Estimating design effort needs of product design projects using captured expert knowledge – a proposed method

Alexander 'Freddie' Holliman, Avril Thomson, Abigail Hird

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The quick and accurate estimation of design effort can be make or break for all but the largest of product design consultancies. Traditional design project planning see designers being taken away from the metaphorical drawing board to spend time assessing project briefs and estimating workloads. Typically these designers base these estimates on their tacit knowledge and experience, and for the most part, they are accurate. However, this is time-consuming and therefore (indirectly) costly, as time spent planning, is not time spent designing. Many more sophisticated approaches for estimating design effort have been developed, but many require large bodies of past data and sophisticated analysis, such as artificial neural networks; and others have highly-specific use cases.

This paper proposes a new method to develop a design effort estimation tool for product design consultancies. This method captures the tacit knowledge and experience of design team members and the tool replicates it quickly and effectively; graphically modelling factors that influence design effort needs in product design projects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1391-1400
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Design Society
Early online date27 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2021
EventInternational Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 2021 - Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 16 Aug 202120 Aug 2021


  • project management
  • design management
  • organisation of product development
  • design effort estimation


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