Approaches to Mitigate the Impact of Uncertainty in Development Processes

DS 58-1: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 1, Design Processes, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Chalupnik, Marek J.; Wynn, David C.; Clarkson, P. John
Section: Design Processes
Page(s): 459-470


The inherent complexity of Product Development (PD) processes, coupled with competitive pressures to deliver products cheaper, faster better, has been a significant source of difficulties in planning and executing many large-scale PD projects. This is evident from the large number of projects that have failed to deliver on their original time or cost expectations. Given the potentially severe consequences of PD process delays, mitigating the impact of uncertainty sources that may affect PD process duration has been a popular research topic. Concepts such as reliability, flexibility, versatility and robustness have been used in the literature to denote process insensitivity to various types and sources of uncertainty. This paper interprets these four related concepts as different types of process insensitivity to uncertainty and thereby contributes to clarifying their meaning in the context of PD processes. We focus on those approaches which aim to mitigate the likely impact of process risks on project performance without removing the sources of these risks.

Keywords: Product Development (PD) process, uncertainty, robustness, reliability, flexibility, versatility


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