Without an engineering team, your product will not be able to leave the drawing board and become a tangible, commercial product. You may not have access to your own in-house engineering team or if you do, they may be over capacity and not able to focus on your product to make it a success. Therefore, outsourcing to an engineering team is likely your best option. Finding the best engineering team for your project can be a challenge so here are five items to keep in mind when looking for that perfect match.

  1. Personality

    It’s no secret that engineers have a bit of a reputation when it comes to their personality type. They are often stereotyped as being introverted and difficult to work with. When searching for an engineering team, you want to find one that goes against that reputation.

    When an engineering team is personable, they will listen and express that they understand you, your team, and your project. You want them to be compatible with your team and to show that they care about the outcome of the project. Their personality will shine through in their ability to communicate and to read between the lines. When you ask a question, they don’t just answer it at face value, but they fully understand the reasoning behind the question, and answer accordingly. This ability decreases the likelihood of miscommunication. In simpler terms, you need to find an engineering team with a healthy balance of EQ and IQ.

  2. Engineering Skills

    This is an obvious one, but ensure your engineering team is educated and savvy in the work they do. Ask about how they would handle various engineering dilemmas that you have encountered in the past. No matter how prepared your project may be, obstacles always arise. You will want an engineering team that has excellent problem solvers with inquisitive minds to anticipate and resolve issues in a timely manner before they affect the project as a whole.

    It is also important to remember that there are different types of engineering and not all engineering work overlaps. If you have a project that requires electrical engineering, don’t interview a mechanical engineering firm. In addition, the team that is involved with your product’s hardware and mechanical design should be well-versed in DFM (design for manufacturing) so that your product can be manufactured efficiently and cost-effectively.

    Aside from their specialty, take a look at the type of companies they have worked with: small vs. large, private vs public, etc. The more research you do, the better chance you have of finding the engineering team that is perfect for your project.

  3. Ability to Keep a Schedule

    The importance of sticking to timelines cannot be stressed enough! If you need a project done in one year, make sure your engineers can make it happen. Work with the team to determine what a realistic timeline for your type of project is – your timeline may not be feasible for any engineering firm.

    If possible, check the team’s track record with other projects they have worked on. If it seems they have projects that go beyond the initial quoted timeframe – inquire to know why. There usually is more to the project, such as additional features, that weren’t initially accounted for. Or, you may discover that they overpromise and don't typically deliver.Keeping to a schedule is a simple point, but truly one of the most important in ensuring your project stays on track.

  4. Work Ethic

    Work ethic is important in any job, and that is no different for engineering. When searching for an engineering team to bring your project to culmination, you need to determine that they have an incredibly strong work ethic. In addition, you want to know that they enjoy their jobs and come to the office excited to work on your project. Work ethic is stronger in those who care about the projects they are involved with. When trusting someone to create your product, why would you want anything less than the best effort?

    Work ethic is stronger in those who care about the projects they are involved with.

  5. Your Intuition

    It’s simple, but just as important as the rest. After all, YOU are the one creating the project, YOU are the one working to bring it to life, and YOU are the one meeting with engineering teams to determine who is best fit for the task. Meet with the engineering firm, have your team meet with them, and discuss your thoughts together. The thoughts of both you and your team are invaluable. Use your intuition, listen to everyone’s concerns and test the compatibility between everyone. Your intuition is an incredibly powerful tool that needs to be used here.

Finding the right engineering team to bring your project to life can be a challenge. It is not something that you can just decide on a whim. It takes time and patience. If you remember these five key points when hiring an engineering team, your project, and your timeline, will ultimately be a success.

5 things to consider when outsourcing your engineering

Date first published: 17 Oct 2018