The “Right the First Time” Principle

No engineer plans to make a wrong decision.

Product development, however, is a highly constrained endeavor. Products must be designed on a specific schedule. Engineers have to take company-wide considerations into account. Products are only getting more complex in terms of mechatronics. It’s surprising that more mistakes aren’t made when designing products. To counter all of these issues and more, some engineering organizations are undergoing explicit efforts to make design decisions right the first time.

Defining the “Right the First Time” Principle

The goal behind the “Right the First Time” principle is to minimize the number of product issues that get past design release and cause rework, scrap and change orders, leading to displeased customers. To do so, the “Right the First Time” principle encompasses practices that allow engineers to perform more due diligence and validate their design decisions. This includes both digitally and physically prototyping designs in faster and more iterative cycles.

Challenges addressed by the “Right the First Time” Principle

Unlike the other initiatives covered in this section of the website, the “Right the First Time” principle addresses a single trend challenge. However, this principle can have a larger impact on the throughput of the engineering organization than any other initiative.

Table 5: Challenges addressed by the Right the First Time Principle


Challenge Addressed

Advantage Provided

The Increasing Volatility of Engineering WorkEngineering managers must find a way to minimize disruptive design rework.By enabling more due diligence and validation of design decisions before design release, the amount of design rework for the engineering organization shrinks. That, in turn, minimizes the number of disruptive fire drills for engineers.

Steps to pursue the “Right the First Time” Principle

  • To implement the “Right the First Time” principle, time must be earmarked in the schedule to accommodate engineers’ due diligence and validation of their decisions, whether using digital prototyping, physical prototyping, or accessing the right information. In some cases, procedures may need to be developed to verify those decisions.

The development of routed electrical systems remains an obstacle for companies exploring IoT technology. These systems play a critical role in smart, connected products, but many don’t see them as a priority. 

Harness Design: A Critical Path delves into why this is such an important issue, and we’ll provide a free copy when you sign up for our newsletter.


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