Information Hiding in Product Development: The Design Churn Effect
Author(s)Yassine, Ali; Eppinger, Steven D.; Whitney, Daniel; Braha, Dan; Joglekar, Nitin
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Execution of a complex product development project is facilitated through its decomposition into an interrelated set of localized development tasks. When a local task is completed, its output is integrated through an iterative cycle of system-wide integration activities. Integration is often accompanied by inadvertent information hiding due to the asynchronous information exchanges. We show that information hiding leads to persistent recurrence of problems (termed as the design churn effect) such that progress oscillates between being on schedule and falling behind. The oscillatory nature of the PD process confounds progress measurement and makes it difficult to judge whether the project is on schedule or slipping. We develop a dynamic model of work transformation to derive conditions under which churn is observed as an unintended consequence of information hiding due to local and system task decomposition. We illustrate these conditions with a case example from an automotive development project and discuss strategies to mitigate design churn.
MIT Sloan School of Management Working Paper;4333-02
Information Hiding, Component and System Performance Generation, Product Development, Decomposition and Integration, Design Process Modeling, Design Churn