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Debunking The Rational Model of Design

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Wednesday 2 March 2011, 13:00
LT11, Management School

Paul Ralph

Abstract: The Rational Model of Design is one name for the dominant view of design in information systems and software engineering literature. One way of understanding The Rational Model is as a memeplex, a set of interconnected, transferable units of culture. This paper defines The Rational Model by enumerating its components and organizes their alternatives into an “Empirical Model of Design.” Although reasonable arguments can be made in favor of each, a review of field research in design better supports The Empirical Model. This finding has broad implications for research, teaching and practice, including undermining the logics of fixed-price/schedule contracts and waterfall-like development lifecycles.

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