In this article, we will explore the differences between Reverse Engineering and Forward Engineering.
In order to understand the differences, let's first take a step back and look into what Reverse Engineering is. In product development, Reverse Engineering is a process that a company goes through to understand how an existing product works. This process involves taking the product apart to see how it was manufactured, what materials were used, etc. Reverse Engineering allows a company to learn from their competitor's existing products which can lead to new product breakthroughs or cost savings by combining different products into one.
The opposite of Reverse Engineering would be Forward Engineering. Forward Engineering is when an engineer starts with desired performance characteristics and works backwards to design a product that can achieve those goals.
Reverse Engineering vs Forward Engineering is not always clearly defined because some projects are better suited for Reverse Engineering while others are better off using Forward Engineering. Let's take a look at an example where Reverse Engineering would be the best fit.
Let's assume that a fitness tracker company (TracerCo) has developed the newest piece of wearable technology, and they already have an established customer base. Since TracerCo is an established business in the industry, it is very likely that there are similar products on the market from their competitors.
In order to stay competitive in this market and provide future customers with the best product possible, TracerCo would be wise to Reverse Engineer their competitor's products. By doing this TracerCo can learn from the mistakes of other fitness trackers and integrate successful features into their own product.
This process can also provide valuable information about what works for future products they may make. For example, if they find most customers enjoy products with a certain display, then that can be something they look into incorporating into future designs.
Forward Engineering may not always give the best results because there is no established customer base to help determine what features are wanted/needed. Let's take the example of TracerCo and assume they have never released a product before or their products do not have the capabilities to use Reverse Engineering. In this situation, TracerCo can follow a Forward Engineering process to design their product. This could be done by focusing on integrating certain features that would be beneficial to customers and then determining how they should go about making those features a reality.
Now it is important to remember that not everything works best following one process over the other. Sometimes certain projects are better suited to use Forward Engineering while others may benefit from Reverse Engineering. Depending on what type of product or business someone is looking to succeed in will determine which process would be best.