat, the two of us put 15 hours a day into the job, 
and there was no inefficiency. The client did pay a little extra for the 
rush, but not much.

With Mr. Robison's job, however, much of the work could be done in 
parallel; as I mentioned, the job of copying layers one at a time can 
easily be split up. So it does not need to be done in different time zones 
or on different shifts. But it still could be done that way....

The work of making and placing footprints as needed, plus the outline and 
all the vias, would necessarily be done either by one person or by persons 
working sequentially, trading the file back and forth. This part of the job 
would benefit by what I called ping-ponging.

In general, my business benefits from having accessible contractors in 
differing time zones; we can provide fast-turn without burning anyone out. 
Mostly this involves one designer working on one job while another works on 
another, but whenever there is a great rush on a single job, the design 
muscle is available.

(Certain aspects of design can readily be split up: making footprints, for 
example, can be done by another while the first designer is completing the 

Placement would ideally be done by one designer, because it is helpful to 
be working from an overall vision, relatively difficult to communicate; but 
even this, though could be done sequentially (ping-ponged) with some loss 
of efficiency; i.e., one would be trading increased cost -- total hours 
invested -- in favor of faster delivery. My clients would prefer that 

But some kinds of design division do not increase cost at all. Designers 
tend not to do it for several reasons:

(1) independent designers can be very reluctant to let go of part of their 
work. Not only can there be quality concerns but the designer could be 
giving up part of his or her income. Independent designers tend to work 
feast-and-famine, and when one has the work, one really needs the income, 
even though it means burning the midnight oil. It's a vicious circle, a 
trap, one which I am *very* grateful to have escaped.

(2) In-house designers generally don't have the resources, i.e., trusted 
designers in other time zones, or other available designers in-house on 
other shifts or free to work in parallel.

(3) we are just plain accustomed to working alone...

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax
PCB design, consulting, and training
Protel EDA license resales
Easthampton, Massachusetts, USA
(413) 527-3881, efax (419) 730-4777

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