It is generally accepted in industry and academia that trade-offs between functional design objectives are an inevitable factor in the development of mechanical systems. These trade-offs can have a large influence on the achievable robustness and performance of the final design, with many products only functioning in narrow sweet-spots between different objectives. As a result, the design process of multi- functional products can be prolonged when designers concurrently attempt to find sweet-spots between a number of potentially interdependent trade-offs. This paper will show that designers only have six different approaches available when attempting to manage a trade-off while trying to ensure robustness and a sufficient performance. These fall within one of three categories; accept, optimise, or redesign. Selecting the wrong approach, can result in consequences downstream which can be difficult to predict, amongst others a lack of robustness to geometric variation, constrained performance, and long development lead time. This points to a substantial potential in the synthesis of design methods that support the identification and management of trade-offs in early product development.