Electronic Product Requirements Guide
Once a product concept has gone through the high-level System Architecture development and System Design specifics, the next step is to determine all possible requirements of the product. While thoughtfully considering each of the following details, questions or problems may surface giving the opportunity to avoid time-consuming setbacks later in the development process. The following ten steps will guide you through the process of collecting your product’s requirements.
First is to list the product objectives. These often include such items as:
- Form factor (physical look, shape, touch, and feel)
- Fit (how it assembles or attaches to other assemblies)
- Function (what it does)
- Target bill of materials cost
- Power consumption
- Heat dissipation
Second, discuss concept and alternative trade-offs such as size, weight, power, cost, second sourcing, upgrade path, tool costs, complexity, risk, testability, and manufacturability.
Third, specify the required use cases and possible future use cases. Detail the functionality of the device and how it will be used in a variety of scenarios, how it will interact with users, a contextual environment, host devices, etc.
Fourth, describe the user interface: buttons, displays, commands, prompts, and messages. Where appropriate, use pictures. State diagrams or menu trees are useful for describing system navigation.
Fifth, identify the external interfaces and define each interface between the project and other systems, specifying the physical interface, communication media, protocol, file formats, etc.
Sixth, list the performance requirements including the measurement criteria, such as:
- Memory Size
- Power consumption
- Sleep state
- Idle state
- Active states
- Output Power
- Range of operation
- Noise Immunity
- Special Timing Characteristics
- FCC and UL qualified
- Other Regulatory Qualifications
Seventh, include any applicable studies or white papers.
Eighth, list components that may require special attention and add cost to the design. These may include ASIC, FPGA, Analog IC, MMIC, Custom display interfaces, Custom antenna design, Tooling, and Test Fixtures.
Ninth, specify the environmental and physical constraints such as size, weight, power, materials, operational environment conditions, and storage environment conditions.
Lastly, describe the design for X criteria. For example, the system is to be designed for the following:
- Signal and Noise
- Transient Conditions
- Steady-state Conditions
- FCC Qualification
- UL/CE/CSA/ETL/RoHS/International Qualification
- Fault Tolerance
- Power Management
- Radiation Hardening
- Volume Manufacturability
The delineation of requirements for the developing product enables clear and concise details needed to advance forward into the prototype stage.
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