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Barriers to Hinder Collaboration Within Product Development Teams and Their Solutions from Designer’s Perspective

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Title
Barriers to Hinder Collaboration Within Product Development Teams and Their Solutions from Designer’s Perspective
Author
Kim, Yeonghun
Advisor
Kim, Chajoong
Issue Date
2014-08
Publisher
Graduate school of UNIST
Abstract
To be successful in the market, industries have kept trying to introduce new products that satisfy users’ expectations. Under this circumstance, companies have realized and emphasized the importance of collaborative environment where different team members closely work together to meet the diverse expectations of the users. Many practitioners and researchers believe that high-level cross-functional integration can create an advantage of better product quality and shorter development time. However, although the collaborative teams have been developed with great optimism, it seems that diverse team members have confronted inevitable conflicts each other, and this often resulted in a big loss of company revenues considering the development time and cost. Based on the current situations, this research was focused on figuring out barriers within collaborative product development teams and developing a practical tool that can help improve the collaborative works between different team members. In order to understand current barriers in collaborative product development teams, literature review was first conducted and this was followed by a semi-structured interview with six designers. In the literature, different thought world, team disagreement, fairness, and team organization form were mainly mentioned as the main causes of conflicts, and, in the interview with designers, five common causes of conflicts were identified; different communication tools, different personality and preferences, political issues, lack of manager’s leadership, and separated working space. Most causes of conflicts between designers, engineers, and marketers were similarly found between the literature review and the interviews. However, newly emerging conflicts within different designers were also discovered according to the results of the interviews. This seems because that the designer’s area has been getting broaden and specialized. Especially, many conflicts occurred between product and UX designers by their duplicated work areas and prejudice. Based on the results, an idea workshop for developing a collaborative tool was carried out with graduate students studying industrial design. Finally, a collaborative toolkit was developed into two different ways. One is a conversation tool through which every team member including designers, managers, marketers, and engineers can start to discuss the conflicts within their team and come up with solutions for effective collaborative works, and the other is a common sense tool for creating and sharing common sense between product and UX designers. An expert interview and a focus group interview were followed to see the effectiveness and usability of the toolkit as final output.
Description
Department of Industrial Design
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