top of page
  • Writer's pictureKenko Soluciones

Hardware design’s stakeholders

Welcome back to the Hardware corner. This time around will be talking about another important detail when it comes to PCB Design, especially when we’re working on a Design for Manufacturing (DFM) environment. Today’s topic is about the main stakeholders on a PCB Project, how to identify them and what are their roles in the development.

Let’s start naming our actors:

  • Project manager: This stakeholder manages the team’s resources

  • Electronic engineer: The stakeholder who uses their electrical design knowledge to create the circuitry needed for the project

  • Mechanical engineer: The mechanical engineer works to develop the constraints needed for the PCB layout as well as the interaction of the electronics with the exterior

  • PCB manufacturer: They take the requirements of the PCB copper board and make it according to their capabilities

  • Assembly manufacturer: The master of putting together the PCB with the highest yield and lowest cost

  • Test engineer: Working with the Electronic engineer they develop how to validate the critical functionalities of the PCB

  • Customer: The person for whom the PCB is being designed

  • PCB Designer: The actor who creates the layout of the PCB

Now that we know a bit of the stakeholders, let’s dwell more into their roles starting off with the Project Manager.


Before anything even begins, before even taking on the job of creating the PCB, we need to know the capabilities of the team to be able to be a part of the project. It may sound obvious, but we need to always assess the situation, and the person who prepares the material is the Project manager.

When it comes to PCB design the project manager becomes the bridge between the customer and the PCB designer, they take in requirements and translate them in a way both parties can understand each other, in order, to get to a common ground.

They also manage the resources required for the project that goes from the team’s members to the equipment required for the project to be finalized. They work through the whole work and make the effort to make the project effortless for their team.

And finally, the project manager evaluates the cost of the project. What’s the target value the customer needs and what’s achievable? This requires a comprehensive knowledge of the product and its interaction with the environment where it will be used, for example, if you need your device to be in the sun for a long period of time then the project manager has acquired knowledge from past projects, research, or through consultation to determine if the project target price it is possible if the material of the enclosure it is change.


On a team, the electronic engineer (EE) is the member who knows what makes a clock tick. They know the theory behind circuitry and normally are the ones with creative solutions to the customer’s issue. They apply their knowledge in electronics into choosing the components that will make up the project and how to intercommunicate them to make it work.

This stakeholder will take the project manager’s input regarding the customer’s requirements and transform them into definitions and technical specifications. This may result in a schematic diagram of the project or an input for the PCB Designer making them able to generate the required documents to create the PCB (For example the electronic engineer may create a block diagram of the required components).

And finally, the EE will work in tandem with the PCB designer while making the PCB giving and receiving, feedback on the layout and density of the board. This is an important, and a must, of PCB design because most issues with a manufactured board can be mitigated at this moment through IC replacement, component listing modifications, or placement planning.


This teammate works specifically on creating a model design of the product. They’re introduced to the team through the PM and are in constant work with the industrial design department (IE), they sometimes work on the project before the EE and the PCB designer are part of the project.

While the IE works on creating the concept of the product through experimentation with sizes, shapes, properties, textures. After the IE finishes with the proof of concept, the PM forwards the best option, taking into consideration all the customer’s requirements as well as the project’s requirements, to the Mechanical Engineer (ME).

The ME then chooses the best material for the product and the process with which the product will be made, this may need the addition of the EE and the PCB designer to get feedback on the electrical requirements of the product. And all this process finalizes with an input for the PCB designer: the PCB outline (Shape, size, and mechanical fixtures).

Once the PCB outline has been defined then the ME will start to work around the product’s enclosure adding features that the final user may need to interact with the product.


This stakeholder normally is not a part of the project’s team, usually, it is a third party which is specialized in board manufacturing and is well versed in PCB requirements. It is common that a company works with this side of the project, they have a representative that communicates with the engineering team of the project and the PCB suppliers.

The representative will become the bridge making sure all the questions get answered by getting technical guidance. For example, The PCB designer may need to answer questions regarding board materials, hole sizing, impedance matching, or stiffeners when working with flex boards. It’s the representative job to get the answers to these questions through technical support and define the limits, or capabilities, of the PCB manufacturing team.

The final output of this process is a bare board with which the engineering team can work as a prototype.


Experts at putting products together. Through experience and knowledge, they can choose the best way to join the components of the product with the highest yield at the lowest price.

Their inputs are the list of validated parts of the Bill of Materials. The assembly engineer will check for DFA (Design for Assembly) of said listing: price, availability, lead times, and review the components with the layout (package, shape, and fit).

Once the AME has finished their work, the engineering team will have the product ready for testing, or ready for selling depending on the project’s current state.


Although one would think this stakeholder only partake at the end, the Test Engineer (TE) is part of the design even before it gets to that point. How?

Well, working next to the EE they define which are the testing nodes or which are the nodes that carry the most critical information. They also work with the AME making, defining, the fixtures needed for the testing bed which is needed to audit the board the AME had assembled.

Therefore, the main job of the TE is to create an easy stepping stone for auditing, and testing, boards to mitigate possible issues that may occur during manufacturing, assembly, or while in action.


This stakeholder is to whom the product goes, this stakeholder could be internal (The company from where the engineering team is) or external (A customer acquiring a service). The customer in any case is the one who sets up the requirements for the project and is constantly working with the PM to solve questions regarding their concept of the project.

It is important to denote that a customer’s expectations of the project are: Quick response and solutions, low cost, and the highest quality. And as a key stakeholder should be enrolled during the whole process with information regarding the advances of the project.

The key is communication with this stakeholder.


And finally, the stakeholder whose role is designing the board of the project. We could go really in-depth of the whole process a PCB designer has to take to build a board from scratch but we’re tackling that topic on another blog, please look forward to it. In the meantime, we’re going to talk about their importance on the project.

Not only does the responsibility of designing the boards falls on the shoulders of the PCB designer, but they also need to be on constant communication with the other stakeholder we’ve seen so far. To achieve a correct workflow with the project the PCB designer must understand every input the other stakeholder is giving them, from preparing the audits the test engineer needs to develop to the limitations the ME needs to know when defining the board’s outline. They’re also responsible for the routing of the schematic design by the EE and taking into consideration the requirements of their PCB Manufacturer when making the routes.

A PCB designer will be the one giving the input for both the PCB manufacturer and the AME and we’ll have to scrub, audit, validate the archives that are given to them. The documentation a PCB Designer creates will affect every step of the way; therefore, they need to keep close attention to their work and ensure the customer’s product will be up to standard.


The main point throughout this whole blog, and we hope it is being addressed, is a good team will always have great communication throughout the whole project’s life, before and after deployment. It is important that we identify who are our stakeholders and how to treat our work with them, as well as the inputs we need from each of them. The team must work with an active strive to ensure the customer’s product is fulfilled.

While reading this post did you identify who are your stakeholders? If you haven’t, then take your time to evaluate your workflow and start assigning characters to your play. We hope this blog will help others to advance on their projects!


EMA Design Automation. (2018). The hitchhikers guide to PCB design. EMA Design Automation.

118 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page