Time to Co-Opt Co-Design?

In recent conversations, I’m hearing designers say they are spending enormous amounts of time in meetings. These comments tend to come from folks who work for larger OEMs or ODMs and work on teams spread around the globe.

Certainly there is something appealing to upper management about follow-the-sun design. It maximizes time resources and leverages both the lower labor cost regions of the Pacific Rim and the experienced hands in the West.

But whereas the old model of vertically oriented design and manufacturing had its warts, if designers are getting hung up all day in meetings, as opposed to spending time routing boards, one begins to wonder whether the follow-the-sun model has been taken too far. There’s nothing process-oriented about commiserating with a manufacturing engineer over lunch in the cafeteria, but there is something to be said for being able to talk things over as they occur, rather than being holed up in never-ending CYA sessions.

Is round-the-clock design actually a drag on efficiency and productivity?