A Networked Perspective on the Engineering Design Process
At the Intersection of Process and Organisation Architectures

Year: 2015
Author: Parraguez, Pedro
Supervisor: Anja M. Maier
Institution: Technical University of Denmark
Page(s): 242
ISBN: 978-87-998410-0-4

Abstract

This thesis reports on research undertaken to develop, apply and test a framework that
characterises the actual design process architecture of engineering systems as a networked process.
Research described in this thesis involved literature reviews in Engineering Design, Engineering
Systems, Complexity and applied Network Science, and two case studies at engineering design
companies with the objective of iteratively developing the framework and providing a proof-ofconcept
of its use in a large engineering design project.
The developed Networked Process (NPr) Framework is composed of a conceptual model of
the actual design process architecture, and an analytical method that allows the model and datadriven
support to be quantified. The framework provides a networked perspective on three
fundamental levels of analysis: 1) the activity-level, characterised as a network of people
performing each activity, 2) the interface-level, characterised as a network of people interfacing
between two interdependent activities, and 3) the whole process-level, characterised as a dynamic
network of people and activities. The aim of the framework is to improve the design process of
engineering systems through a more detailed overview of the actual design process, to support
data-driven reflection of the relationship between process architecture and performance, and to
provide the means to compare process plans against the actual process. The framework is based on
a multi-domain network approach to process architecture and draws on previous research using
matrix-based and graph-based process models.

Keywords: Design process, Engineering Design, Network, Architecture, Engineering Systems

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