THE ROLE AND IMPORTANCE OF STAKEHOLDERS IN PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT Patrik Nilsson and Björn Fagerström Engineering and Industrial Design Product and Production Development Chalmers University of Technology SE-412 96 Göteborg, Sweden
Abstract: Today, product development is a complex process: the designer continuously needs to consider new demands from different stakeholders and analyse how these demands can be fulfilled. Gathering and sharing stakeholder information is important, but is only beneficial if the information is used effectively. This is not a straightforward task. Information must be shared across design functions, and all involved need to develop a common understanding of the evolving design and the importance of particular stakeholders. This process relies to a large extent on the individual designer's intuition since there is lack of effective formal tools to support this. We argue in this paper the need for a holistic view, in order to manage all criteria, considering relevant perspectives and interests. To support this holistic view, we have developed a model that provides a common understanding for stakeholders involved, together with the requirements, functions and systems of the product being designed. This model will help facilitate the information sharing between members of extended design teams. Based on this, the model will support the decision-making process, and help the design team balance the interests of different stakeholders and the related functions. The model has been applied in an industrial case study. Key words: product modelling, stakeholders, requirements management, and information sharing.
Introduction and motivation
Product development is one of the most important activities in an industrial company. It is a key for future success. The ability to make competitive scenarios of future market demands and to continuously adapt to new demands is also a critical factor for success. Furthermore, it is well accepted that satisfied customers are a key characteristic for success in the market. However, although we need to focus on customer requirements, we must not in so doing forget to look at profitability (Wallace, 1995). Therefore, we argue, it is important to consider other stakeholder needs and not only the voice of the customer in order to create a wellbalanced product. In this process, we need to identify the relevant stakeholders and their relation to the product. Furthermore, we must determine the requirements of each stakeholder in a life cycle perspective. Normally, there are conflicting requirements from different stakeholders. These have to be negotiated and balanced in order to develop a competitive product. Despite the fast development of information technology, there are still few software tools that support the dynamic early phases where stakeholder needs and requirements are identified and conceptual solutions are evaluated against the requirements. The development
of CAD systems has been driven by the attempt to define the product towards manufacturing and assembly, at the neglect of other aspects of the design process. Furthermore, most commercial CAD systems are successful in dealing with geometric information, rather than aspects of the design process (such as function analysis, concept generation and exploration). However, commercial systems for Product Data Management (PDM) have lately been developed to support a more general handling of documents and objects created during a design process. To support the dynamic early phases, a model is needed that provides a common understanding of involved stakeholders, together with the requirements, functions and related sub-systems. This paper aims to describe a holistic model that provides a common understanding of different stakeholders involved, together with the requirements and the evolving design. The model is based on objects instead of text documents, as are frequently used. This will give better transparency,...
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