Iterations as the result of social and technical factors: empirical evidence from a large-scale design project

Sebastiano A. Piccolo*, Anja M. Maier, Sune Lehmann, Chris A. McMahon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Understanding the role of iterations is an important topic within design research and design practice. Iterations often involve rework and thus often increased costs and completion time. Many theories and studies ascribe iterations either to the social or technical complexity of the design process. Here, we join the two perspectives by analysing metadata of more than 3000 documents produced during the design of a biomass power plant. We gain insights by using network analysis and by visualising the temporal unfolding of the design process. Subsequently, we develop a statistical model to rigorously test multiple hypotheses showing that iterations are a combination of technical and social factors. The paper shows that iterations increase when the number of stakeholders/participants increases and when external suppliers are involved. Iterations are lower in presence of integrative activities. Furthermore, the paper shows the existence of synergistic interactions between nodes’ in-going and out-going flow in both activity and team networks associated with an increase in iterations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in Engineering Design
Volume30
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)251-270
ISSN0934-9839
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

Keywords

  • Process architecture
  • Organisational structure
  • Iterations
  • Stakeholder
  • Modularity

Cite this

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title = "Iterations as the result of social and technical factors: empirical evidence from a large-scale design project",
abstract = "Understanding the role of iterations is an important topic within design research and design practice. Iterations often involve rework and thus often increased costs and completion time. Many theories and studies ascribe iterations either to the social or technical complexity of the design process. Here, we join the two perspectives by analysing metadata of more than 3000 documents produced during the design of a biomass power plant. We gain insights by using network analysis and by visualising the temporal unfolding of the design process. Subsequently, we develop a statistical model to rigorously test multiple hypotheses showing that iterations are a combination of technical and social factors. The paper shows that iterations increase when the number of stakeholders/participants increases and when external suppliers are involved. Iterations are lower in presence of integrative activities. Furthermore, the paper shows the existence of synergistic interactions between nodes’ in-going and out-going flow in both activity and team networks associated with an increase in iterations.",
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T1 - Iterations as the result of social and technical factors: empirical evidence from a large-scale design project

AU - Piccolo, Sebastiano A.

AU - Maier, Anja M.

AU - Lehmann, Sune

AU - McMahon, Chris A.

PY - 2019/4

Y1 - 2019/4

N2 - Understanding the role of iterations is an important topic within design research and design practice. Iterations often involve rework and thus often increased costs and completion time. Many theories and studies ascribe iterations either to the social or technical complexity of the design process. Here, we join the two perspectives by analysing metadata of more than 3000 documents produced during the design of a biomass power plant. We gain insights by using network analysis and by visualising the temporal unfolding of the design process. Subsequently, we develop a statistical model to rigorously test multiple hypotheses showing that iterations are a combination of technical and social factors. The paper shows that iterations increase when the number of stakeholders/participants increases and when external suppliers are involved. Iterations are lower in presence of integrative activities. Furthermore, the paper shows the existence of synergistic interactions between nodes’ in-going and out-going flow in both activity and team networks associated with an increase in iterations.

AB - Understanding the role of iterations is an important topic within design research and design practice. Iterations often involve rework and thus often increased costs and completion time. Many theories and studies ascribe iterations either to the social or technical complexity of the design process. Here, we join the two perspectives by analysing metadata of more than 3000 documents produced during the design of a biomass power plant. We gain insights by using network analysis and by visualising the temporal unfolding of the design process. Subsequently, we develop a statistical model to rigorously test multiple hypotheses showing that iterations are a combination of technical and social factors. The paper shows that iterations increase when the number of stakeholders/participants increases and when external suppliers are involved. Iterations are lower in presence of integrative activities. Furthermore, the paper shows the existence of synergistic interactions between nodes’ in-going and out-going flow in both activity and team networks associated with an increase in iterations.

KW - Process architecture

KW - Organisational structure

KW - Iterations

KW - Stakeholder

KW - Modularity

U2 - 10.1007/s00163-018-0301-z

DO - 10.1007/s00163-018-0301-z

M3 - Journal article

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SP - 251

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JF - Research in Engineering Design

SN - 0934-9839

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