Patterns of Product Development Interactions
Author(s)Eppinger, Steven D.
Development of complex products and large systems is a highly interactive social process involving hundreds of people designing thousands of interrelated components and making millions of coupled decisions. Nevertheless, in the research summarized by this paper, we have created methods to study the development process, identify its underlying structures, and critique its operation. In this article, we introduce three views of product development complexity: a process view, a product view, and an organization view. We are able to learn about the complex social phenomenon of product development by studying the patterns of interaction across the decomposed elements within each view. We also compare the alignment of the interaction patterns between the product, process, and organization domains. We then propose metrics of product development complexity by studying and comparing these interaction patterns. Finally, we develop hypotheses regarding the patterns of product development interactions, which will be helpful to guide future research.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division
ESD Working Papers;ESD-WP-2003-01.05-ESD Internal Symposium