Design Review Information Center

Table of Contents:
  • Motivation Guide - Costs & Benefits
  • Checklist Descriptions
  • Checklist Applicability
  • Checklist Timing
  • ISO 9001:2000 Procedure
  • Meeting Process
  • Bibliography
  • Reference Standards Bibliography
  • Checklist Procedure Pricing
  • Suggestions

    The Design Review Information Center [DRIC] is a knowledge center on the subject of Design Reviews, Software Reviews, Code Inspections, and other proactive management processes and tools whose purpose is to eliminate or to find and remove errors in product design as early as possible. The term "Design Reviews," in practice, covers the gammut of reviews starting early in the development process to those reviews that occur all the way up to product launch. GGI's definition of Design Reviews differs slightly from the general practice definition. GGI defines Design Reviews as "reviews of design that occur prior to physically building a product or compiling code" -- therefore Design Reviews are "reviews of design, not reviews of as-built." GGI separates reviews of physical product or compiled code and generally refers to those types of reviews as Control Reviews, or more classically, Quality Control Reviews. Control Reviews answer the question, "Does the as-built product conform to the specification," as such GGI's definition makes Design Reviews a proactive tool and Control Reviews a reactive tool. While some of the knowledge in this site is of a Control Review nature, the vast majority of information in this site is aimed at proactive Design Reviews.

    Design Reviews are traditional tools that have not lost their value over time. In fact, given ever shortening Product Life Cycles, the importance and economic value of Design Reviews is actually increasing. The earlier a design error can be discovered and corrected, the greater the ROI for the erring company.

    GGI has been assisting clients and customers for the past 20 years in implementing Design Reviews and Control Reviews. We have now taken this proprietary internal capability and productized it.

    The DRIC contains a number of free-of-charge references and information sources such as cost justification tools, books, articles, and standards organizations and references for your complimentary use. We also sell a number of tools including Procedures and Design Review templates for specific technical subject areas. All DRIC-related offerings are described within this site. To purchase any of the tools that we sell, please go to our GGI Wisdom iStore and click on "Design Reviews."

    Design Review - Costs & Benefits

    This Motivation Guide is about the costs and benefits of utilizing Design Reviews. The least expensive error to change in a design environment typically costs US$ 1,500 and can range as high as US$ 10,000 in industries with complex products. Worse yet, the costs cited in the previous sentence apply to errors discovered in the late stages of design. When a company is in the production ramp up phase or worse yet, after product launch, the costs can be 1000 times greater than the costs of errors discovered late in design. GGI's most expensive tool available through this site costs US$ 190. Therefore, it's only necessary to catch or avoid one error and there is a minimum five-time payback over the purchase cost of any tool available through this site. We believe we are offering some very valuable tools for very short money.

    Each of the content blocks below emphasizes different aspects as to why design reviews are important, or the costs that companies may face or incur as a result of not utilizing Design Review capabilities.

    Predictive Design Cost Saving Statistical Error
    Product Definition Cost Avoidance Estimating Accuracy
    Cost Reduction Learning Cycles Predictable Releases

    Design Review Checklist Descriptions

    The table below lists the currently offered Design Review Checklists and identifies some of the key attributes of each. The checklists for Product Definition and Strategic Design are useful early in the design cycle, when you save the maximum dollars for each identified product error. All other checklists can be used for design reviews early - prior to or for early prototypes - or later as control reviews - for late prototypes or a final product.

    Because we want you to save the maximum dollars, the checklists focus on helping you find the errors early. GGI does this by asking questions that (we believe) prompt developers and reviewers to think about the key design issues for each technical domain.

    By making the GGI checklist easy to implement, our intention is to help you unlock dollar savings by scheduling design reviews early and often. One implementation feature is their full ISO 9001:2000 compliance, to minimize documentation hassle. A second is compliance with accepted design-review processes, whether they be team-driven or independent-driven, comprehensive or focused, and formal or informal. Third, each checklist is an actionable to-do list, with clear outcomes and space for relevant comments. You will be able to take our initial template and add, delete, change, or move any of the Checklist line items in a completely intuitive manner and then update the Revision History, keeping your document ISO compliant at all times.

    Design reviews have the potential to save dollars and hassle for everyone touched by your products. We hope that you find these checklists useful.

    Click on each Domain to see a list of Categories covered in the Domain and a written description of each product.

    Guide to Design Review Checklist Descriptions

    Domain Category Topic Group Number of Checklist
    Item Entries
    Product Definition 5 0 0 35
    Strategic Design 6 0 0 41
    Illities Design 10 21 9 161
    Power Supply Design 5 1 0 40
    Mechanical Design 3 20 19 175
    Electronics - Analog 10 6 0 75
    Electronics - Digital 11 11 0 122
    Electro - Optics 14 5 0 92
    Software for OS & Apps 12 18 0 106
    Software for Embedded 11 16 2 134
    Totals 87 98 30 1,031

    *Figure is approximate. GGI is continuously updating and maintaining checklist line items.

    Design Review Checklist Applicability

    Certain Design Review checklists are more appropriate for certain industries. Certain Design Review checklists are more generally applicable and may serve many industries.

    The table below is a guideline to help you synthesize which checklist(s) may be most appropriate for your company and industry.

    Guide to Design Review Checklist Use by Various Industries


    Product Definition


    Strategic Design

    Ilities Design

    Power Supply Design

    Mechanical Design

    Electronics - Analog

    Electronics - Digital


    Software for OS & Apps

    Software for Embedded


    Design Review Checklist Timing

    Certain Design Review checklists are constructed to be of value earlier in Product Development in the more conceptual stages and others are constructed to be of value in later stages.

    The table below is a guideline to help you synthesize which checklists are most useful at given points in Product Development.

    Guide to Design Review Checklist Timing

    Domain During Concept, Product Definition & High-Level Design During Low-Level Design & Prior to Physical Prototype Outgoing Physical Prototype & Launch
    Product Definition
    Strategic Design
    Illities Design
    Power Supply Design
    Mechanical Design
    Electronics - Analog
    Electronics - Digital
    Electro - Optics
    Software for OS & Apps
    Software for Embedded

    Design Review Procedure

    There are many acceptable ways to define and document ISO procedures relating to design reviews. We have developed a written procedure that is ISO compliant and at the very least will serve as an editable template for you or your company. The procedure, like GGI's design reviews, is created and written in an MS Excel format. GGI has priced this editable procedure at $100.00. This procedure can be purchased at GGI's Wisdom iStore by clicking on this link: Design Review Procedure

    Design Review Process & Meetings

    Having a high quality design review checklist or template of items to review does not necessarily assure or insure a good design review. Having a certified ISO process does not assure or insure a good design review either. Having a meeting where everyone shows up on time and the meeting goes according to schedule similiarly provides little assurance.

    The degree to which the review process is binding, followed-up on, reported-back on, and the close-out of action items is of equal importance to a good quality checklist or template.

    A best practice design review process results when a team of peers that are not involved in the design of that product get briefed and then independently perform the design review with the team that is actually designing the product. Further, the action items assigned by the peer group are binding to the team designing the product. This is fairly obvious, but seldom followed.

    Best practice design review processes often break down within a year or two. This is often due to "selfishness" that is present in company cultures. Folks don't want to have to find the time to brief and review the work of others, nor do they wish to have other peer groups review their projects. This behavior often manifests itself by complaining there are too many meetings and not having enough time to do one's own work. Management eventually wears down and teams end up reviewing themselves.

    When teams review themselves, it is analogous to having the Quality function report into the Manufacturing function. When push comes to shove, the majority of the time Quality takes a back seat so period shipment goals can be met and issues are left to others to resolve after the shipment is delivered to the customer. In an analogous manner for product design teams, issues are often overlooked and the product is transitioned to manufacturing. The issues may be discovered by manufacturing if they are process-related. If the issues are product performance-related, the customer is typically the first one to discover the issue.

    The publishing industry does not allow authors to final-proof their writings because they are too close to the subject to detect some grammatical errors and/or the clarity of their message. This has been the case for centuries. Why then do companies, more often than not, let product design teams police their own designs and documentation? Some independence of reviewers is advised during a design review, and certainly across a group of design reviews for a product.

    Additional information on design review meeting processes may be found by downloading this older but still relevant article published in Design News Magazine in 1996, Implement Design Reviews The Right Way.

    Design Review Bibliography

    Behind each of the icons below are a list of references that may be of use to you or your company as you work to improve your design review process. The references listed are fairly complete but by no means exhaustive. If you are aware of additional high-quality reference materials, we would love to get an email from you so we can include it in this bibliography.

    General Product Review Design Review Software-Only
    Articles Books Articles Books Articles Books

    Design Review Design Standards References

    Behind each of the icons below are selected referencable industry standards that may be of use to you or your company as you work to improve your design review process. Please remember that standards are constantly being changed or updated. If you are aware of any more recent versions of any of the standards listed, we would love to get an email from you so that we can update the bibliography.

    Design Review Checklist & Procedure Pricing

    Packaging Of Design Review Checklists & Procedures

    All Checklists come in MS Excel Format and are distributed in .xlsx format. Our Procedure(s) are also packaged in the same manner.

    Pricing For Design Review Checklists & Procedures

    The chart below shows GGI's "generic" description of of how we offer the various Design Reviews and Procedures.  To see the complete list of Design Review Checklists and Procedures, along the different groupings and bundlings we offer, or to purchase any of these tools, please visit the GGI Wisdom iStore.

    DRP01 Design Review Document US$ 100
    DR_ _ Any Single Design Review Checklist US$ 190
    DR02_ _ _ Two Design Review Checklists Pak* US$ 285
    DR05_ _ _ Five Design Review Checklists Pak* US$ 570
    DR10_ _ _ Ten Design Review Checklists Pak* US$ 950

    *A "Checklists Pak" is a bundling of two or more individual Design Review templates that have a close logical or technical relationship. For instance, one of the "Paks" GGI offers includes the "Mechanical Design" Checklist and "Ilities Design" Checklist. The Mechanical Design Checklist focuses on designing the product to achieve the specification of the product, while the Ilities Design Checklist focuses on designing the product to achieve manufacturability, testability, serviceability, and the other necessary "ilities." A robust design cannot be achieved without both tools. We have also bundled a number of Power-Electrical-Electronic Design Checklists into a Pak. The same applies for Operating Systems-Applications-Embedded Software Design Checklists which are also offered as a Pak.

    Design Review Suggestions

    If you would like to share your thoughts with us on any aspect of Design Review processes and tools, we would appreciate the opportunity to hear your thoughts. If you have questions, we will do our best to try and answer them. Please send all correspondence regarding Design Reviews to the Design Review Mogul via email at

    Product Design Review