The statement “Design is the evolution of information punctuated by decisions” first appeared in The Journal of Engineering Design in 2001(Ullman 2001). Now, ten years later, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) has evolved to do a superb job of managing design information and is moving toward robust decision management. This paper explores a decision-centric view of product development and implications for PLM capabilities needed to fully punctuate the entire product life cycle.
The points made in this paper are based almost entirely on the results of research into how people do design and make decisions. Some of the references are for work done by the first author beginning in the 1980s. His focus began with efforts aimed at understanding how engineers design products from a cognitive viewpoint and they matured to developing methods to support team decision making activities. This body of work was intended, from the beginning, to support systems that could manage design information – exactly what PLM does.


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