Complexity management in plant engineering

DS 75-4: Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED13), Design for Harmonies, Vol.4: Product, Service and Systems Design , Seoul, Korea, 19-22.08.2013

Year: 2013
Editor: Udo Lindemann, Srinivasan V, Yong Se Kim, Sang Won Lee, John Clarkson, Gaetano Cascini
Author: Maurer, Maik; Wölfling, Christian
Series: ICED
Institution: TU Munich, Germany
Page(s): 001-010
ISBN: 978-1-904670-47-6
ISSN: 2220-4334


Complexity is a major challenge in plant engineering projects. Participants in German plant engineering industry experience delays, cost overruns and stakeholder deception in complex projects. Literature on complexity management only deficiently considers specifics of this industry and lacks empiric insight. This paper analyzes how complexity is perceived in this industry and gives guidance to the improvement of complexity management. Therefore, a literature study and an expert survey have been conducted. Six underlying problem clusters can be distinguished: uncertainty in methods, requirements problem and uncertainty in goals, interfaces, systems thinking, process transparency and communication, and non-holistic complexity management. As a two-step approach, the application of systems engineering with its processes as described in the International Standard ISO 15288 and a complexity management process based on the Deming Cycle are proposed for treating the obtained clusters.

Keywords: Complexity management, plant engineering, survey, construction


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