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Estimating design eort for the compressor design department: a case study at Pratt & Whitney Canada

Adil Salam, Nadia Bhuiyan and Gerard Jan Gouw, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Concordia University, Canada Syed Asif Raza, College of Business and Economics, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar The eort required in a design project not only impacts the nal cost, but also the project lead-time. This paper presents a case study carried out with the collaboration of Pratt & Whitney Canada, a global leader in the design and manufacturing of aircraft engines. The study uses a parametric modeling approach for the purpose of design eort estimation of an integrated blade-rotor lowpressure compressor (IBR LPC) fan. Later the model is validated and is utilized for the estimation of the design eort. A sensitivity analysis is carried out and the impact of various factors considered in the parametric model is also discussed. 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Keywords: engineering design, case study, modelling

ow long it takes to complete a project is a fundamental question asked by project managers. To accurately estimate the time required to complete a project would resolve a lot of problems related to forecasting, scheduling, bidding, and reputation. A case study performed by Bounds (1998) in the form of a survey given to many American companies on the subject of project management stated that only 26% of the projects completed in the US were on time and within budget. Moreover, research by Norris (1971) and Murmann (1994) pointed out the unexpected or underestimated cost of the projects was between 97% and 151% more than the original estimate. It is even more drastic in the schedule, running from 41% to 258% later than originally estimated. These inaccurate estimates would sometimes lead to the termination of projects resulting in the company incurring huge costs and waste of eort of their resources, Bronikowski (1986). If a new product is being launched, the time to market is essential. Missing the target schedule could result in failing to launch the new product with competitors taking control of the market, Ulrich and Eppinger (1995).

Corresponding author: Adil Salam a_salam@encs.

Companies are constantly trying to properly manage their resources, and develop schedules for them by trying to anticipate the required design eort. 0142-694X $ - see front matter Design Studies 30 (2009) 303e319 doi:10.1016/j.destud.2008.10.003 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Design eort is dened as the amount of time, in terms of person-hours, required to complete a task or project; understanding this is essential. When an approximation of design eort is the same as the actual eort, within a certain acceptable degree of error, then the ability to schedule, forecast, and conduct a feasibility study, will become much easier. There are several studies reported in the literature which identify that underestimation of design eort is a major cause of delays and budget cost errors (Thamhain and Wilemon, 1986; Colmer et al., 1999; Bashir and Thomson, 2004). Phan et al. (1988) discussed improvement issues in project management which not only minimize the project cost but also its leadtime. Bashir and Thomson (1999a) showed that the problem of underestimation is due to lacking in a comprehensive estimation procedure for the lead-time. Bashir and Thomson (1999b) also suggested a model to estimate design eort based on the product complexity. The product complexity was assumed to be a metric that depends on the number of functions and the depth of their functional trees. Later, Bashir and Thomson (2004) suggested a parametric model to estimate the time required to design hydroelectric generators for General Electrics (GE). They analyzed 15 designs made over 5 years. The focus of our paper is on the parametric model that was developed to estimate design eort for an aerospace company. As discussed by several authors (Norris, 1971; Bronikowski, 1986; Murmann, 1994; Ulrich and Eppinger, 1995; Bounds, 1998; Colmer et al., 1999), the importance of understanding the amount of time, resources, and cost required to complete a project is essential. The parametric model developed can be adapted to be applied to other domains since the general concepts of developing a parametric model to estimate the design eort or even the cost are the same for other industries as well. Even though we develop a model for a very specic application, the methodologies utilized, and even some of the selected factors, can be applied in a general fashion. The model can assist in estimating the eort, help on taking make/buy decisions, and seeing whether taking on a certain project is feasible for the company. The rest of the paper is organized as follows; Section 1 presents the methodology utilized, it gives an overview of the component studied, as well as the departments involved to design it. Section 2 introduces the model of design eort estimation, including a discussion of the prominent factors that are used in parametric modeling, followed by an overview of the jackknife and data masking techniques used for modeling. The development of the regression based parametric modeling and a detailed analysis, including a sensitivity analysis is presented in Section 3. Finally, the conclusions and suggestions for future research are identied in Section 4.


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Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) is a global leader in the design and manufacture of aircraft engines. The company is interested in quantifying the design eort of various departments for engine components. A parametric model was therefore developed to estimate the eort (in terms of person-hours) required to design an integrated blade-rotor low-pressure compressor (IBR LPC) fan.


Compressor fan design

The estimation model is applied to the design of a component in the compressor module of a certain class of turbo fan engines. The compressor module sucks in the air and sends it through a compression stage in which, in some cases, the air is compressed up to a factor of 30 (PilotFriend, 2000). The compressed air is sent to the combustion chamber, where the air is mixed with fuel and burned. Then, it will pass into the turbines and the heat will be converted into thrust, allowing the aircraft to move. Figure 1 shows a typical engine highlighting the compressor and turbine model, consisting of the low and high pressure compressor and turbine. The component that is being studied is the integrated blade-rotor low-pressure compressor (IBR LPC) fan, which will be abbreviated as CF. The CF is responsible for guiding the air into the compressor module. A typical compressor fan is shown in Figure 2. The design of the CF is a complex process which involves expertise from several departments. There are four key departments that together carry out the great majority of the work for the design of the CF.


Compressor design departments

The four departments for which parametric models are developed are the following: 1. Compressor design department 2. Compressor aerodynamics department

Figure 1 Compressor and turbine module (PilotFriend, 2000)

A case study to estimate design eort


Figure 2 Compressor fan (Air Force Research Laboratory, 2006)

3. Compressor structures (analytical) department 4. Compressor drafting department The design department is responsible for the overall design of the component. This department ensures that all components mesh well with the rest of the engine. They use CAD/CAM software (CATIA) for designing the components. The aerodynamics department is responsible for the prole of the blades. They run various types of analyses to make sure that the airow follows the path most favorable to the performance of the engine, while maintaining a high level of safety. The analytical department takes input from the previous two departments and is responsible for ensuring that the part is durable and is able to pass all the various tests, such as stress analysis, foreign object damage, blade o, etc. Finally, the drafting department is responsible for developing detailed drawings for the component, while ensuring that the design conforms to manufacturing standards. This research presented in this paper is that of the compressor design department.

Design eort estimation model

The design eort estimation model was developed using data provided on seven specic Design Jobs (DJs) by PWC for the IBR LPC fan for a certain class of turbo fan engines. The model presented was used by Bashir and Thomson (2004). The model, which was applied and later, used to estimate the design time for hydro projects at GE and it showed promising results. The design eort estimation equation is shown below:


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b E aPCb Dc1 Dc2 /Dcm 1 2 m where, b E, estimated design eort in hours PC, product complexity Dm, eort driver (factor m) a, b, cm, constants (weights) estimated from historical data.

This research presents a modied version of the aforementioned model. While the earlier model uses product complexity as a driver of eort, it is omitted in this research since the model is applied to a specic type of component in the same engine family for PWC; hence product complexity is not a variable. The proposed design eort estimation equation is shown below: b E a0 Da1 Da2 /Dam 1 2 m 2

It is essential to determine the principal factors that may have signicant eect on design eort estimation. After extensive interviews and discussions with managers, designers, and project engineers at PWC, the following four factors, that will be used as variables for the parametric model, were selected as the eort drivers to be used for this model: 1. 2. 3. 4. Type of design (TD) Degree of change (DC) Concurrency (Con) Experience of departmental personnel (DE)


Type of design

When designing a component, the eort will naturally depend on the type of design (TD). An initial design will likely not require the same amount of time as a redesign. In this regard, each design was assigned one of the following attributes. 1. Initial design / 1 2. Redesign / 2 An initial design would be the rst design being made for a certain type of engine. A redesign would be a modication to the initial one. There could be various types of redesign. For example minor changes may be required to reduce the weight (cost) of the part, or major changes may be required for certication purposes.


Degree of change

The next factor considered was the degree of change (DC). This factor is used to attribute a value to the level of rework created from the initial design to a redesign,

A case study to estimate design eort


or from a redesign to a second redesign. If there is a major change to the initial design, the amount of rework generated would be expected to be greater than if were a minor change. In fact, in some cases, a major change resulted in more eort than the initial design. Thus, there were dierent values attributed to the designs. 1. Initial design / 1 2. Redesign with minor modications / 2 3. Redesign with major modications / 3



Winner et al. (1988) denes concurrent engineering (CE) as the integration of inter-related functions at the outset of the product development process in order to minimize risk and reduce eort downstream in the process, and to better meet customers needs. Furthermore, various sources such as Loch and Terwiesch (1998), Yassine et al. (1999), Joglekar et al. (2001), Yassine and Braha (2003), Bhuiyan et al. (2004) state that CE reduces the overall lead-time to design components, PWC also works in integrated product development teams, where CE is highly practiced. However, it is important to understand the level of concurrency involved in the design, because it has been proven by several sources such as Bhuiyan et al. (2004), Wang and Yan (2005), Jun et al. (2005) that CE also results in rework which will add to the amount of eort required to design the component. Concurrency in this paper is dened as the average percent of the amount that the other departments (D2eD9) are working with the compressor design department (D1) in each time period. The concurrency values for D1 were calculated for each of the j (seven) design jobs (DJs). Each of the n periods was given a percentage weight from 0 to 100 for the percent concurrent that D1 was with others designing the component. Table 1 shows the concurrency values calculated for DJ A. As can be seen from the Table 1 the net concurrency value for DJ A would be:

Table 1 Concurrency matrix for DJ A

Dept/Period D1 D2 D3 D4 D5 D6 D7 D8 D9 cj

1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.33

2 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0.50

3 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 0.75

4 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 0.75

5 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0.88

6 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 0.75

7 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.00

8 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 0.75

9 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 0.88


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0:33 0:50 0:75 0:88 0:75 1:00 0:75 0:88 0:73 9

This shows that there is a high level of concurrency (73%) with DJ A and all the other DJs. The net concurrency values of all of the seven DJs are shown in Table 2.


Experience of departmental personnel

The experience of the person working on the job plays a major role when determining the amount of time s/he will require to complete the task. Naturally, a person having several years of experience working on the design or analysis of the component will be expected to complete the task quicker than a person with very little or no experience at all. The attributes for experience (DE) were assigned for dierent ranges of years of experience as can be seen below: 1. 0e2 years of experience / 1 2. 3e4 years of experience / 2 3. 5 years of experience / 3 If there is more than one person in a department having dierent levels of experience, then the experience level for a particular job will be calculated from the weighted average of experience from all the n persons working on the design job. This can be seen from the following equation:
n X % hours of i)experience of i i1


2.5 Jackknife technique

The multiple linear regression model (MLRM) is used for parametric modeling of design eort. In the case study carried out at PWC, seven observations were available for the IBR LPC fan for the analysis. The jackknife technique was used to determine the regression coecients of each of the parameters considered in the regression based parametric model.
Table 2 Concurrency values


Con 0.73 0.65 0.66 0.83 0.69 0.71 0.70

A case study to estimate design eort


Table 3 Values for all DJs


TD 1 2 2 1 2 2 1

DC 1 2 3 1 2 3 1

Con 0.73 0.65 0.66 0.83 0.69 0.71 0.70

DE 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 2.25 2.65 2.44

ACT 259.07 121.39 288.73 249.98 462.65 480.04 734.14

The jackknife technique was originally a computer-based method for estimating biases and the standard errors. It was pointed out by Efron and Tibshirani (1994) that Maurice Quenouille initially proposed the jackknife technique in the mid 1950s. The technique is commonly used not only to improve the problem of biased estimation due to small sample size, but also in situations where the distribution for the data is hard to analyze. In this technique, the data is divided into sub-samples, and the sub-samples are obtained by deleting one observation at a time. The calculations are carried out for each sub sample. Given a data set x (x1, x2, x3,., xn), the ith jackknife sample xi is dened to be x with the ith data point removed. The pseudo-values, Psi, are determined using the following equation: b Psi ns b ns 1b where, Psi, pseudo-value for the entire sample omitting sub sample i ns, number of sub-samples b least squares estimator of the whole sample b, b i , least squares estimator for the entire sample omitting sub sample i b ~ The jackknife estimator, b is determined as follows: Psi ~ b i1 ns
ns P

Table 4 ln values for all DJs


ln (TD) 0.000 0.693 0.693 0.000 0.693 0.693 0.000

ln (DC) 0.000 0.693 1.099 0.000 0.693 1.099 0.000

ln (Con) 0.315 0.431 0.416 0.186 0.371 0.343 0.357

ln (DE) 1.099 1.099 1.099 1.099 0.811 0.975 0.892

ln (ACT) 5.557 4.799 5.665 5.521 6.137 6.174 6.599


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Table 5 Regression coefficients

Constants ln (a0) a1 a2 a3 a4

All 10.63 3.33 2.11 0.57 4.76

JackA 10.59 3.35 2.10 0.64 4.72

JackB 10.61 3.31 2.09 0.59 4.74

JackC 10.70 3.25 2.04 0.48 4.80

JackD 10.53 3.42 2.15 1.11 4.85

JackE 10.61 3.34 2.11 0.59 4.74

JackF 10.70 3.39 2.17 0.48 4.80

JackG 10.57 3.24 2.08 0.40 4.67

COEFJACK 10.62 3.33 2.11 0.61 4.76

2.6 Data masking

Due to condentiality, the name of the engines of the compressor fans being studied will not be disclosed. Moreover, the actual data acquired from PWC was masked using the general additive data perturbation (GADP) method suggested in Muralidhar et al. (1999). While this method will not be described in this paper, it should noted that the GADP method maintains the characteristics of the attributes of the original data in terms of linear combinations and the correlation of factors while using the masked values for these attributes. It is also free from several types of biases and maintains security of the masked attributes.


First we present the masked data for the seven DJs in Table 3. It should be noted as mentioned in Section 2.6 the values for the ACTs are masked. Furthermore, even though Section 1.2 states that four departments were studied, only the analysis for the compressor design department (D1) is presented in this paper. Following an earlier parametric modeling approach suggested in Bashir and Thomson (2004), a similar parametric model is proposed using the aforementioned factors. However, in order to incorporate the MLRM technique the following presentation is used.

Standardized residuals

0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 4.5 -0.2 -0.4 -0.6 -0.8 -1




Figure 3 Standardized residual plot

Predicted ln (ACT)

A case study to estimate design eort



ln (ACT)


Figure 4 SPC chart




Predicted ln (ACT)

b ln E lna0 a1 lnTD a2 lnDC a3 lnCon a4 lnDE

The natural logarithm (ln) values for all of the considered factors are required for the analysis. The ln values of the factors for the seven DJs can be seen in Table 4. Using the jackknife technique on the seven samples, the jackknife regression coecients (COEFJACK) generated to estimate the design eort can be seen in Table 5. From the jackknife values above the predicted value, PRED of the ln (ACT) is PREDlnACT 10:62 3:33)lnTD 2:11)lnDC 0:61)lnCon 4:76)lnDE

The MLRM can only be used if the linearity assumptions are observed (Kutner et al., 2004). Thus, the rst test of linearity is generating the scatter plot of the standardized residuals against the predicted values for the
Table 6 R2 values

Sample All JackA JackB JackC JackD JackE JackF JackG R2min rR2 min

R2 0.999 1.000 0.998 1.000 1.000 0.999 1.000 0.999 0.998 0.999


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Table 7 Relative error


ACT (hours) 259.07 121.39 288.73 249.98 462.65 480.04 734.14

PRED (hours) 264.09 121.66 283.32 244.18 461.63 489.20 724.80

Relative error (%) 1.94 0.22 1.87 2.32 0.22 1.91 1.27

regression. The standardized residuals should be within a value of 1, and are calculated with the following equation: Z3i 3i 3 s3 7

where, Z3i , standardized residual of observation i 3i , residual value of observation i 3, mean of residuals s3 , standard deviation of residuals The residual plot can be seen in Figure 3. As can be seen from Figure 3, the standardized residual values fall within the 1 threshold, and there are no curvilinear patterns, indicating a normal linear behavior. The residual plots were generated for all of the seven jackknife samples and they also behaved in a similar manner. Another graphical manner in statistically proving the validity of the MLRM assumptions is by creating Statistical Process Control (SPC) charts. The predicted values will be generated from the model will be compared against the actual masked values. According to Montgomery (1985) and many others, the values must fall within three standard deviations for the function to be considered statistically in control. The SPC chart showing the data points with the upper and lower control limits can be seen in Figure 4.
Table 8 Correlation matrix

Variables ln ln ln ln ln (TD) (DC) (Con) (DE) (ACT)

ln (TD) 1.000 0.945 0.688 0.152 0.182

ln (DC) 0.945 1.000 0.614 0.053 0.069

ln (Con) 0.688 0.614 1.000 0.161 0.094

ln (DE) 0.152 0.053 0.161 1.000 0.765

ln (ACT) 0.182 0.069 0.094 0.765 1.000

A case study to estimate design eort


Table 9 ANOVA to determine significant factors

Factor ln ln ln ln ln (a0) (TD) (DC) (Con) (DE)

All 0.000 0.001 0.001 0.107 0.000

JackA 0.007 0.019 0.020 0.182 0.013

JackB 0.017 0.050 0.055 0.324 0.031

JackC 0.007 0.022 0.025 0.243 0.013

JackD 0.004 0.010 0.010 0.103 0.007

JackE 0.017 0.044 0.042 0.324 0.031

JackF 0.007 0.020 0.024 0.243 0.013

JackG 0.010 0.037 0.030 0.464 0.025

As can be seen in Figure 4, the values fall within the control limits, indicating the function to be in statistical control. The SPC charts were generated for all of the seven jackknife samples and they all fell within their respective control limits. The next test to be fullled is the normality of error test. The test used for this considers r, which is the coecient of correlation. The value of r is calculated from the following equation: p r R2

The r-value has to be less than the critical value, rL of 0.898, Looney and Gulledge (1985). The coecient of determination, R2 values of the entire sample and all jackknife samples were calculated. The r-value was calculated from the minimum R2 value, since if it passes the test in the worst case, it would pass in all other cases. The calculated R2 values can be seen in Table 6. The r-value calculated was 0.999, greater than rL. Hence the data has a normal behavior for error. The model was then transformed back into the original b form as in (2) to estimate design eort, E shown below: b E D1 4:078 104 TD3:328 DC2:108 Con0:6107 DE4:762 9

It is important to note the accuracy of the model. Thus, the relative error for each of the DJs was calculated from the following equation.
Table 10 ANOVA to determine significant factors without considering concurrency

Factor ln ln ln ln (a0) (TD) (DC) (DE)

All 0.000 0.000 0.001 0.000

JackA 0.001 0.005 0.006 0.003

JackB 0.001 0.012 0.013 0.004

JackC 0.000 0.003 0.005 0.001

JackD 0.000 0.003 0.004 0.002

JackE 0.001 0.008 0.008 0.004

JackF 0.000 0.003 0.005 0.001

JackG 0.000 0.002 0.002 0.001


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9 8 7 6 5 4 3
TD 1 TD 2

Figure 5 Impact of the type of design on design eort

Predicted ln (ACT)

Design Jobs

Relative Errori 100)

b j E i ACTi j ; c i A; B; .; G ACTi


where, b E i , expected design eort for DJi ACTi, actual design eort for DJi For each of the DJs in D1, Table 7 shows the actual (masked) hours, the predicted hours from the model, and their respective relative errors. It can be seen that the model built was quite accurate with a maximum relative error of only 4.68%. Table 8 shows the correlation between all factors. Since the original data cannot be disclosed, it should be noted that the correlation of the unmasked data had a similar behavior to the masked one, as would be expected by using the GAPD model. Even though the model is quite accurate, it is nevertheless important to see if all the chosen factors are statistically signicant. The t-test was used for this. An analysis of variance (ANOVA) is conducted for this test. The probability that the value of t to be greater than the critical t (Pr > jtj) has to be less than or equal to 0.05, Kutner et al. (2004). If so, the factor is considered statistically

Predicted ln (ACT)

8 7 6 5 4 3
DC 1 DC 3

Figure 6 Impact of the degree of change on design eort

Design Jobs

A case study to estimate design eort


8 7.5

Predicted ln (ACT)

7 6.5 6 5.5 5 4.5

DE 2 DE 3

Figure 7 Impact of the experience of departmental personnel on design eort

Design Jobs

signicant. The ANOVA to determine the signicant factors for the entire sample as well as all the jackknife samples can be seen in Table 9. From Table 9 it can be seen that all of the factors are considered to be significant with the exception of concurrency. It should be noted that concurrency was initially considered as a factor. However, it can be inferred from the ndings that the present design jobs are highly concurrent and similar in value, as can noticed that all DJs are 69e83% concurrent. Even though studies of Joglekar et al. (2001), Bhuiyan et al. (2004), Jun et al. (2005) amongst many others, show that concurrency does aect design eort, the fact was that the DJs are similar in concurrency and the ANOVA would see it almost constant and rendered it to be an insignicant factor. Considering this fact, the analysis was repeated without considering concurrency. The new equation having a maximum relative error of 4.68% to estimate design eort would be b E NoCon 50; 255:94TD3:209 DC2:081 DE4:792 11

The ANOVA was repeated without considering concurrency as a factor and can be seen in Table 10. As can be seen from Table 10 the values of Pr > jtj fall well below the cuto level of 0.05. Thus all the factors are considered statistically signicant and the analysis is complete. Sensitivity analyses in the form of graphs, showing the main eect that each signicant factor has on the design eort are presented in Figures 5e7. Based on the results, tests conducted, and comparisons of the actual project data, it can be seen that the model generates accurate results. It meets the requirements of the MLRM and has a maximum relative error of 2.32%, and


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when concurrency is not considered, the maximum relative error slightly increases to 4.68%. From Figure 5, it can be seen that if the design was an initial one, it would take longer than that of a redesign, as would be anticipated since, even though a redesign will require some changes, it should not take as long as making a new design, especially if the redesign has only minor changes to be made. Figure 6 points out that the degree of change being major will require more time than a minor one, as could be understood that a major change to a design would took longer to complete than that of a minor one. Finally, Figure 7 identies, as would be expected, that the higher the net level of experience of the departmental personnel working on the design job, the less eort is required.


Determining design eort is essential to estimate the lead-time, cost, and manpower needed to complete a project. The product development process is a very complex process and it is dependent on many factors involved during the design process. Even though it is complicated to estimate the design eort needed for the development of a product, it is essential for the concerned personnel to know it precisely. This study utilizes a parametric modeling technique to estimate the design effort. Three design factors are considered to be important drivers of eort for this part: type of design, degree of change, and experience of departmental personnel. The model performed well according to a number of accuracy tests suggested in the paper. Comparison of the design eort estimation determined by the model is made with the actual design eort reported by PWC for the each of the seven design jobs. With the use of linear regression to develop the model to predict eort, the maximum error observed was 4.68%. Even though 4.68% (say 5%) is not insignicant, especially when the design jobs require a large amount of time to complete, it should be mentioned that this level of error can be used as a buer for management as well, so that they know that their actual values should not exceed 5% more than the predicted amount. Furthermore, in discussion with some project managers at PWC, they have indicated that since the design jobs are typically not longer than a few months, even having a model within an error of 10% would be considered reasonable for them. This research investigates a methodology that enables forecasting/prediction of the design eort and thus in turn the lead-time to complete a design project. Although the study is a case based method mainly specic to a product development process at PWC, the parameters used to model the problem are quite generic and are very amenable to be used in many applications where the use of parametric modeling is desired. The practical impact of this work would be on the companys resources, and technical work force allocation as well as the

A case study to estimate design eort


cost determination of the product. A limitation of this work would be the incapability to accurately forecast the design scenarios that are not encountered in data used to build the model. This inability can be encountered by the use of articial intelligence tools such as neural networks and reinforcement learning techniques. Currently the model is analyzed using standard statistical techniques. Furthermore there may be other factors that will be relevant to other components being studied. To improve and generalize the model, in the future, more eort drivers can be considered, such as uncertainty and product complexity.

The authors are indebted to Mr. Yvan Beauregard, from PWC, for his assistance and support.

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Design Studies Vol 30 No. 3 May 2009

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A case study to estimate design eort