Research Papers

Modeling the Effect of Product Architecture on Mass-Collaborative Processes

[+] Author and Article Information
Qize Le

School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164panchal@wsu.edu

Jitesh H. Panchal1

School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164panchal@wsu.edu


Corresponding author.

J. Comput. Inf. Sci. Eng 11(1), 011003 (Mar 30, 2011) (12 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3563054 History: Received January 04, 2010; Revised November 24, 2010; Published March 30, 2011; Online March 30, 2011

Traditional product development efforts are primarily based on well-structured and hierarchical product development processes. The products are systematically decomposed into subsystems that are designed by dedicated teams with well-defined information flows. Over the last 2 decades, a new product development approach called mass-collaborative product development (MCPD) has emerged. The fundamental difference between a traditional product development process and a MCPD process is that the former is based on top-down decomposition while the latter is based on evolution and self-organization. The paradigm of MCPD has resulted in highly successful products such as Wikipedia, Linux, and Apache. Despite the success of various projects using MCPD, it is not well understood how the product architecture affects the evolution of products developed using such processes. Toward addressing this gap, we present an agent-based model to study the effect of product architectures in MCPD processes. The model is executed for different architectures ranging from slot architecture to bus architecture and the rates of product evolution are determined. The agent-based modeling approach allows us to study how (a) the degree of modularity of products and (b) the sequence of decoupling affect the evolution time of individual modules and overall products developed through MCPD processes. The approach is presented using the architecture of mobile phones as an illustrative example. This approach provides a simple and intuitive way to study the effects of product architecture on the MCPD processes. It is helpful in determining suitable strategies for product decomposition and module decoupling, and in identifying the product architectures that are suitable for MCPD processes.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

An example of a product model for a mobile phone

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Figure 2

Illustration of rework

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Figure 3

Illustration of module modularity

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Figure 4

Example of the evolution of different modules

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Figure 5

Example of evolution of the entire product over time

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Figure 6

Decomposition of the mobile phone to identify its modules

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Figure 7

Examples of (a) strong dependence: the upper case and the lower case, (b) medium dependence: the upper case and the main board, and (c) weak dependence: the upper case and the antenna

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Figure 8

Evolution of modules in architecture A

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Figure 9

Evolution of modules in architecture J

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Figure 10

Comparison of evolution of products with different architectures

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Figure 11

The relationship of degree of modularity and evolution time

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Figure 12

The effect of module modularity on the evolution time of three modules

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Figure 13

Comparison of different decoupling sequences

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Figure 14

The effect of changing the (a) number of participants, (b) value, and (c) cost on the growth of products with architecture J



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