Comparing the information content of formal and informal design documents: Lessons for more complete design records
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: McAlpine, Hamish Chales; Hicks, Ben James; Culley, Stephen
Section: Design Information and Knowledge
Even the most routine engineering design projects generate large volumes of formal and informal information by virtue of an ever-increasing variety of tools and systems. During the design process, the efficient creation and transformation of this information is critical to the success of the project. However, at the end of the design process there is a requirement to prepare formal project documentation necessary to support manufacturers and customers, and conform to legislation. This includes elements such as CAD models, performance and manufacturing data. In the process of preparing this documentation, only a small proportion of the information generated can be captured - if only because of limited resources. It is therefore unclear as to whether potentially valuable design information could be omitted from this formal record and eventually lost. In order to explore this issue, a comparative study of documentation from a design project has been undertaken. The study analyses the difference in information types and content of a complete set of formal and informal documentation. The results are then discussed with respect to the creation of more complete design records.