Integrated information management in complex product development

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: Where do companies begin their efforts when trying to improve information management in product development? In large companies involving many people, multiple processes and highly technological products several factors have an impact on efficiency. Interdisciplinary integration and structured information are two overall proposed key factors that have been identified as important to obtain efficient information management.Measurement of satisfaction level among information systems users is proposed as an angle of approach to identify key improvement areas from an operative perspective that are argued to be strategic for management to address. However, the need for adjustments to contextual prerequisites and a changing environment makes evaluation necessary prior to measurement. An evaluation framework is proposed to identify metrics that are tailored and kept in line with business and development strategies to ensure their relevancy.This research has aimed at taking a holistic approach to information management in complex product development. The research focus has been on the integration between engineering disciplines where software and electrical R&D departments at automotive companies have been the main source of the analysis material.Integrated information management entails support for activities within the engineering domain. Several strategies are discussed to manage trade-offs in organizations in order to succeed with integrated information management. A needs-based balance is one important approach proposed to resolve changing and conflicting needs. Furthermore, it is argued that operative and strategic goals should be allowed to co-exist.Providing the right infrastructure to support designers in their everyday work does not necessarily mean additional functionality to existing information systems or automated work activities by improved document templates. Rather, it is suggested that a shift in focus (from addressing detailed requirements management to reflecting on interrelationships between information objects and system inter-dependencies) would be a strong mechanism to succeed with information management. The transition into model-based development is argued to be a much needed change for organizations to obtain integrated information management, since a model-based approach is considered an important basis for structured information. Anticipated benefits with integrated information management are increased information availability, reduced information overflow, and enhanced communication and understanding of critical system dependencies