Skip to the content

Design should be managed as a physical process, too

Ballard, G and Koskela, LJ 2009, Design should be managed as a physical process, too , in: International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED'09, 24 - 27 August, 2009, Stanford, CA, USA.

Download (798kB) | Preview


The mainstream stand in textbooks on design and design and management is that design is a problem solving process, starting from the perceived problem and ending with a detailed solution. We contend that these accounts overlook one necessary and important conceptualization of design, namely design as a physical flow process. This view holds design as a spatio-temporal process, where information (on whatever media) is traversing through a network of designers and other stakeholders. Among the characteristics of a design process, its duration, cost and often output quality can only be explained through this view. Accordingly, it is important to manage design as a physical process, based on the unique features of this view. However, due to a relative neglect of this view of design we have the situation that practical prescriptions and approaches to design management contain, at most, partial or fragmentary methods and tools towards management of the physical process side. Fortunately, the theoretical and practical development of this concept carried out in the framework of production management can be advantageously used also for the design context. However, because of the fundamental differences between material production in design, the concepts emanating from production have to be adapted for being valid design. Thus, for example, while in material production time reduction is the primary goal for management, in design, besides design time reduction, the elimination of making-do in design tasks must be taken as equally significant goal. A framework for conceptualizing management of design as a physical process has been presented, and practical development and trailing of a number of related methods in the context of building design accounted. Future work is needed for developing a seamless set of methods for design management, incorporating the concept of design as a physical process, besides other requisite concepts.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: design, physical process, flow process, design structure matrix, Last Planner, pull-push
Themes: Built and Human Environment
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Schools > School of the Built Environment > Centre for Built Environment Sustainability and Transformation (BEST)
Journal or Publication Title: International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED'09
Publisher: University of Stanford
Refereed: Yes
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: LJ Koskela
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2014 17:52
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2015 23:57

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)


Downloads per month over past year