Shift Left & Product Development

Aaron.Magnin April 13, 2017 3 min read

How many of you have heard of the old adage of ‘test early and often’. If not, you’ve probably heard it’s relative of ‘save early and often’, and I don’t mean that in context to retirement planning –not the time or place! The latter is something I used to say ALL the time as a way to avoid data loss due to crashes, in a different software. While I don’t stress it quite as much anymore thanks to Fusion 360’s effective recovery abilities, the takeaway from both of these is easy to understand: if you test/save early, you can likely avoid costly rework & data-loss.


However, that’s the older mindset. First of all, with a lot of cloud tools you don’t even have ‘save’ buttons because each change is captured instantly (think Google Docs); but there has also been a shift in importance. If you look at the maxim ‘test early and often’, and shift your focus on the left portion, you have ‘test early’…and now you know where the name comes from!


Software development teams have been using this laser focus on testing early to great effect. By putting the focus on testing early, they’ve capitalized on a wide array of benefits in all stages of development. In short, this approach helps them root out issues before bugs are deeply ingrained in miles-and-miles of software code.


This isn’t to say that they don’t still ‘test often’, but the focus of testing early helps ensure the tests run are done at stages where there’s less complexity. The reason I’m telling you all of this is probably already abundantly clear: the same approach can -and should- be used this when designing physical products in Fusion 360.


This might not be a news to you either; industry trends point to simulation being adopted upfront and concurrently with the flow of design through early stages. This is because it’s widely known that the cost to fail early in a virtual environment, is far less expensive than failing later with a physical product; notwithstanding the immeasurable cost a failure in the field can have on brand and reputation.


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Analogies are pervasive across more than just form, fit, and FEA. Fabrication is another area where virtually testing early can help avoid delays costly delays. Any machinists can tell you how often projects can be seriously delayed when a near completed design includes a part that’s impossible (or difficult) to make. Clashes and collisions within the CAM simulations in Fusion 360 provide valuable insight for designers, whether or not the part is fabricated in house. In the event the fabrication is contracted, a single CAM simulation can significantly reduce the back-and-forth communication related to subsequent design changes, but let’s not overlook the ease of live-review and sharelinks with markups.


We hope you’re able to leverage the powerful CAM and Simulation capabilities to test early in your next project. If you can avoid one mistake, make one less prototype, or deliver your next project a week earlier, the value of Fusion 360’s integrated development capabilities will truly shine.





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