This is a term coined by my partner (Dan Jr.) to describe our unique design approach. In the beginning of my carrier as an engineer we contracted a number of machines for automation. Typically, we would have a meeting to discuss our needs and the contractor and they would go back to their office to create a quote. They may call a few times for clarification and then they would return with a quote. We would discuss what they were going …to build and if all looked good they would get an order and build the machine. It seemed at every instance what we got was lacking in one way or another. Typically, what followed was a push and shove with the contractor, they would make a few changes and eventually we would live with what we got. The problem wasn’t that the contractor didn’t want to deliver what we wanted, but rather the process. We made every attempt to fully explain our requirements and the contractors made every effort to understand them. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to think of every possible issue that may arise and the contractor will by human nature hear what you are saying in terms of what they have done in the past. The contractor based their cost on what they understood our requirements were. They only had what we told them and didn’t understand the process as we did. They may have built in some contingency for surprises, but not enough to make drastic changes. It didn’t take long until we decided it was in our best interest to build our one machines. After all, who understood our requirements better than us.
“Micro-Iterative Collaboration” is a process I developed through over 30 years designing product and machinery. In the process we make every effort to involve the client in the design process. After all they are the true subject experts. This is usually accomplished using multiple methods depending on the complexity of the project. It may be through emailing concepts, a series of meetings, and/or both during the design process. By bringing the client into the design process early things that might have been overlooked during the initial disclosure can be dealt with before the design is completed. In some cases, they will change the scope and require adjusting the overall cost of the project. But, the sooner they are discovered the less the impact if any. It also helps the client understand how it effects the process and many times the effect on the overall cost of the project can be mitigated. The flip-side of this is there are also occasions where we are over-designing to a standard that is not required and this effects the overall cost of the project in a positive manor. The overall goal of the process is to give the client exactly what they expect by allowing them to make key decisions when it comes to weighing cost benefit.