RHEA’s experts have been using concurrent design for nearly two decades to accelerate the early phases of complex engineering projects such as space programmes, defence systems, factory design and luxury yachts. Now, in this blog series, they share 10 key factors that contribute to the success of the approach.
By Gwendolyn Kolfschoten, Concurrent Design Expert
6: Three Steps to Achieve Commitment
In concurrent design, solutions to a problem should always be based on facts. But it is also important that the team supports the solution. This commitment ensures that solutions endure over time and that stakeholders cooperate in implementing them.
It is easier to promote commitment when stakeholders are actively involved in the design of the solution and the process is transparent. Further, it is important that different perspectives are openly considered during the design, that risks and concerns are carefully weighed up, that each decision is made explicitly and that stakeholders concur with the solution that is chosen.
Concurrent design does not require consensus, but stakeholders should have the opportunity to raise concerns and issues with respect to the design. In this way we ensure that the results of a concurrent design study are agreed upon by the mandated stakeholders.
Strong commitment equals sustainable results
Commitment is an indication of how sustainable the results will be. When participants indicate that they support a particular result or decision, that result can be used. Any result that has a high level of commitment from stakeholders will be more likely to stand the test of time because participants are less likely to withdraw their support and disregard the outcome.
To create commitment, three aspects are important: participation, transparency and agreement.
Step 1: Participation
The concurrent design process is very participative.
All mandated stakeholders are invited to be present and they are all actively involved in the process. Concurrent design stimulates ownership and requires each stakeholder to be responsible for their own domain of expertise. Each expert is explicitly encouraged to contribute using their expertise and experience, and to offer feedback to others from their domain perspective.
Step 2: Transparency
Transparency is achieved in two ways. First, all documents and data that were shared in the concurrent design study are saved in one central place for all participants. This can be done with any one of a multitude of document sharing solutions.
A further step is to work using models. By using COMET™, we can create a ‘single source of truth’ for all information and all stakeholders can have access to the integrated design model.
Second, for each concurrent design session, the discussion should be recorded in a ‘session log’. This session log includes detailed records of the actions assigned to each person, the decisions that were made and the key information that was shared. These session logs document all the outcomes of a study and are therefore more structured and detailed than regular meeting minutes.
Step 3: Agreement
Finally, it is important that all mandated stakeholders indicate that they approve and confirm the decisions that were made and the results and outcomes of each session and the overall study.
In concurrent design we do not write a written end statement or conclusion, but we do formulate an overall agreement, and ask all stakeholders to explicitly state their approval based on their mandate. By making the agreement explicit, their commitment becomes more sustainable in the long term.
- Ensure stakeholders are involved and invite them to actively review proposals.
- Make the process transparent.
- Make decisions and results explicit and verify every stakeholders’ commitment.