Set Based Design Methodology

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What is a Set Based Design Methodology

Is there a better name?

  • Modular design ownership
  • Black box design teams/methodology

A "Set Based Design Methodology" is informed by agile Project management processes, developed by Toyota, that permits independent features or components to have their own re-iterative development processes as long as the independent design processes operate within a defined set of criteria.

This permits the design process to continue indefinitely in a re-iterative process. The design owners are obligated to release working, complying, tested features or components, that Projects and can use as required. The Overall Project owners can choose the features or components they require and only pull them off the shelf once they are required, such as Prototyping, Implementation and production phases.

Practical example

Imagine a team responsible for the design of wheel breaking systems. They already have Drum and existing disk break technology. These components come with their design specifications and performance measurements. Components are designed to meet defined requirements. Such breaks have being manufactured for some time, they are are "Tried and Tested". A Project to build a new car can choose a break system that meets their requirements. However in the mean time the break specialists are developing a new technology breaking system. The new break system is expected to have better performance, longevity or are easier to repair. Set based design theory allows the design and development process to continue

Problems with Traditional Project methodologies

  • Traditional project methodologies "front load" the project design process, forcing project to commit to the exact components they will use when they eventually get to implementation. Unfortunately components are "baked" at the beginning of the process which makes design too short and on the critical path. Effective design can delay the whole project.
  • Lessons learned during the project and after implementation need to be recorded and passed on to future projects. It is harder to respond in an agile manner within a project and often the distance in time between the original design and the practical testing results in many of the Lessons learned not being applied.

Key advantages of Set based design

  • Components can be selected by a project in the initial design phase but the selection of which version can be delayed (potentially until a better one is available).
  • This allows a project to access the latest and greatest version of a feature or component
  • Alternatively this allows a choice of risk exposure by selecting any earlier well tested version
  • The designers can continue to design test and reiterate without long gaps between the beginning and the testing phases of a project

Projects can sponsor a design

Project which requires a new advanced component not already available can sponsor a component design process or improvement. When doing so the requirements should specify a "Minimum viable component" which the designers can deliver within the required time frame, however aspiration or stretch targets can be requested. Once the minimum viable component is designed and tested, The design process can continue indefinitely or until the last possible moment

The Role of feature and component design teams

  • Define and remain within the "design curves"
  • Client is any potential user of the Feature or component not just a specific project
  • Can respond to
  • Are best placed to decide when they need to "Fork" One design into one or more, or provide additional configuration options.
  • Can implement a continuous improvement process independent
  • It is easier to apply additional or alternative resources to a specific feature or component when it need not be disentangled from a specific project that depends upon it.

Application of Set based Design in The Habitat Project

Evolutionary design phase Working laboratory Future developments Open to revision or advancement

any designers dream, because it allows the design process the opportunity to review, take advantage of learings and