Selection of Product Development Flow under Uncertainty

By Aravindhan Karuppiah and Trishit Bandyopadhyay.

Published by The Design Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The multimedia and computer industries of the 1990s were fraught with uncertainty and turbulence. Major changes in standards, customer requirements, and technological possibilities may happen on a monthly or even a weekly basis, a time scale much shorter than even the fastest development project. Ability to manage the changes, uncertainty and at the same time being able to deliver with reduced time to market provides a distinct competitive advantage. The product development processes and management practices created for relatively stable information flow, long product life cycle and stable market are no longer capable of producing low cost and high quality products at rapid pace. This paper aims to arrive at a framework that can be used to determine optimal product development flow (sequential, concurrent, overlap) given the nature of change and uncertainty in the information flow. The framework is based on identification of product critical parameters followed by measurement of their evolution, sensitivity, precision, stability and product complexity to determine the level of uncertainty in the development. Using information sensitivity, evolution, stability and precision, probability of rework is identified. Probability of design oscillations are then determined by measuring the complexity of dependencies between activities. Identification of probability of rework and probability of design oscillations enables identification of suitable managerial actions to handle the level of uncertainty. This paper focuses on the probability of rework and product dependency complexity (network complexity) since complexity leads to design oscillations and along with high rework probability results in unpredictable development time. The paper proposes a framework that provides choices available to the manager to reduce the uncertainty in product design and development due to information instability and product complexity.

Keywords: Project Management, Uncertainty, Concurrent Engineering, Product Development Flow, Product, Development Management, Sensitivity, Evolution, Precision, Stability, Design Oscillations, Rework, Network Complexity, Functional Interaction

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.149-170. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.432MB).

Aravindhan Karuppiah

Development Manager, Multi-Media Codecs, Texas Instruments, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Aravindhan K completed B.E in electronics and communication engineering from Government college of technology Coimbatore, India in 1993. Joined Indian Institute of science and completed M.Sc (Engineering) in the year 1996. Since 1996 he has been working with Texas Instruments. His areas of interest are embedded software development, product design and engineering methodologies. He is currently pursuing fellow program in management at XLRI Jamshedpur.

Trishit Bandyopadhyay

Professor, Operations Management, XLRI Jamshedpur, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India

Prior to joining the academia has worked for about fifteen years in Industry, both in the public and private sectors, in areas such as R&D, Project Implementation and Production Management. His current interests include Service Operations Management, Technology Management and interfaces between Operations Management and other functional areas. Undertaken Management Development and Organization based training programmes in Quality, Strategy and Innovation. Has done consultancy assignments in the Power, Health and Tourism sectors and made presentations in state-level and international conferences.

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