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Hardware Development: Planning for Failure

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Joseph Steinman
Zebulon Solutions, Sr Mechanical Engineer
Lauren Hafford
Zebulon Solutions, Senior Mechanical Engineer

Lauren Hafford is a mechanical engineer with ten years of experience. Her experience ranges from structural sheet metal design on a large-scale solar daylighting product, to human-centered design on a water quality program in rural India. She was involved in the successful launch of several factory lines of new wind turbine blades, both in the US and in Europe.

Jenney Loper
Zebulon Solutions, Director of Operations

Jenney began in manufacturing at age 6 working in her father’s Boulder county machine shop.  After receiving her undergrad in Physics, she gained first-hand knowledge of the challenges of product design and how poor planning during the design phase can cause long-term and expensive impacts in production over the last 20 years.  In 2007, she launched JSL Solutions primarily as a sourcing agency, but after seeing the biggest needs of her clients were not aligned with the supplier relationships she had, she pivoted her firm in 2016 to provide project-based operations services to help start-up and young companies plan for manufacturing throughout the design process.  In 2019, JSL Solutions was acquired by Zebulon Solutions where Jenney serves as their Director of Operations, specializing in helping start-up companies build their operational business infrastructure for scalable growth.


It’s been said, “Hardware is hard.” There are obviously real challenges with component lead times, engineering resources, cash flow, and Murphy’s Law out to derail development at every turn, but can these difficulties be mitigated? Is “Murphy’s Law” actually due to a lack of defined requirements or foresight about what could go wrong?

In this session, two seasoned product development professionals will be looking at the hardware design cycle and how development risks can be mitigated through engineering analysis and testing during the early development phases. Attendees will walk away with ideas for how to approach their own physical product designs:

•How to effectively capture and communicate requirements

•How to uncover issues early to prevent late-state development derailments

•How to design in ‘hooks’ to more easily resolve late discovery of issues