Compare courses
Sloan School of Management

Managing Complex Technical Projects

Add course to comparison
Steve Eppinger on Managing Complex Technical Projects

Next dates

Nov 5—6
2 days
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
USD 3700
USD 1850 per day


This program enables participants to reduce the complexity involved in large projects by restructuring development and management procedures in ways that produces small-team results. MIT’s innovative solution, based on the design structure matrix (DSM), is devised to streamline complex projects by developing detailed models to understand the intricate interactions and iterative nature of design.

Managing complex technical projects is a massive integration effort at many levels. Product and production plans must be integrated into components, components into subsystems, subsystems into systems, and systems into quality products.

Traditional project management does not provide the kind of detail required today to both accelerate product and service development and improve product and service quality in the 21st century. Managing Complex Technical Projects presents a revolutionary design structure matrix (DSM) that MIT researchers use to determine which tasks within each phase of a complex project should or should not be performed concurrently. The DSM method is already applied in a number of corporations.

MIT researchers developed the DSM modeling approach to learn how to solve problems facing large-scale projects. After field-testing DSM in dozens of organizations and industries around the world, they found that it successfully streamlined the development of a wide array of projects including:

  • Complex automotive components systems and subsystems
  • Aerospace configuration design
  • Concept development and program roll-out
  • Electronics and semi-conductor development
  • Equipment and machine tool development
  • Plant engineering
  • Construction projects
  • Complicated service development and delivery projects

Through lectures, exercises, interactive discussions, and teamwork, participants in the program learn how to use DSM to map complex and often highly-technical procedures into simple arrays. Most important, they learn how to solve five key problems that confound complex project management: iteration, overlapping tasks, architecture, decomposition and integration. In Managing Complex Technical Projects, participants learn to:

  • Better document existing procedures
  • Reduce complexity
  • Share data with confidence
  • Facilitate project flow
  • Expose constraints and conflicts
  • Design iteration strategically

Sample Schedule—Subject to Change


  • 8:00AM - 9:00AM Registration and Continental Breakfast
  • 9:00AM - 12:00PM
  • The Problems of Managing Complex Development Projects
  • Introduction to the Design Structure Matrix (DSM) Method
  • Using DSM for Project Planning
  • 12:00PM - 1:00PM Networking Lunch
  • 1:00PM - 5:00PM Using DSM for Project Planning (continued)
  • 5:00PM - 6:00PM Reception


  • 8:15AM - 9:00AM Continental Breakfast
  • 9:00AM - 12:00PM Project Control and Acceleration
  • 12:00PM - 1:00PM Networking Lunch
  • 1:00PM - 3:00PM Technology Risk and Integration

Who should attend

Managing Complex Technical Projects is designed for senior managers involved in complex product development, highly-interdependent system and service development and delivery, and project management as well as those responsible for speeding up the process of improving design procedures and designing and developing better products and services. The primary focus is on technical, engineering-driven products, services, and processes, although discussion around others is welcomed as applicable. Participants include:

  • Vice presidents of engineering, manufacturing, and technology
  • Directors of project, program or service management
  • Product, service and business development
  • Engineering and R&D program managers
  • Chief project engineers
  • Product design and process development engineers
  • Technology strategists
  • Project leaders


Steven D. Eppinger is the General Motors Leaders for Global Operations Professor, a Professor of Management Science and Engineering Systems, and the Co-Director of the System Design and Management Program at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Eppinger served as deputy dean of MIT Sloan from 200...


Detailed Description
Detailed Description
Show more