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A recurring nightmare in management of technology development projects is the role of integration in the development process. Engineers and other technical professionals often become so involved with the issues of development that they push the important integration function off to the last moment. It is a typical alligator and swamp dilemma – which comes first?
The solution to this problem is exactly the same as with all technical problems; hard work and good management. The difference is that the good manager plans for incremental integration as early as possible in the development cycle. Incremental in this sense means partial and continuing. Engineers will balk at this approach citing the need to solve the problem before packaging and applying it in a real-world scenario. That is, frankly, an invitation to overrun and many long nights and weekends. A basic design principle best summarizes the situation: Design for form, fit and function. Function follows form and fit and if you follow that simple order you will seldom fail.