In the aircraft industry, the collective phrase for the information pertaining to the aircraft is “product definition.” As the product definition evolves, there are a number of challenges for the design team such as the following:
- • how to manage the breakdown of tasks;
- • how to maintain coherency of the product definition;
- • how to manage the interfaces between parts of the aircraft.
Even a typical student group design project can thus become complex and need a disciplined approach.
The aerospace industry has, over the decades, developed a methodology called “systems engineering” to help manage complexity. A detailed explanation of systems engineering is beyond the scope of this book, but there are some core principles that should be adopted to help ensure that a design project progresses efficiently. The important principles include the following:
- • creation of a clear work-breakdown structure (WBS);
- • documentation of interface definitions;
- • clear allocation of responsibilities;
- • requirements flowdown;
- • compliance testing.