Date of Award

Summer 2003

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

Committee Director

Han P. Bao

Committee Member

Sebastian Bawab

Committee Member

Keith Williamson

Committee Member

Charles Keating


By the mid-1990's, the importance of early introduction of new products to both market share and profitability became fully understood. Thus, reducing product time-to-market became an essential requirement for continuous competition. Integrated Product Development (IPD) is a holistic approach that helps to overcome problems that arise in a complex product development project. IPD emphasis is to provide a framework for an effective planning and managing of engineering projects. Coupled with the fact that about 70% of the life cycle cost of a product is committed at early design phases, the motivation for developing and implementing more effective methodologies for managing the design process of IPD projects became very strong.

The main objective of this dissertation is to develop an optimization-based architecture that helps guiding the project manager efforts for managing the design process of complex integrated product development projects. The proposed architecture consists of three major phases: system decomposition, process re-engineering, and project scheduling and time-cost trade-off analysis. The presented research contributes to five areas of research: (1) Improving system performance through efficient re-engineering of its structure. The Dependency Structure Matrix (DSM) provides an effective tool for system structure understanding. An optimization algorithm called Simulated Annealing (SA) was implemented to find an optimal activity sequence of the DSM representing a design project. (2) A simulation-based optimization framework that integrates simulated annealing with a commercial risk analysis software called Crystal Ball was developed to optimally re-sequence the DSM activities given stochastic activity data. (3) Since SA was originally developed to handle deterministic objective functions, a modified SA algorithm able to handle stochastic objective functions was presented. (4) A methodology for the conversion of the optimally sequenced DSM into an equivalent DSM, and then into a project schedule was proposed. (5) Finally, a new hybrid time-cost trade-off model based on the trade-off of resources for project networks was presented.

These areas of research were further implemented through a developed excel add-in called “optDSM”. The tool was developed by the author using Visual Basic for Application (VBA) programming language.