How to support the appropriate method selection in design-technology-convergence?
Authors: Florian Reichelt, Daniel Holder, Paulina Bosch, Thomas Maier
Abstract: Technical products have an increasing variety of functions. This leads, on the one hand, to a continuously increasing product complexity. On the other hand, the actual development work also becomes more complex. Due to this fact, interdisciplinary and flexible development is becoming essential to maintain competitiveness. Project managers are increasingly confronted with major decisions. They range from fundamental product decisions to the selection of suitable method support. In order to be able to make adequate decisions in this volatile and complex development environment, valid basis and support for decision-making are required. The aim of this contribution is, in the special context of the so-called design-technology convergence, i.e., the early stages of product development (PD), to provide both a possibility for determining and evaluating the project-status and a support for the selection of adequate development methods.METHODSOur investigation is divided into two core areas: On the one hand, Key-Performance-Indicators (KPIs) for the general tracking of the development project, especially in the convergence between design and technology development are investigated. On the other hand, we focused on other indicators for the selection of development methods.In a first step, a systematic literature review was conducted. Subsequently, known development methods and KPIs were analyzed regarding their suitability for application as indicators for method choice. Based on this fundamental consideration, interviews with experts in the field of design-technique-convergence (D-T-C) were conducted to extract process-typical indicators. Based on the research, the analysis as well as the results of the interviews, a first approach is derived how a decision support for the use of methods in a development project can be realized.RESULTSIt is apparent that product complexity is currently the main topic in the literature. This consists of various objectively describable factors and is directly correlated with development complexity. First research tries to make this development complexity manageable by organizational ways, like capacity-planning-tools. The possibility over purposeful and situational method selection to handle the complexity with the development is considered however only insufficiently. Also, for the evaluation of the project progress no specific approaches exist and are mostly only generically regarded. This is mainly due to a large variance in project-dependent conditions, which ultimately do not allow a transferable/comparable application of KPIs. Furthermore, especially in the early phases of the PD, there are still unspecific and evolving requirements that are difficult to objectify. Ultimately, the results show that a new approach is needed that not only takes into account a distinction between project-status indicators but also method indicators. CONCLUSION AND OUTLOOKIn the context of this contribution, we took a detailed look at the generic term "development complexity". Thereby, we primarily focused on the examination of the two components of this complexity form: project-status indicators and development step indicators. Lastly, we were able to derive a first approach for necessary indicators from the literature and from direct needs in the D-T-C. We will further develop these subsequently to create a decision support tool and evaluate the level of support.
Keywords: Management Strategies, Creative Methods and Tools, Design strategy, Design method, Human-Centered Design
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