The most difficult aspect of being on a multidisciplinary team is the fact that you don’t always speak each other’s language. Communication can be a problem. All of us are so immersed in what we do that we know what we need and our limitations. If we knew that the people we were working with didn’t understand those limitations, we would gladly explain them. However, it doesn’t become clear that there’s been a miscommuncation or lack of communication until we’re looking at a project and asking why the person didn’t do things a different way.
From my perspective, it’s a bit difficult to do modeling and then hand my work to someone who will make the thing I’ve modeled. Often, the way I’ve designed the model isn’t exactly the way the object needs to be built. Then the question is whether the model is a sufficient representation of the device. I fear the day that I come up with a model that we simply cannot build (unless we can come up with some sort of quantum mechanical material that behaves like a normal material but isn’t constrained by the Pauli exclusion principle).
There is also the issue of what data I need to analyze our device. I’m not always clear on what we can and cannot measure. (It’s those damn laws of physics again.) Or maybe there’s a better way to analyze something that I’m not aware of. But this doesn’t come out until someone has taken measurements and I find out that they aren’t what I thought they were. Or I find out that I wasn’t as clear about what I wanted as I thought I was, and they measured something different. And, of course, in order to take the right measurements, we essentially have to start over.
I think this is where it becomes very important to get along with others in your team. These type of misunderstandings can happen frequently when you’re working with people who are from very different backgrounds. If you have issues with them, these sorts of things can really make them fester. If you get along well, it’s easy to see that it was simply a lack of communication. Not everyone speaks the same dialect of engineer.