EXPLORING A DECISION MAKING FORUM IN EARLY PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
DS 68-10: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 11), Impacting Society through Engineering Design, Vol. 10: Design Methods and Tools pt. 2, Lyngby/Copenhagen, Denmark, 15.-19.08.2011
Editor: Culley, S.J.; Hicks, B.J.; McAloone, T.C.; Howard, T.J. & Dong, A.
Author: Kihlander, Ingrid
Section: Design Methods and Tools Part 2
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.