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Concept Decisions – a Web of Interconnected Actions
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.). (Integrated Product Development)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8790-3859
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.). (Integrated Product Development)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4488-1028
2009 (English)In: Proceeding of 16th International Product Development Management Conference, IPDMC, EIASM, 7-9 juni, Twente, Holland, 2009Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009.
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-25442OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-25442DiVA: diva2:358464
Conference
16th International Product Development Management Conference, June (7) 8-9, 2009, Enschede, The Netherlands
Note
QC 20101022Available from: 2010-10-22 Created: 2010-10-22 Last updated: 2011-11-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Concept decisions in product development process
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Concept decisions in product development process
2009 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Successful concept decisions are crucial for product development organisations. Failure in theconcept decision-making process means costly rework, requiring resources that could havebeen spent on innovative work with new products instead. This licentiate thesis tackles theconcept decision-making process and how to improve it. The research presented here is thefirst part of a research project, with an action research approach, that will develop newsupporting working procedures for concept decision making and thereby contribute to moresuccessful products.Empirical studies were conducted in Swedish industrial practice, particularly focusing oneorganisation, and it was found that concept decisions are not made at a certain point in time.Instead, many decisions and activities, on several organisational levels, were adding up to theconcept decisions in the investigated organisations. The concept decision-making process wasfound to be a web of interconnected activities, with many decisions integrated and embedded in the process. Itwas also found that both formal and informal factors influence the concept decision-makingprocess and main factors were identified as: Project and product request, Supporting structures androutines, Individual competence and driving forces, Teamwork and company culture and Contextualcircumstances. These factors represent different perspectives, meaning on what level theyinfluence concept decision making: individual, team, project, organisation, and context, and in orderto create improvements in the concept decision-making process all levels have to beconsidered. The knowledge of the different perspectives has implications for howimprovements should be designed.Larger product developing companies do often have internally defined formal workingprocedures that prescribe how to develop products within the company. The thesis discusseshow the internal working procedures relate to academic theory and to practice. It wasconcluded that internal formal working procedures has not been discussed in a sufficient wayin earlier engineering design research. Furthermore, means for improving the concept decisionmakingprocess are discussed, and it was concluded, based on interviews with practitioners,that the strongest pragmatic means for improvement were developing mindset and applyingmethods. Mindset addresses the awareness, attitude and approach needed for management (andco-workers) working in early product development phases. Methods mainly addresses the needfor having relevant supporting working procedures in general and templates for evaluationalternative solutions in particular. Finally, recommendations for future design of a template forevaluation alternative solutions are presented.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2009. x, 45 p.
Series
Trita-MMK, ISSN 1400-1179 ; 2009:13
Keyword
concept evaluation, decision making, product development
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-10685 (URN)978-91-7415-375-0 (ISBN)
Presentation
2009-06-24, Sal A425, Brinellvägen 83, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20111122Available from: 2009-06-24 Created: 2009-06-24 Last updated: 2011-11-22Bibliographically approved
2. Managing concept decision making in product development practice
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Managing concept decision making in product development practice
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Making concept decisions is a crucial activity for product-developing companies since these decisions have high impact on the subsequent development and launch of the product. Consequences of unsuccessful concept decisions can be severe, e.g. missing out on business opportunities or spending money on rework. This thesis investigates concept decision making in product development practice and contributes by enhancing the understanding of what is actually happening, the difficulties experienced in the process, and how to manage and improve concept decision making. Such enhanced understanding should serve as a basis when support methods for concept decision making are developed. In-depth studies have been conducted in a Swedish automotive company, focusing on the technical system level of the product.

The concept decision process was found to be a web of interconnected activities, embedded in the concept development process, and with several actors on different hierarchical levels. An overarching challenge identified in concept decision making was to achieve compatibility before completeness, meaning that compatibility between product systems must be met before the system solutions are completely developed. In addition, a number of conflicts intrinsic in the process were revealed, pointing to underlying causes of the difficulties in managing concept decision making. These conflicts are omnipresent due to the product and organizational complexity and have to be handled by the product developers in their daily work.

The thesis identifies key elements for improving an organization’s concept decision making: Create meta-knowledge and awareness regarding what influences the process and the actors in the process since there is a general lack of knowledge regarding one’s own and the organization’s decision-making processes; Ask questions to ensure that aspects, previously neglected, are considered; Provide visualizations to enhance understanding of both process and solutions; Provide vision as guidance in everyday decision making and trade-offs; and Ensure reflections since there is a need for actors in the process to reflect on the own decision-making process.

In conclusion, a model to improve the concept decision making in practice is proposed. The model includes a set of proposed activities that are designed to address the previously identified challenges, and was developed in collaboration between researchers and practitioners.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2011. x, 84 p.
Series
Trita-MMK, ISSN 1400-1179 ; 2011:14
Keyword
concept decision, decision making, product development, industrial practice
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-43396 (URN)978-91-7501-138-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-11-11, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20111019Available from: 2011-10-19 Created: 2011-10-14 Last updated: 2011-11-22Bibliographically approved

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Kihlander, IngridRitzén, Sofia

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