ALFRED P. SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT
Development of Tools to
Represent Design Procedures
David A. Gebala
Steven D. Eppinger
Daniel E. Whitney
INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
50 MEMORIAL DRIVE
CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS 02139
Development of Tools to
Represent Design Procedures
David A. Gebala
Steven D. Eppinger
Daniel E. Whitney
WP# 3281-91-MS April 1991
Development of Tools
to Represent Design Procedures
David A. Gebala
Steven D. Eppinger
Daniel E. Whitney
Massachussetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA 02139
This paper is based upon the premise that in practice, design
procedures are rather methodical and can therefore be studied and
improved. We present model-based approaches toward understanding
such design activities in order to improve design practices. Several
modeling methodologies are presented and compared on their ability to
capture relevant information about design activities and their ability to
provide insight into the performance of design processes. A detailed
description of these models and examples of each are provided for
comparison. These models contribute significantly to our understanding of
current design practice and yield to analytical tools which facilitate
formulation and implementation of improved procedures. In the course of
the discussion, limitations of the currently used models are identified, and
an enhanced representation is proposed to overcome these limitations.
International competition has heightened the need to develop high
quality products which can compete in the global marketplace. As a result
of this increased competition, the pace of product development has
quickened, forcing manufacturers into an era in which continuous quality
improvement is a matter of survival, not simply competitive advantage. As
the time scale of the product life cycle decreases and the demand for quality
increases, one area of attention has been improving products through better
designs. The integrative and definitive nature of the design activity is
responsible for determining as much as 80% of a product's functionality
and cost . The high leverage available during the design activity can
completely determine a product's success or failure. Design's central role
as an important engineering and business concern has recently gained
attention in companies and universities around the world.
In the past, many researchers may have dismissed design because it
lacks the scientific rigor of some other disciplines. However, as academia
and industry invest more effort into improving the design process, there is
an increased need for a better understanding of the activity to facilitate the
formulation of new design paradigms. We believe that while most design
activities performed in industry are well established, they are, nevertheless,
We seek improved understanding of both new and established design
procedures to provide at least two distinct opportunities: (1) to allow
engineers to execute the design activity with more insight into difficulties
encountered during design, and (2) to provide an opportunity for better
management of the design activity, including implementation of new
design strategies. Specifically, this work addresses design process
improvement questions which engineers and their managers should be
1) Why does it take so long to develop each new generation of our
2) Wh'-^h engineering functions might be combined to accelerate
3) Where is communication most important in design?
4) What are the driving factors in our design problem?
5) How can we implement concurrent engineering?
The approach in this work is to facilitate the improvement of product
design procedures through formulating and testing models of the design
activity. Models are constructed by first observing the design process and
formulating representations which capture the aspects considered
important. A model serves its purpose if it is able to answer important
questions about the subject it represents. If the model's behavior reflects
the system's behavior, the model can be used in some predictive capacity to
explore the effects which altering the system can produce. If the
representation is not able to answer such questions, another model must be
formulated and tested. The models sui'veyed below will be judged on their
ability to accurately represent design activities and their ability to facilitate
exploration of new design strategies.
In choosing a model of the design process, it is important to keep
some objectives in mind. Winston proposes several requirements which
problem representations should attempt to satisfy . Good
•make the important things explicit;
•expose natural constraints, facilitating computations;
•are transparent to its users; and
•suppress detail when it is not required.
These criteria can serve as guidelines for representations which can
advance our undei'standing of the complex activities which are collectively
known as design.
The first section of this paper presents three models of the design
activity commonly used in practice. We review the historical development
of the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT), Structured
Analysis and Design Technique (SADT or IDEF), and the use of Design
Structure Matrices (DSM). We also present examples of their use in design
modeling and survey them critically to identify any shortcomings. In
particular, we examine their ability to reveal the difficult iterations
encountered in execution of the design activity.
In the following section, we compare the representational capacity of
the two techniques best able to capture the iterative flow of design
information. Using precedence data describing the design of an automotive
component, alternate representations of a design process were constructed.
We then use the precedence matrices to model several other design
activities, and to provide valuable insight into how information flows
during these design procedures. We close the section with an overview of
analysis tools which are able to suggest improved design procedures.
Finally, we will address the issues which the representations are not
able to model. Our work in modeling and analyzing design has identified
important aspects of the design process which are not incorporated into any
of the present models. For example, the existing models only represent
interdependence, but do not specify the extent of interdependence. A
possible solution is proposed to incorporate much more information into the
models to enhance their utility. One type of quantitative model based on the
precedence matrix is presented in an example.
As the importance of product design in manufacturing competition
becomes widely recognized, the need to understand and improve the design
activities also becomes evident. The first attempts to model and answer
questions about design procedures used simple project planning techniques
(PERT) which had proven useful in the scheduling and management of
large research and development projects. However, these simple tool did
not contribute to understanding design iteration because they failed to
represent such flows. This need to represent iteration explicitly was met by
techniques such as SADT. Finally, we have found that precedence
matrices such as DSM allow complex interactions to be shown more easily.
These three most commonly used representations are discussed below.
1. Program Evaluation and Review Technique
The Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) is one of the
most widely used project management tools. PERT was developed in the
late 1950's to plan and manage the development of the Polaris missile .
A project is represented as a series of activities, each with a set of
predecessors whose results are required before the new activity can be
started. The PERT chart which documents the project is a network of nodes
interconnected by arcs. Although there is some flexibility in defining the
nodes and arcs, it is most common to associate one activity with each node
and to denote precedence using a directed arc between nodes. To add the
time to the PERT chart, we ca label the arcs with the task durations.
Uncertainties in these time estimates can be considered in the calculation
of the overall project completion time. An example of a PERT chart with
deterministic time estimates is presented in Figure 1.
Figure 1. PERT Chart
If the time required for each of the activities has a small variability,
the PERT chart can be subjected directly to Critical Path Method (CPM)
analysis. CPM allows the manager to identify which activities affect the
completion date (activities on the critical path) and which activities are
irrelevant to accelerating project completion (activities with slack). By
analyzing the critical path, the manager can perform cost vs. time trade-off
analysis . The cost of applying more resources to an activity can be
evaluated by the effect on the project completion date. The critical path is
the one marked by heavy arcs in Figure 1.
The PERT methodology is well suited for certain processes which
involve sequential flows of well characterized steps. For example, PERT is
a popular planning tool for construction and assembly operations which
typically involve little flexibility in their precedence relations. In order to
make a particular subassembly, one needs all of its components. The
strong dependency which is found in the assembly and construction
activities is easily represented by the series of arcs and nodes in a PERT
PERT charts have also found widespread application in large scale
research and development projects requiring coordination of numerous
activities. Again, the projects flow sequentially: before a certain task is
activated, the previous task must be completed. The success of this
technique in the development of the Polaris missile prompted the U.S.
Government to require its use on all major government projects . Using
PERT to model the design activity seems to be a logical choice since design,
too, is a large project requiring coordination of many efforts and many
Using PERT to Model Design Activities
Using PERT charts to model the design process seems a
straightforward application of this technique. The design activity must be
decomposed into smaller activities and their precedences noted. The
duration of each activity can be used to enhance the chart's information
content. However, the technique is not able to capture the complexities of
the design activity; PERT is limited by the implicit requirement that all
activities are sequentially dependent. Once an activity has been performed,
it is not performed again. In a PERT chart, such an occurrence would
create a cycle in the path. Such cycles in the PERT chart represent logical
inconsistencies which must be removed before any critical path
calculations can be made.
In practice design is often an iterative activity. Design tasks may not
have strict start and stop dates. Rather, a design decision made
downstream of an activity may force this upstream activity to be re-
activated. The iterative nature of the design process also means that
incomplete information may be used to perform an activity which will be
performed again when more complete information becomes available.
These cycles are common in most design activities and should not be
ignored in our models. In fact, it is this iteration using incomplete
information which presents the challenge in design. If we choose to "force-
fit" the design process into the PERT representation, we are forced to ignore
these cycles, and instead of making the important things explicit, we have
simplified design into a trivial sequence of straightforward activities.
Clearly, any useful representation must be able to represent cycles in the
design process explicitly.
2. Structiired Analysis and Design Technique
Another popular technique which is used extensively in practice is
the Structured Analysis and Design Technique (SADT). This method is a
graphical means of describing large systems of interacting units. SADT
shares some common background with PERT. Both were motivated by the
need to coordinate a large number of activities which may occur at different
times and at different locations. The derivative of SADT which is widely
used today is one promoted by the U.S. Air Force in the early 1970's in an
attempt to standardize manufacturing process descriptions across many
different aerospace contractors . The Integrated Computer-Aided
Manufacturing Definition Method (IDEFO) is an automated, graphical
adaptation of SADT aimed at standardizing contractor communications
and reviews .
The SADT/IDEFO technique is based on a basic unit, the Structured
Analysis (SA) box, and a fundamental descriptive language which dictates
how these boxes can be interrelated . Figure 2 presents the SA building
block of the IDEFO models. Each box in the model represents an activity.
An activity is defined as an act which, under control, transforms input into
output using a mechanism. Each box can have any number of arrows
leading into and out of it, following the convention pictured. Arrows
directed into the box from the right represent input. Arrows directed out of
the box represent output. The arrows entering the top of the activity box
represent control. Those entering from the bottom represent mechanisms
used, but not changed during the activity. Any SA box may be a component
of another, higher-level SA box, and may itself be decomposable into more
component boxes. The approach is to model from the top down, specifying
as much detail, and creating as much depth as necessary to completely
define the system being modeled.
Figure 2. Structured Analysis (SA) Box
The interview is the main means of data collection, and is
supplemented by reading documents and observing activities . Once the
data has been collected, it is formatted and presented according to the
IDEFO modeling guidelines. To construct an IDEFO document, the author
applies the scripting language which guides the layout of the document
. This adherence to convention is the common language that allows
communication between different parties. The reader of the document
should be able to understand the interaction between activities based solely
on the graphical content and SA labels (although text documents can be
added for clarification). An example of an IDEFO document is presented in
y ^ V 1
Figure 3. SADT/ IDEFO Document
Experts in the IDEFO methodology stress that the representation is a
living document which is iteratively updated and proofed until all parties
have reached a consensus. Before a model is complete, it must be checked
for omissions and validity. The people close to the activities being modeled
are asked to verify the relationships represented in the document.
Necessary modifications are made and the cycle proceeds through a
number of iterations before a model is approved.
Using SADT to Model Design Activities
Models of numerous design procedures have been constructed using
the IDEFO technique. To do so, the design activity to be modeled is
hierarchically decomposed and documented on as many different levels as
required. There is a strict limit to the amount of information that can be
placed on each page of the IDEFO document. This restriction is an attempt
to limit the degree of complexity which the reader of the document is
exposed to at any one time. The documents themselves consist of multiple
sheets, with each page documenting all the inputs, outputs, controls and
mechanisms which affect a particular set of activities. Note that these
interrelations are often not from boxes at the same level of decomposition
and are not necessarily on the same sheet of the IDEFO document.
Most large manufacturing firms we know of, including Boeing,
General Motors, Kodak and Motorola, have used the IDEFO software and
methodology to create models of existing design procedures. Often the tasks
to be modeled are enormous and must be decomposed into functional areas.
Each area is made responsible for collecting information and creating a
valid IDEFO document which can be used to study its existing design
At General Motors, the complete process model for automobile design
is still being constructed, but some parts have been completed. The
resulting documents represent huge investments in resources, and are
rich in information; however, in practice, the size of these documents has
proven to be one of the most significant drawbacks. Because the software
does not perform it automatically, verification of interrelations between
activities requires much effort tracing arrows backwards and forwards
through multiple levels of decomposition. Because the overall design
activity is large and complex, the documents themselves become a tangled
network which is laborious to read.
The IDEFO procedure is indeed able to capture the complex
requirements of the design process, but the result does not lend insight into
the design process. This representation of the design activity serves as a
documentation of the design process, but because of its complexity and
unwieldy size, it is not particularly good at suggesting improvements. The
IDEFO document does not facilitate computation nor does it make
difficulties explicit. This shortcoming renders it inadequate for improving
the design process. A useful model must be able to answer questions with
much less efi'ort than IDEFO models require.
3. Matrix Representations
Beginning in the 1960's, some researchers have used matrix
representations in place of graphs to display systems of equations and
precedences. Adjacency matrices are square matrices whose elements, aij,
are unity if nodej is a precedent of node i, and blank otherwise . The
matrix is easily constructed from the network diagrams or directly from
precedence information. The size of the matrix depends upon the number
of activities or tasks into which the system is broken. The number of non-
blank elements reflects the number of precedences in the system. Figure 4
depicts a typical adjacency matrix. One would read the precedence
relations from the matrix by reading across the rows of the matrix. For
example, in Figure 4, Task D is dependent upon input from Tasks A and E.
The name, adjacency matrix, reflects the fact that the non-blank elements
identify which nodes are adjacent (connected) to each other . No special
language is required to construct the matrix, and the results are easily
understood by both the creator and the user.
ABCDEFGH I JKL
Figure 4. Adjacency Matrix
The matrix representation has been used to model many different
processes and systems. Mathematicians have used this matrix form to
solve simultaneous equations [11, 22]. Chemical engineers have used the
matrix representation to model process flow sheets . Engineers have
documented the interdependence to examine the most efficient order in
which to determine system parameters [2, 3, 15, 20].
Using Precedence Matrices to Model Design Activities
In a similar manner, matrix representations have been used to
model the information flow in the design process. The same precedence
information used in the other techniques is collected for each component
task. If one interprets the task ordering as a time sequence, the timing of
information flow becomes explicit: marks below the diagonal represent
information transferred to later tasks; marks above the diagonal depict
information fed back to earlier tasks. The matrix embodies the structure of
the underlying design activity by mapping the relations between tasks in a
precise order which makes interdependence explicit. Steward refers to a
matrix model of design activities as a Design Structure Matrix (DSM) .
This representation has been used in a number of design projects to
successfully map dependencies between functional areas of the design
endeavor. The work done by Black exposes, on a parameter level, the
information requirements of brake system design . This work allows the
designers to see the entire design activity from a global perspective. The
order in which parameters are determined can have a significant effect on
the execution of the design and these features are revealed in the matrix.
The details of this work are presented in the next section.
Most recently we have used the matrix representation as a
management aid to analyze the organizational structure of design projects
usin? the individual information requirements of the engineering tasks [6,
19]. As an aid to better design management, we have used the matrix to
identify tasks which are constrained to be serial by nature of the
information flow connecting them. Conversely, the matrix also allows
quick identification of tasks which can be performed in parallel. This
representation has proven useful in studying the changes required in the
implementation of concurrent engineering strategies . These results are
discussed further in the final section of this paper.
Comparison of Representations
To compare the design models constructed by the different
techniques, we modeled design activities using the IDEFO and matrix
methods presented above. We found that the IDEFO methodology has been
applied extensively to represent the design and manufacturing activities at
General Motors. The C4 program at GM has formed Lead Groups which
are responsible for documenting the design procedures for each of the seven
major functional areas of the automobile: 1) Powertrain, 2) Chassis, 3)
Electrical, 4) Body-in-White, 5) Paint, 6) Assembly and 7) Interior. The aim
of this endeavor is to understand the design and production activities as
they are currently performed and to then suggest improvements for future
The precedence information gathered while studying and
documenting the production of these components is valuable information
which could, if represented and analyzed correctly, aid in improving and
accelerating the design activity. At present, all of this precedence
information for the activities is contained in IDEFO charts. These charts
are constructed by authors who interview engineers in the organizations,
are reviewed for completeness and validity, and are eventually approved as
an accurate representation of the current design practice at General
These IDEFO models are large and complex, reflecting the processes
they model. However, the large size of the models is a disadvantage of the
representation. The size and complexity of the documents are barriers to
their use in facilitating improvements of the processes they represent.
Although the description is complete, it is not concise enough to serve as a
beneficial overview tool. This representation fails to suppresses enough
detail to render it transparent to users. The vast amount of information
presented only one page at a time provides only limited glimpses into the
global interactions of design and manufacturing which are often crucial.
The same precedence data used in the IDEFO charts can be mapped
into the matrix format and compared to the SA box notation. Figure 5 is a
schematic of the translation of IDEFO data into its equivalent matrix
^ / '■
L C -*L ■
I — h
ABCDEFGH I JKL
X . X
• X X X
• X X X
• X X
Figure 5. Translation from IDEFO Format to Matrix Format
Each lowest level SA activity box becomes a row in the matrix. We
have performed this transformation for only two design problems in the
power train lead group (a crankshaft and a camshaft), but the results have
provided interesting comparisons to the IDEFO format. The matrix is also
large, but it is an orderly array in which precedent information is obvious
for each of the tasks included in the model. We found the matrix
representation much easier to construct and read. Because the matrix
representation is easier to verify, it is better suited to accurately represent
current practice as well as provide suggestions for improvements.
Three different models were constructed based on data from General
Motors. The first activity presented below is the brake system design. In
this study parameter level data was collected to document the interaction
between physical design parameters such as energetic, geometric, and
material properties. This is a model of the engineering interactions which
must be considered in the design of a brake system. In contrast, the second
model presents data at a task level. The precedence data for this model
reveals how the separate tasks of the crankshaft design activity must
interact with one another during the design process. A more
comprehensive view is offered in the third model which is based upon the
entire camshaft development process including activities from design
through production. Each of these models has contributed to our
understanding of the methodology of design and will be discussed
individually in the following section.
Brake System Design
The first study was performed by Tom Black on brake system design
. The model was constructed from data collected during interviews and
discussions with the designers. Designers were asked to identify what
information was required to perform the specific jobs. The jobs were
detailed down to the parameter level to include measurable quantities such
as pressure, diameter, and torque. The model was constructed and verified
in the matrix form pictured in Figure 6A.
Notice that the design task is decomposable into three distinct
phases. The information flow in the early design stage is a mixture of
sequential and parallel activities. In the second phase of the design
activity, the information flow becomes iterative as represented by the large
block of tasks which are coupled. Following this block is final group of
sequential and parallel tasks. The decisions which are resolved iteratively
in the middle of the design process are presented in Figure 6B. These tasks
could be analyzed in further detail using the methods described in [7, 20].
Some of these were performed and the results are reported in [2, 21].
Certain aspects of this model should be noted. The information flow
during certain stages of design is critical while during much of the activity,
it is a simple sequence. The coupled block of iterative information flow in
the middle of the design matrix is what we consider the challenge of the
design activity. We expect that all but the most trivial design activities will
have some degree of iteration. We investigate below whether this overall
structure is common to other design activities.
\ ^\ '^-
:' :. ■'
■■ " '^-
Figure 6A. Brake System Matrix Model
Knuckle envelope & attach pis 33
Pressure at rear wheel locK up 34
Brake lorque vs. skidpoint 35
Drum male rial 36
Line pressure vs. brake lorque 37
Dnjm maleriaJ — composiie/cast 38
Drum — thermal aspecis 39
Splash shield geometry — Ironi 40
Bearing — rear — heat inio 4i
Bearing — (ronl — heat inIo 42
Dnjm brake size 43
Drum errvelope & attach pts 44
Bearing envelope & attach pis 45
Splash shield geometry — rear 46
ABS sensor location 47
Air flow under car/wheel space 48
Wheel material 49
Wheel design 50
Tire lype/material 51
Vehicle deceleration rate 52
Temperature at components 53
Rotor cooling coedcient 54
Lining — rear vol and area 55
Floior width 56
Pedal anach pts 57
Dash deflection 58
Pedal force (required) 59
Lining coeMicient — rear 60
Pedal mechanical advantage 6i
Lining — (ront vol & swept area 62
Lining coellicient — front 63
Booster reaction ratio 64
Rotor diameter 65
Rotor envelope & attach pts 66
33 3435 3637
4142 4344 45 4647
5553 54 5556
5758 5960 6162
X •• X
X •• X
X •• X X
33 3435 3637 38 3940 4142 4344 45 4647 4849 5051 5253 54 5556 5758 5960 6162 63 6465 66
Figure 6B. Iterative Block of Brake System Matrix Model
A second design process model was produced from the study of
crankshaft design. This model was developed by GM's C4 Power Train
Lead Group using the IDEFO methodology. The information they gathered
was subsequently translated into the matrix format. The original IDEFO
document consists of more than 20 pages and is too large to reproduce here.
However, the matrix representation is provided in Figure 7. The relation
assigned during the IDEFO modelling has been preserved: Input/Output,
Control, and Mechanism are denoted in the matrix as I, C, and M,
respectively. Translating the precedence relations from the IDEFO
document into the matrix provided a good overview of the design activity as
captured by the IDEFO authors.
IS 18W ■! liTO ?' 77?3 ?* 25?* 37 JKfl 30 3i3! 33 3*3* n 37 int
Conceptual. Crankshaft -
Supervise Shaft Des. ;
Ran for Design i
Perforrn Design Process *
Detail Pans &
Check Detail •
Plan Analysis m
Transform 2D data to 3D j
Trans lale Data i
BuiW 3D FEM Model ■
Solve Stress, Deflec.. Vib. >o
Display Results "
Evaluate arid Report >;
Modify Design u
Est. Process Sequence -*
Coordinate Engine Builds <&
Coordinate with Sources n
Eval. Purchase Req's t?
Obtain Vendor Quotes n
EvaJ. and Select Vendors <9
Issue Purchase Order jo
Estimate Cost artd Timing r^
Review Information j?
Establish Sequence 23
Select Machines 2*
kJent. Supp. Resources i&
Evaluate Process Sheet 2*
Develop Schedules 7'
Order Resources 21
Prep. Supp. Resources 7s
Set-up Machine 30
Execute Operation 31
Inspect Prototype Crank w
Test Prototype Crank 33
Re!. Crankshdl Design 3*
Anal, and Concept. Proc. as
Design Process sa
Validate Process 37
Release Process 3i
Prep. Tools and Equip. 39
Prepare Facility *o
Setup Prod. Resources *>
Venfy Prod. Resources *?
Produce Crankshaft o
X 1 ■■ 1 1
1 C X
1 X 1 1 1
1 X 1
C 1 X
1 C X
1 CIX 1
C 1 X
C 1 X
C 1 1 X 1
1 c 1 ex
t- MAJOR TASK A'
XIII 1 1
C X 1 1 II 1 1
C C X 1 II 1 1
e e c X 1
C X 1
1 C C C XII
e c c e CIX
ceo c M 1
1 1 X
1- MAJOR TASK B
MAXJfl TASK C ->
DEVELOP MANUFACTURING PROCESS
X 1 1
1 X 1 1
C X 1 1 1
C 1 X 1
C 1 1 X 1
C 1 X
■ Bjo ?\ nn 1* 7tn 21 ;«» 3o 3131 33 3435 m 37 stai
Figure 7. Crankshaft Design Matrix
The matrix allowed us to make some observations about the
crankshaft design activity and about its modeling effort. Primarily, the
matrix revealed some inconsistencies in the IDEFO models. In
constructing the matrix, certain precedences were inconsistently
documented. This confirms the assertion that IDEFO models are difficult to
verify and cross check. Furthermore, application of some simple re-
sequencing rules demonstrated that the precedence sets were incomplete.
For example. Task 34, Release Crankshaft Design, can be scheduled
immediately following Task 6, Check Detail. The precedence shown allows
the design to be released before modifications or verifications occur.
The information set contained in the documents was complete
enough to allow us to identify *^he three major activities of the design
process and these have been marked as blocks in the matrix. It is of
particular interest that the three major tasks of this design activity can
proceed almost in parallel with only a few marks linking them at certain
stages. These few marks can be considered design drivers which play a
critical role in the implementation of improved design procedures such as
design for manufacturing. The implications of this structure and the
strategies for managing them are discussed in detail in , and are
summarized at the end of this section.
In a final exercise, complete design and production activities for
camshaft development were documented down to similar levels of detail.
The previous model for the crankshaft included only the design components
of the process, whereas this model expands the steps both before and after
design. This camshaft matrix was constructed from the IDEFO charts
exactly as described previously for the crankshaft model. In this more
complete model, it was possible to make many more observations and
comments regarding the representation and about the process it reflected.
The matrix is reproduced in Figure 8A.
Figure 8A. Camshaft Development Matrix
First, notice that the design activity (Tasks 4-37) is by far the most
iterative of the major tasks. Much more communication is required in this
stage of the activity than in the production stages which appear to proceed
with more sequential tasks (the band of marks just below the diagonal
represents a sequential flow). The design activity from this matrix is
enlarged in Figure 8B.
4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 g1 22 23 Z't 25 26 e7 38 29 X 31 3g 33 34 35 36
Dev. Camshaft Des. Concept 4
Dev. Camshaft Proc. Concept 5
Dev. Camshaft Prod. Concept 6
Del. Primary Characteristics 7
Det. Physical Requirements 8
Initiate/Monitor Build/Test 9
Rev. Eng Change Reqs lO
Coord. Des. 11
Schedule Work 12
Dis. with PFT 13
Create Layout 14
Check Geometry Markup 15
Write Detail Ticket 16
Write Speaficaiion 17
Detail/Check Camshaft is
Dev. Mockup & Illustrations 19
Store and Distribute Drawings 20
Review Product Des. 21
Dev. Proc. Concept 22
Anal, and Build/Test Results 23
Del. Key Qual Characteristics 24
Det. FMEA for Proc 25
Dev. Equip. Concept 26
Det. FMEA for Sys. and Equip'! 27
Dev. Qual. Plan 28
Verify (Proc?) Des. 29
Anal. Manufacturability 30
Anal. Structure 31
Coord. Analysis 32
Outsource Analysis 33
Inhouse Analysis 34
Verify Analysis Results 35
Anal. Tolerance (VSM) 36
Resolve Problems 37
9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 X 31 32 33 34 35 36 :
Figure 8B. Design Block of Camshaft Development Matrix
Again, the precedence information was discovered to be incomplete,
but in this case, we ventured to classify some of the errors. We identified
precedences which should have existed, but were not present in the IDEFO
model. These were conjectured based on the task descriptions and the flow
of information expected to be required. For example, task 21 Review
Product Design should have input from several Product Design tasks. A
number of these possible omissions are denoted in the matrix using the '?'
We also identified extraneous precedences which seemed
superfluous and labeled these as marks with a strikeout. Although these
were based on a limited exposure to the details of the process being
modeled, they were based on an engineering interpretation of the task
definitions and the expected sources of inputs and destinations of outputs.
For example, we question whether determination of primary
characteristics and physical requirements of the camshaft (Tasks 7 and 8)
require the development of the design and production concepts (Tasks 4, 5,
and 6). We suspect that the relation should be modeled in reverse. That is,
the determination of the primary characteristics and physical
requirements should drive the design of the product and the process.
The remaining marks in the matrix are suggestions for additional
feedback. In contrast to the '?' labels which represent a logical relation
which may have been overlooked in the modelling, the '%' marks represent
opportunities where strategic feedback does not yet exist, but could be
implemented. These include suggestions such as including
manufacturability analysis (Task 30) in the review of the product design
The most significant shortcoming exposed in constructing these
models was the degree of the interdependence between tasks. In many
cases, the IDEFO model denoted an interdependence which seemed more
appropriately termed a feedback or verification dependence rather than a
tight interdependence which is resolved in an iterative process of
negotiation. For example, in the crankshaft model, we expect to
conceptualize the manufacturing process, design it, and then validate it
(Tasks 35-37). However, their precedence relation indicates that they are
executed simultaneously. It makes sense to do it in the present order, but
not the other way around. What is needed is an explicit means of
differentiating between the various types of interdependent relationships.
In this case, we expect that there is some feedback from the design tasks to
the conceptualization tasks, but not complete precedence. This type of
information is important to capture in the design model and a means for
doing so is suggested below.
These matrix models of actual design and manufacturing activities
display the critical dependencies explicitly. When information is required
before it is available, the precedence appears as an above-diagonal element.
The insight provided in these matrix models allow the design manager to
choose which dependencies to address based on the potential for overall
improvement. It may be possible to eliminate some iteration by re-ordering
the activities or by building coordination into the early steps of the process.
These and other strategies are discussed in detail in , and are
Matrix Analysis Tools
The tools available for analyzing design matrices are detailed in ,
but are summarized here. One of the first analysis techniques which the
matrix representation facilitates is a re-sequencing of design activities
using precedence relations as a guide. This is referred to as partitioning
. This procedure attempts to maximize the availability of requisite
infc mation and identifies cases in which not all requisite information can
be made available. When this occurs, there is a cycle of information flow
which appears as a block centered about the diagonal of the matrix. This
procedure identifies which tasks are involved in cycles and are performed
iteratively. In exposing the structure of dependence, it also makes explicit
the relation between the activities. For example, tasks which must be
performed in series are differentiated from from tasks which can occur in
parallel. Figure 9 depicts a precedence matrix both before and after
X X •
• X X
X X •
Figure 9. Original and Partitioned Precedence Matrix
Extending the engineering insight can also lead to some design
strategies with managerial applications. Task interdependencies within
the blocks can be examined to help order activities. Knowing that an
activity is in a cycle and will be performed without all of its information, the
engineer can evaluate the nature of the interdependence to decide which
inputs will best serve to initialize the iterative cycle. This detailed analysis
of particular dependencies within iterative cycles is referred to as tearing
. The name implies the removal of an arc or dependence to initialize the
cycle. For example, in the matrix in Figure 9 above, the engineer might
evaluate the relationship between activities E, D, and H to determine which
dependence to tear.
The matrix representation easily identifies opportunities for
accelerating the design process using a concurrent engineering approach.
The precedence information contained in the matrix immediately exposes
the earliest start times for each of the activities relative to one another.
Certain dependencies may be eliminated by upstream coordination in
which the interface between two activities is agreed upon. We call this
artificial decoupling  which is intended to reduce long iterations found in
design activities. For example, if the nature of the dependence between
activities E and H above is such that it can be coordinated upstream, the
iterative block is reduced to three serial tasks. Strategically decoupling the
design into smaller sub-tasks can reduce the size of the working design
groups, and can have a dramatic impact on development performance [1,
A related issue involves putting more feedback into the matrix,
resulting in more inputs and coupling. An increased coupling strategy is
the essential basis of simultaneous engineering and design for
manufacture (DFM). In the traditional (sequential) design process,
depicted by the matrix in Figure 10a, the product designers would perform
their design tasks somewhat independently from the manufacturing
engineers. In the modern (concurrent) design process. Figure 10b, the
practice of DFM mandates that these two activities be performed
simultaneously. This is beneficial because the production expertise is
brought into the early design stages (often causing much iteration),
resulting in designs which are simpler to manufacture. However, the
added coupling in the design process in fact slows product development
considerably. Advocates of this philosophy would argue that overall design
time can still be reduced because the need for later (more lengthy) iteration
is therefore lessened. This is particularly true if the feedback from
manufacturing engineering to design was indeed present in the original
design procedure. This feedback is shown in Figure 10a by the + marks
which depict redesign activity addressing the production problems which
Design Valve Train
Design Cylinder Head
• + +
X X pi
XX X •
Design Valve Train
Design Cylinder Head
I ' '■
X • X X
X X •
I X X X ♦ I
Figure 10. Sequential and Concurrent Design Procedures
Matrix Improvements and Applications
One shortcoming of the representations and techniques presented
above is the assumption that all task relations are equal. No attempt is
made to quantify amounts of information transferred between tasks in the
matrix. It is reasonable to expect that certain dependencies will be stronger
than others, or that certain transfers of information will be critical. In the
design precedence matrix, task interactions are not differentiated from one
We aim to embody some information about the tasks'
interdependencies into the matrix itself and to incorporate this dimension
into the analysis techniques applied to the design process. The binary
design structure matrix can be vastly improved by having the matrix
elements reflect any of a number of different measures about the relation
between tasks or the task's relation to the entire design process. These
numerical measures can reflect quantity of information transferred
between tasks, sensitivity of tasks to incomplete data, or other quantities.
One such numerical scoring is based on an estimate of the quantity of
information transferred between tasks. This would allow us to differentiate
between different degrees of interdependence and would significantly
clarify the models. Simple verifications and feedbacks can be differentiated
from strict precedence which requires iteration and negotiation. By
attaching numerical data to the precedence data, the matrix can represent
more information than it presently does. The additional advantage to this
quantitative model is the number of analysis tools which can be applied to
it. With the enhanced representation comes additional capability to suggest
For example, a sequence can be scored based on the quantity of
information that must be approximated because it is not available when it is
required. If a particular ordering requires too much information to be
assumed, other sequences can be generated and scored. These scores allow
comparisons of different design structures using a common metric. A
numerical algorithm can be aimed at minimizing a certain score. The
score can be tailored to use a particular metric most appropriately. For
example, if one were to measure the certainty with which a particular piece
of information could be approximated (perhaps based on previous
experience), it would be best to maximize the minimum above diagonal
element. These heuristics can easily be changed to accommodate various
measures of task interdependence.
An example of a numerical design structure matrix is presented in
Figure 11. In this example, a matrix has been constructed to demonstrate
the power of numerical analysis techniques. A twelve by twelve precedence
matrix has been converted from binary dependencies to numerical metrics
of interdependence. Analysis was performed on the matrix using two
methods: (1) standard algorithms which consider all dependencies equal
and (2) numerical algorithms which rely upon an enhanced information
Figure 11. Numerical Design Structure Matrix
In this example, the numerical goal was to minimize the sum of the
above diagonal elements weighted by the distance from the diagonal.
Compare the results from standard partitioning to the output from the
numerical algorithms. The results are significantly different and lead to
The different results suggest different design management
strategies. In the binary matrix, Task G's dependence on Task E would not
be considered a strategic one which could impact the execution of the
design activity. However, the numerical matrix provides additional insight
which could lead to a design organization pictured in Figure 12.
Recognizing this tear in the binary matrix would have required much
insight or experimentation, while in the numerical matrix, the leverage of
this tear is more apparent.
Figure 12. Tear Suggested by Numerical Matrix
The enhanced matrix representation will capture significantly more
information in an easily usable form. The enhanced representation
capable of handling measures of task interdependence provides enough
flexibility to be used in many scenarios and at different levels. A parameter
level matrix might measure sensitivity of a parameter to its input. These
numerical matrix representations can be analyzed using any number of
numerically based tools which utilize the information appropriately to
identify both engineering and management improvements.
The work reported here is a comparison of existing design
representation techniques. The need for good models has been prompted by
an increasing interest in executing and managing the design activity in the
most effective manner. As different representations of design have been
utiHzed, limitations with existing techniques have been exposed. Using a
precedence matrix to model design activities at General Motors has aided
our understanding of the complex interactions which occur during the
design process. As the study of the design has become more sophisticated,
we have found that enhancements to this representation are necessary.
The proposed representation based on a numerical precedence matrix
incorporates the qualities of a good representation outlined above. The
flexibility and clarity of the numerical matrix format provide a platform
from which to address questions which are relevant to improving the
This research is funded jointly by several sources including the
National Science Foundation, the General Motors Corporation, and the
MIT Leaders for Manufacturing Program, a partnership involving eleven
major US manufacturing firms and MIT's engineering and management
[I] D. G. Ancona and D. E. Caldwell. "Demography and Design:
Predictors of New Product Team Performance", Working Paper, MIT
Sloan School of Management, no. 3078-89, September 1989.
 T. A. Black. A Systems Design Methodology Applied to Automotive
Brake Design, S.M. Thesis, MIT, 1990.
 T. A. Black, C. H. Fine and E. M. Sachs. "A Method for Systems
Design Using Precedence Relationships: An Application to
Automotive Brake Systems", Working Paper, MIT Sloan School of
Management, no. 3208-90, October 1990.
 J. Corbett. "Design for Economic Manufacture", Annals of C.I.R.P.
vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 93, 1986.
 S. D. Eppinger. Model-Based Approaches to Managing Concurrent
Engineering. International Conference on Engineering Design,
 S. D. Eppinger, D. E. Whitney, R. P. Smith and D. A. Gebala.
Organizing the Tasks in Complex Design Projects. ASME Design
Theory and Methodology Conference, Chicago, IL, 1990.
 D. A. Gebala and S. D. Eppinger. 'Methods for Analyzing Design
Procedures", Working Paper, MIT Sloan School of Management, no.
3280-91, April 1991.
 F. Harary. Graph Theory. Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass., 1969.
 D. M. Himmelblau. "Decomposition of Large Scale Systems, Part 1:
Systems Composed of Lumped Parameter Elements", Chemical
Engineering Science, vol. 21, pp. 425-438, 1966.
 G. Kron. 'Diakoptics', Piecewise Solution of Large Scale Systems of
Equations, Ph.D. Thesis, University of Texas, Austin, 1963.
[II] W. P. Ledet and D. M. Himmelblau. "Decomposition Procedures for
the Solving of Large Scale Systems", Advances in Chemical
Engineering, vol. 8, pp. 185-254, 1970.
 F. K. Levy, G. L. Thompson and J. D. Wiest. "The ABC's of the
Critical Path Method", Harvard Business Review, vol. 41, 5, pp. 98 -
 D. A. Marca and C. L. McGowan. SADT: Structured Analysis and
Design Technique. McGraw Hill, New York, 1988.
 J. B. Quinn. "Managing Innovation: Controlled Chaos", Harvard
Business Review, pp. 73-84, May-June 1985.
 J. L. Rogers. DeMAID: A Design Manager's Aide for Intelligent
Decomposition User's Guide. NASA Technical Memorandum
101575, March, 1989.
 D. T. Ross. "Structured Analysis (SA): A Language for
Communicating Ideas", IEEE Transactions on Software
Engineering, vol. SE-3, no. 1, January, pp. 16-34, 1977.
 D. T. Ross. "Douglass Ross Talks about Structured Analysis", IEEE
Computer Magazine. 1985.
 R. W. H. Sargent and A. W. Westerberg. "'Speed-Up' in Chemical
Engineering Design", Trans. Instn. Chem. Engrs. vol. 42, T190-T197,
 M. Sequeira. Use of the Design Structure Matrix in the Improvement
of a Vehicle Development Process, Master's Thesis, MIT, 1991.
 D. V. Steward. Systems Analysis and Management: Structure,
Strategy, and Design. Petrocelli Books, New York, 1981.
 D. V. Steward. Using Information Flow to Manage the Design of
Systems. Portland International Conference on Management of
Engineering and Technology, Portland, Oregon, October, 1991.
 J. N. Warfield. "Binary Matrices in System Modeling", IEEE
Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, vol. SMC-3, no. 5,
September, pp. 441-449, 1973.
 J. D. Wiest and F. K. Levy. A Management Guide to PERT/CPM.
Prentice-Hall, Englewood CHffs, New Jersey, 2nd Edition, 1977.
 P. H. Winston. Artificial Intelligence. Addison-Wesley, Reading,
NOV. 1 9 1992
' APR. 08 IS 93
f^DV 1 8 200!
MIT LIBRARIES DUPl
3 TDflO DDbflb2M3 4