Testing in the incremental design and development of complex products

Tahera, Khadija; Wynn, David C.; Earl, Chris and Eckert, Claudia M. (2019). Testing in the incremental design and development of complex products. Research in Engineering Design, 30(2) pp. 291–316.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00163-018-0295-6


Testing is an important aspect of design and development which consumes significant time and resource in many companies. However, it has received less research attention than many other activities in product development, and especially, very few publications report empirical studies of engineering testing. Such studies are needed to establish the importance of testing and inform the development of pragmatic support methods. This paper combines insights from literature study with findings from three empirical studies of testing. The case studies concern incrementally developed complex products in the automotive domain. A description of testing practice as observed in these studies is provided, confirming that testing activities are used for multiple purposes depending on the context, and are intertwined with design from start to finish of the development process, not done after it as many models depict. Descriptive process models are developed to indicate some of the key insights, and opportunities for further research are suggested.

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