Shifting the goal posts for design management in capital goods projects: ‘design for maintainability’
Two case studies of capital goods projects, both of which were faced with new forms of demand for their products, are reported in this paper. In both cases, the contracting organisations involved were adjusting to new customer requirements for the long-term provision of the services associated with the capital goods they normally produced, rather than for the capital goods themselves. While both contracting organisations recognised the need to re-focus their equipment design efforts, to reflect the need for long-term service reliability (both contracting organisations were tied to penalties associated with agreed service levels), they nevertheless responded differently to this challenge, and their differing responses reflected the differing natures of the extended networks which comprised both projects and the organisational architectures in which the projects were themselves embedded. The paper explores the differing opportunities and barriers to the management of design in complex projects presented by these two case studies. In so doing it points to the conclusion that successful design management in complex projects can depend upon the successful management of the (multiple) contexts in which design takes place.
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