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Exploring a decision-making forum in early product development
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Machine Design (Dept.), Integrated Product Development.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8790-3859
2011 (English)In: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED11), Vol. 10: Design Methods and Tools / [ed] Culley, S.J.; Hicks, B.J.; McAloone, T.C.; Howard, T.J. & Dong, A., Copenhagen, 2011, 360-369 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Decision making in early phases of product development is of great importance due to the large impact they have on the subsequent project, whilst in the same being heavily characterized by uncertainty. This paper explores decision making in early phases of product development, and reports empirical findings from a case study conducted in an automotive firm. The case study investigated a project meeting officially responsible for deciding the technical content of the product. For example it was found that defining working assumptions and asking questions were used as means to reduce uncertainty in the decision-making process, where three genres of questions were identified: elucidating, self enlightening and argumentative. Further, a number of challenges in managing the decision-making process were identified, specifically for such agenda-based meetings as in the case study which was found to rely on instant interactions between the participants. Project management e.g. instantly had to judge to widen or limit the problem discussed, or whether to continue probing a problem or stop the discussion in order to save the total meeting agenda.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Copenhagen, 2011. 360-369 p.
Series
International Conference on Engineering Design, ISSN 2220-4334 ; 10
Keyword [en]
decision-making, concept development, case study, meeting, project
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-43392ISI: 000320273700035Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84858842956ISBN: 978-1-904670-30-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-43392DiVA: diva2:448212
Conference
18th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED'11
Note

QC 20111017

Available from: 2011-10-14 Created: 2011-10-14 Last updated: 2014-01-09Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. 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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