“One of the important benefits of being a Design manager at Haughton Design is that I get the chance to continue designing myself and not solely managing others.”

This week, Design Manager, Mark shares what attracted him to design & engineering, a typical work week and the biggest challenges he faces in his role as well as insight into the tools he uses to plan activities and adhere to schedule with adjustment to periods of remote working over the past year.

What attracted you to design & engineering and what was the pathway to your role?

With a family background in design and engineering, I was influenced from a young age and as a child I was always keen on taking things apart to see what was inside! At design college, I specialised in product design, and then went on to Staffordshire University to study Product Design in 1998. Always looking to learn something new, I have worked in new product development in a number of different industries, gaining valuable experience in a range of design and manufacturing environments.

What does a typical work week look like for you?

Starting on a Monday morning, I lead the team meeting where I run through current live projects with each team member, to get a quick 1-2 minute update on the project status against the planned deliverables & timeframes and understand where help may be needed. The rest of the week is taken up with management and client meetings, as well as brainstorm sessions and design reviews to help solve design challenges. Throughout the week, I’ll keep track of workloads to ensure we have sufficient resource and a good balance for each member of the team. I’ll often also manage my own projects, which gives me the chance to actively use HD’s systems & protocols as well as keep my own CAD skills up to date!

Medical Design Manager, Mark

What do you enjoy about being a Design Manager at HD?

It’s great to be able to get involved with a variety of medical device and product design projects as well as draw upon my own experiences to offer the team advice. Having an input into progressing the company and systems is also a rewarding part. One of the important benefits for me of being a manager at Haughton Design is that I get the chance to continue designing myself and not solely managing others. HD has a talented team of design engineers and there is always something to learn from them too!

What are the biggest challenges you face in your role as a design manager?

The biggest challenge is probably flattening the ups and downs of consultancy workloads and keeping everyone involved with projects that optimise their skillsets and that they enjoy too.

What tools do you use to plan your activities and adhere to schedule?

About a year ago, I developed a resource planning tool that shows the available design time across the team each week. This then has the quoted hours for each project entered into the plan in a Gantt format.  It allows us to easily keep track of workloads and foresee highs and lows in resource in the coming weeks, as well as keep track of project due dates and factoring in expected future orders where work has been quoted. It also gives the team some guidance on how many hours per week they would need to spend on a project to meet the deadline of a stage and keep within the time budget.

On an individual project level, other than Gantt charts, the project management tool I find most useful is an action log, where any tasks can be tracked through to completion.

Remote working has become the new ‘normal’ – How have you found managing the team and projects at HD over the past year?

Last year was certainly a challenge and one we overcame through a daily morning catch up with the whole team using Microsoft Teams. A problem that would have been much greater say just 5-10 years ago! This was luckily an application we’d been using prior to lockdown so it was a fairly seamless transition for us. We’ve now reached a good balance of 3 days in the office and 2 days from home, which gives us the chance to more effectively spot problems earlier on, hold brainstorm sessions, collaborate on projects and review prototypes together.

Please get in touch to find out more about working with Mark and the team at HD to solve your product and medical device design and engineering challenges.

Mark Heynes 3 June 2021

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Get in Touch with Mark Heynes

Design Manager

Mark has worked in new product development for almost 15 years. Graduating in Product Design from Staffordshire University and designing for the medical, healthcare, building products and automotive sectors, Mark uses this experience to manage the design team, ensuring project resource is well planned and design outputs meet high standards. Outside of work, he spends time with his family and practicing karate. Currently a 4th Dan with over 30 years training, Mark has the same dedicated approach to karate and design.

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