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A Networked Perspective on the Engineering Design Process: At the Intersection of Process and Organization Architectures

Updated: Apr 11

This is a summary of a Dissertation/Thesis authored by Dr. Pedro Parraguez, published in Zenodo (2015): 10.5281/zenodo.22785


The thesis presents a pioneering exploration into the engineering design process, emphasizing the inadequacy of traditional process models to address the inherent socio-technical complexity of engineering projects. By advocating for a networked perspective, the research unveils the intricate web of interactions that underpin the execution of engineering designs, highlighting how the actual design process unfolds within the dynamic interplay of process structure and composition. This networked approach sheds light on the actual design process architecture, encompassing the relationships and functional diversity among the people and activities involved.


Echoing the methodologies outlined in the Pattrnz article, this thesis underscores the significance of a nuanced understanding of organizational networks in unraveling and harnessing the potential embedded within engineering design processes. The developed Networked Process (NPr) Framework, with its multi-domain network approach, offers a comprehensive tool for dissecting and optimizing the engineering design process at various levels—from individual activities to the overarching process architecture.


This synergy between the networked perspective on engineering design processes and Pattrnz’s application of capability mapping and matchmaking to organizational development is evident. Both approaches recognize the critical role of network structures and compositions in enhancing process efficiency, fostering innovation, and improving project outcomes. Through detailed case studies, the thesis demonstrates the practical application and benefits of the NPr Framework, providing engineering design managers with unprecedented insights into their processes and enabling data-driven interventions to bolster process performance.


The alignment of these two bodies of work not only reinforces the applicability of network science in understanding and improving engineering design processes but also validates the core principles behind Pattrnz's platform. By offering a sophisticated model and analytical tools to map and analyze the actual architecture of design processes, the thesis contributes significantly to the field of Engineering Design and Engineering Systems Management. It lays the groundwork for future research into the interrelations between process architecture, behavior, and performance, potentially informing the ongoing development and refinement of Pattrnz’s services.


In summary, the CEO of Pattrnz, Dr. Pedro Parraguez' thesis not only enriches the academic discourse on engineering design processes but also aligns seamlessly with Pattrnz's mission to unlock organizational potential through a deep dive into the networks that define and drive these processes. This integrated perspective heralds a new era in both theoretical and practical approaches to managing complexity in engineering projects and beyond.


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