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Modeling the Effect of Product Architecture on Mass Collaborative Processes: An Agent-Based Approach

[+] Author Affiliations
Qize Le, Jitesh H. Panchal

Washington State University, Pullman, WA

Paper No. DETC2009-86798, pp. 1163-1172; 10 pages
  • ASME 2009 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 2: 29th Computers and Information in Engineering Conference, Parts A and B
  • San Diego, California, USA, August 30–September 2, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4899-9 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3856-3
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


Traditional product development efforts are based on well-structured and hierarchical product development teams. The products are systematically decomposed into subsystems that are designed by dedicated teams with well-defined information flows. Recently, a new product development approach called Mass Collaborative Product Development (MCPD) has emerged. The fundamental difference between a traditional product development process and a MCPD process is that the former is based on top-down decomposition while the latter is based on evolution and self-organization. The paradigm of MCPD has resulted in highly successful products such as Wikipedia, Linux and Apache. Despite the success of various projects using MCPD, it is not well understood how the product architecture affects the evolution of products developed using such processes. To address this gap, an agent-based model to study MCPD processes is presented in this paper. Through this model, the effect of product architectures on the product evolution is studied. The model is executed for different architectures ranging from slot architecture to bus architecture and the rates of product evolution are determined. The simulation-based approach allows us to study how the degree of modularity of products affects the evolution time of products and different modules in the MCPD processes. The methodology is demonstrated using an illustrative example of mobile phones. This approach provides a simple and intuitive way to study the effects of product architecture on the MCPD processes. It is helpful in determining the best strategies for product decomposition and identifying the product architectures that are suitable for the MCPD processes.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME



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