This post will look at the distinctions between Reverse Engineering and Reengineering in product development.
Reverse engineering is understanding how something works by taking it apart and looking at it; you can do this with products, machines, systems, or software. It can be done to fix something or to see how it works. Competitors also do it to make their version of a product.
Reengineering understands how something should work, taking apart what works and creating something new based on the original design. Reengineering can refer to both products or processes.
By understanding the difference between the two, you can see how one is fixing what currently exists, and the other is creating something new.
Reverse Engineering Defined
That process is called reverse engineering when taking apart a product to understand how it works for any purpose. Reverse engineering varies in scale; it could be as small as taking apart an electronic item to understand its components or taking apart a more extensive system of sub-systems to know how they are interconnected. The purpose of reverse engineering could be for any application, whether it's for service, repairs, upgrades or just an understanding of the object.
As mentioned above, reengineering can refer to both products and processes. In product development, reengineering is taking apart a current approach or system to understand how it works and then building a new system that delivers more effective results. Reengineering refers to all types of systems: organizational structures, business models, and commercial processes, and is often used as a management term.
What is the main difference between reverse engineering and reengineering?
The main difference is that reverse engineering is done in a controlled environment and for a specific reason. You may be expecting a service call or simply trying to understand how something works. On the other hand, reengineering may be used with re-purposed parts from an existing system to build new ideas, concepts, designs, and techniques. You are not controlling the process or environment. You are looking to improve purpose, not understand how it all came together.
Using this information can help you plan your product development project better. For example, if you want to take apart existing systems and create new ones, reengineering would be most beneficial. Reverse engineering is best used when you need to understand something complex and use that understanding to improve it or repair what is already there.