SUNConferences, COMA '13

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Ambiguity and Uncertainty of Requirements in Product Development
Eric Lutters, Fred Van Houten

Last modified: 2013-08-20


In design engineering, there are considerable discrepancies between academic theory and industrial practice. As concerns the design methods and working methods, a considerable part of the inconsistencies is caused by the fact that in everyday practice, decision making is inherently and inevitably based on fully expressed information as well as on incomplete, unstructured, unreliable or even faulty information. It is the task of the development team to adequately find a feasible solution by contextualizing all design decisions in the overall development cycle. In this, preserving an overview of the development cycle with its different stakeholders, viewpoints, goals, mechanisms and levels of aggregation may be one of the foremost challenges for product developers.

The complexity engendered by the myriad decisions that constitute any development cycle can be addressed along two lines, deploying human creativity of product developers and computer power for routine tasks respectively. However, this publication argues that it is the fluent amalgamation of the two that will benefit development cycles the most. In order to achieve this, first and foremost the content and context of the development task must be established adequately at the appropriate levels of detail and aggregation. The publication illustrates how a requirement specification can do this, while simultaneously becoming a living and evolving constituent of a development cycle.

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