Evaluating Product Development systems using network analysis

Shawn T. Collins, Ali A. Yassine, Stephen P. Borgatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


This paper proposes the integration of two systems engineering analysis tools, the Design Structure Matrix (DSM) and Network Analysis (NA), to study task interactions in a Product Development Process (PDP). The DSM is a matrix-based systems engineering tool that analyzes task sequences to improve PDP execution. Using NA metrics to measure properties of information flow helps to identify important product development tasks and interactions that constrain PDP execution. Project managers can use these data to structure team integra- tion mechanisms or to identify coordinating mechanisms for groups of concurrently scheduled PDP tasks. Functional managers and process architects can use these data to identify impor- tant or overloaded tasks. They can also evaluate whether tasks like stage gates and design reviews are acting as effective information flow regulators in the PDP. This new Systems Engineering approach provides a rigorous decision support tool for managers who must alter ideal task sequences due to specific schedule, budget, and expertise constraints encountered on their projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-68
Number of pages14
JournalSystems Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Design Structure Matrix
  • Engineering process improvement
  • Network Analysis
  • Product Development execution
  • Task information flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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