Posted by: Gilad Lev-Shamur | February 5, 2010

How to control your design- Analytical Design Planning Technique

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Today post is written by Paul Waskett from Adept Management Ltd

Many programs over-runs and cost over-spends in the construction industry are the result of contractors working with poorly coordinated design information. The ‘ADePT’ (Analytical Design Planning Technique) technique is used to develop integrated design programs (IDPs) which ensure that designers are able to work together to generate a fully coordinated design – note that without an IDP this can be very difficult to achieve and coordination is often still being sought during the construction itself.

This approach has been used on a range of complex design and engineering projects, in fields ranging from ship-building to IT projects. However, its widest use has been in planning and managing the design stages of construction projects such as schools, hospitals, highways, hotels and commercial developments. In projects such as these, the areas of the project where the design team are required to work together to develop a coordinated design normally relate to key interfaces such as those between building structure and envelope or between sub-structure and below-ground services.

 The approach is a highly structured way to plan, and subsequently manage, the design activities within a project. It is aimed at development of a design program which is fully integrated across the design disciplines and subcontractors and based on the critical flows of information between members of the design team. Subsequent management of information flows is regarded as a much better way of controlling the design process than simply monitoring production of deliverables or rate of fee spend. There are three stages to planning with this approach, and a further management stage. The following image illustrates the three stages which are discussed in some detail below.

In the first three stages, the approach identifies a sequence of activities which minimizes the iteration in the design process and ensures any assumptions which the team need to make are ones which can be made with confidence. This is achieved by weighting the dependencies between activities. The calculation of sequence priorities the availability of outputs associated with the most critical dependencies. Any interdependent, iterative groups of activities which remain in the process following sequencing are often multi-disciplinary. They represent places in the design process where design team members should work concurrently to solve the interdependent problem.

 Usually they also represent elements of the construction, and therefore of the design output, which require coordination.

 Having produced a target design schedule, the design process needs to be controlled. ADePT incorporates an approach to process control which preempts deviation from the target schedule by analyzing constraints, which then allows the schedule to be kept up-to-date and used in meaningful way.

In Summary, the ADePT methodology and tools provides a means of planning, managing and controlling the delivery of a project on the basis of coordinate interdisciplinary working. There are many benefits to decision-makers from utilizing this approach: the number of assumptions that cannot be made with confidence is minimized; risk and cost implications can be understood and subsequently managed; wasteful iteration can be eliminated; and focus can be given to taking interconnected decisions quickly and effectively. Ultimately, the approach offers a means of planning, controlling, and managing projects in an informed, coherent, and achievable manner.


Paul Waskett is a Mechanical Services Engineer by training and he has worked in Design Management since 1996. He developed the ADePT methodology from theory to practical application and is a Director of Adept Management which was formed in 2002 to deploy the methodology in industry.

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  1. Great article! Analytical Design Planning can be helpful in massive project planning of construction projects. Big construction projects can have heavy planning packages that can be planned as well to make the construction phase shorten and more efficient.

  2. Thanks.
    Usually we know how to schedule and control our execution, even if it complicated. The scheduling of design is tougher and people tend to work only with high level ms with list of deliverables.
    This method present better way to handle it.


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