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The Right Fidelity

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The Right Fidelity: designedly representations that enhance multidisciplinary product development





In product development, representations of the intended product are needed

to enable specialists to learn about what they develop together. A variety of

representations is deployed, ranging from textual documents like

requirements, up to integrated prototypes. The difference between these

representations is the fidelity: the degree to which a representation

corresponds to the eventual real world product.

In a long term participatory study, we observed that some of these

representations serve as boundary objects: objects that have a capability in

teams and organizations to transfer, translate and transform knowledge

across difficult epistemological barriers. However, the fidelity of these

representations varied considerably. Expressing the intended product is not

merely a translation of a preconceived idea in an appealing visual, but coshapes

the social process.


We categorized the representations into four groups, and found that the

'right' fidelity of a representation is situational dependent where the situation

is formed by the involved boundaries and aim of the social interactions. We

present the categories and a framework to explain our findings, including the

relation with the team process.



PUBLISHED: Proceedings from the The 19th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference, 2014


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