Development of an Audit Tool for Communication in Product Development: The Communication Grid Method

Anja Maier, Claudia Eckert, P John Clarkson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Understanding and managing human communication in new development projects is critical in enabling companies to adapt to changing market demands. How to manage communication within and between teams when designing a product or a service has remained a challenge. To begin process improvement, each organization needs to understand the strengths and weaknesses of its own communication and identify where changes are necessary. It is argued that an assessment of communication at team-interfaces is a first step towards increasing the effectiveness of new product development management. This paper presents the research, development and application of an audit tool entitled the Communication Grid Method. It will show how the tool was formulated through a research project, which was aiming to understand and support communication processes within product development organizations. The development of the Communication Grid Method was driven by the research process and, as this paper will give an example of, validated through its application in industry. The paper describes the motivation and requirement elicitation from field studies and literature reviews. It will then illustrate the development of the method. Further, two application cases at the defense and civil arm of a large UK aerospace manufacturer will be presented. Implications for research into auditing communication in new product development and for industrial practice are presented. Avenues for further research conclude the paper.
Keyword: Maturity model,Action research,Communication Audit,Communication,Intervention,Performance assessment,New Product Development,Maturity grid,Aerospace,Design
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDevelopment of an Audit Tool for Communication in Product Development:
Publication date2008
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
Event2008 Academy of Management Annual Meeting - Anaheim, CA, United States
Duration: 8 Aug 200813 Aug 2008


Conference2008 Academy of Management Annual Meeting
CountryUnited States
CityAnaheim, CA
Internet address

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