Information Hiding in Product Development: The Design Churn Effect

Research in Engineering Design, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 145-161, 2003

MIT Sloan Working Paper No. 4333-02

Posted: 6 Feb 2006

See all articles by Ali A. Yassine

Ali A. Yassine

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of General Engineering

Nitin Joglekar

Boston University - Questrom School of Business

Steven D. Eppinger

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Dan Braha

New England Complex Systems Institute

Daniel Whitney

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Center for Technology, Policy, and Industrial Development (CTPID)

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Product Development, Design Process Modeling, Decomposition and Integration, Component and System Performance Generation, Information Hiding, Design Churn

Suggested Citation

Yassine, Ali A. and Joglekar, Nitin and Eppinger, Steven D. and Braha, Dan and Whitney, Daniel, Information Hiding in Product Development: The Design Churn Effect (2003). Research in Engineering Design, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 145-161, 2003, MIT Sloan Working Paper No. 4333-02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=879749 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.298248

Ali A. Yassine (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of General Engineering ( email )

United States

Nitin Joglekar

Boston University - Questrom School of Business ( email )

595 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02466
United States

Steven D. Eppinger

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

MIT Rm E62-468
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-0468 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://web.mit.edu/eppinger/www/

Dan Braha

New England Complex Systems Institute ( email )

277 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Daniel Whitney

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Center for Technology, Policy, and Industrial Development (CTPID) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Ave
Room E40-243
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
(617) 253-6045 (Phone)

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