Tipping point failure and robustness in single development projects

Tim Taylor, David N. Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Tipping point feedback structures can push a series of product development projects into firefighting mode in which rework overwhelms progress. Similar dynamics also threaten the performance of individual development projects. The current work extends previous tipping point dynamics research to single projects and demonstrates how a simple, common feedback structure can cause complex tipping point dynamics, trap projects in deteriorating modes of behavior, and cause projects to fail. Basic tipping point dynamics in single projects are described, demonstrated, and analyzed with a model. The concept of applying robustness to project design is preliminarily tested and system robustness to tipping point-induced failure is quantified for a simple project and analyzed with sensitivity analysis. Impacts of tipping points on project performance and future research opportunities concerning tipping point and robustness in project management are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-71
Number of pages21
JournalSystem Dynamics Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


Dive into the research topics of 'Tipping point failure and robustness in single development projects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this