A product development approach advisor for navigating common design methods, processes, and environments

Shelby Stewart, Jack Giambalvo, Julia Vance, Jeremy Faludi, Steven Hoffenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


Many different product development approaches are taught and used in engineering and management disciplines. These formalized design methods, processes, and environments differ in the types of projects for which they are relevant, the project components they include, and the support they provide users. This paper details a review of sixteen well-established product development approaches, the development of a decision support system to help designers and managers navigate these approaches, and the administration of a survey to gather subjective assessments and feedback from design experts. The included approaches—design thinking, systems thinking, total quality management, agile development, waterfall process, engineering design, spiral model, vee model, axiomatic design, value-driven design, decision-based design, lean manufacturing, six sigma, theory of constraints, scrum, and extreme programming—are categorized based on six criteria: complexity, guidance, phase, hardware or software applicability, values, and users. A decision support system referred to as the Product Development Approach Advisor (PD Advisor) is developed to aid designers in navigating these approaches and selecting an appropriate approach based on specific project needs. Next, a survey is conducted with design experts to gather feedback on the support system and the categorization of approaches and criteria. The survey results are compared to the original classification of approaches by the authors to validate and provide feedback on the PD Advisor. The findings highlight the value and limitations of the PD Advisor for product development practice and education, as well as the opportunities for future work.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Decision support system
  • Design methods
  • Design processes
  • Engineering design
  • Product development

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