There is the potential for interaction(s) between every pair of components that comprise a product or system. These interactions are governed by the scientific principles/laws of our universe, i.e. any two components can and will interact in every way made possible/demanded by the laws of physics, chemistry, biology, human sciences, etc.
Interactions are real-time behaviors of product or system, but they are defined by the decisions that are made when the system is designed, set up by the fabrication/implementation tasks that realize this design and triggered when the system is deployed/used in an operational context. Make a different decision (commit to implement a different alternative) and the resulting set of interactions will be changed for better or worse.
The facts stated above have always been true, but the importance of proactively managing interactions is growing. Factors contributing to this include:
- Increasing product/system complexity: Creates a combinatorial explosion of possible interactions to consider.
- Increasing cost of design rework from unplanned interactions: A value-destroying, parasitic or unsafe interaction that is discovered late in the development process can sink a product.
- Increasing packaging density: Previously ignored interactions become significant as the spacing between components is reduced.
- New technology combinations: Create novel interactions that need to be understood but are beyond the experience of the design team.
Within our Decision Driven® Solutions Framework, our Decision Breakdown Structure tool provides a mechanism to proactively manage the decisions that create all interactions. The Decision Trace Tool (DTT) can capture the consequences of each decision, i.e. the ripple effect of any alternative chosen for implementation. Our new N-Squared Interaction Manager adds the ability to explicitly define, analyze and communicate all types of interactions that result from these decisions. Used in combination, these tools can give you a fighting chance to manage the interactions that may drive the success or failure of your next product.
More to come …