A design change is a modification to the design of a product or system. Design changes can happen at any stage in the product development process[1][2] as well as later in the product or system's lifecycle.

Design changes that happen early in the design process are less expensive when compared to those that take place after it is introduced into full-scale production. The cost of the change increases with its development time.[3] Fundamentally, design changes can be classified into pre production and post production changes. The pre-production changes can happen in the conceptual design stage, prototype stage, detailing stage, testing stage. The post -production stage changes can happen almost immediately the product is introduced into the production[4] or much later in the product lifecycle This might be due to many reasons including response to a changing market demand, uncovering of design faults that need to be corrected, the product or system not meeting stakeholder requirements, parts becoming obsolete or no longer available from suppliers, and so forth.[5] One of the tools to manage design changes is the House of Quality[6] which can help to trace the impacts of a proposed change to understand who and what will be affected.

One of the issues in handling design changes is that they propagate or 'ripple out' from the points of initiation. This is because, for example, a change to one part design will also require changes to others, so they can continue to fit together and work together to deliver a design's functionality. It is important to understand these ripple effects when deciding whether to accept a change request and when coordinating the change's implementation. A range of approaches have been developed to help predict and manage design change ripple effects.[7] Some are quite practical while others remain in the research domain.

See also


  1. ^ Xie, Helen (2001). "Tracking of design changes for collaborative product development". Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work in Design (IEEE Cat. No.01EX472). IEEE. pp. 175–180. doi:10.1109/CSCWD.2001.942253. ISBN 0-660-18493-1. S2CID 31097052.
  2. ^ William R. King (2015). Planning for Information Systems. Taylor & Francis. p. 373. ISBN 9781317462774.
  3. ^ Richard E. Westney (1997). The Engineer's Cost Handbook: Tools for Managing Project Costs. Marcel Dekker. p. 477. ISBN 9780203910016.
  4. ^ Carl T. DeMarco (2011). Medical Device Design and Regulation. ASQ Quality Press. pp. 71–72. ISBN 9780873898164.
  5. ^ Marc Annacchino (2003). New Product Development: From Initial Idea to Product Management. Elsevier Science. p. 318. ISBN 9780750677325.
  6. ^ John S. Oakland (2003). Total Quality Management. Butterworth-Heinemann. p. 95. ISBN 9780750657402.
  7. ^ Brahma, Arindam; Wynn, David C. (2023-01-01). "Concepts of change propagation analysis in engineering design". Research in Engineering Design. 34 (1): 117–151. doi:10.1007/s00163-022-00395-y. hdl:2292/62398. ISSN 1435-6066.

Further reading

  1. Hauser J R, Clausing D, "The House of Quality", Harvard Business Review