Perceived industrial usefulness of the ACD³-matrix - an interview study with product developers
Paper in proceedings, 2018
Today, a large number of tools are available to support the organization and documentation of product development. However, a tool is not successful merely by virtue of being available; it is in the actual use of the tool that its utility and value emerges. To increase the probability that a tool is used, it is also important for it to be perceived as useful by its potential users.
The ACD³ (Activity Centred Design)-matrix is a product development mapping tool based on systems theory. It visualizes how design decisions can be made coherently, through a clear hierarchical structure that visualizes logical chains of interdependent design decisions, yet allows flexibility so as not to inhibit a design organization’s innovation and creativity.
This paper presents a study of how potential users perceive the ACD³-matrix. Seventeen product developers were introduced to the ACD³-matrix and then interviewed about how they perceived the tool; the interview probed what strengths and weaknesses were perceived, the tool’s usefulness in relation to the interviewees’ practices now and in the future, and whether they saw opportunities to implement the matrix in their business operations.
The main identified perceived advantages were that the ACD³-matrix could be a good tool for identifying knowledge gaps within a project, and that ACD³ could provide a common structure and language throughout the whole project, facilitating communication between different competencies and domains within the work organisation. The main disadvantages interviewees perceived were that the terminology and contents of the matrix cells need to be adapted to the terms used at the specific company and that the matrix might seem difficult at first to understand.
The study showed that there was an interest in the industry for the ACD³-matrix tool and all participants saw opportunities (to varying degrees) to implement the matrix in their own practice. The study also provided good insight into how product developers reacted initially when introduced to the ACD³-matrix. The input provided by the product developers is valuable for the further development ACD³-matrix and how to introduce the tool in organisations.
Product development tool