Technology, Operations, and Value Chain Management

Managing Complex Technical Projects

Dates: Nov 11-12, 2014| Jun 16-17, 2015| Nov 10-11, 2015

Certificate Track: Technology, Operations, and Value Chain Management

Participant Ratings


| 4.4


| 4.0


| 4.3


| 4.2

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

Join the MySloanExecEd Community Group for this program to network with past, present, and future participants.  

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

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

08:00 AM - 09:00 AMRegistration and Continental Breakfast
09:00 AM - 12:00 PMWelcome and Introduction, Problems of Managing Complex Development Projects, Introduction to the Design Structure Matrix(DSM) Method, Using DSM for Project Planning
12:00 PM - 01:00 PMLuncheon
01:00 PM - 05:00 PMUsing DSM for Project Planning
05:00 PM - 06:00 PMReception
08:15 AM - 09:00 AMContinental Breakfast
09:00 AM - 12:00 PMProject Control and Acceleration
12:00 PM - 01:00 PMLuncheon
01:00 PM - 03:00 PMCurrent Research Directions


  • Title: Slides from the webinar: Systematic Innovation by Design with Steven Eppinger

    Description: Slides from the webinar: Systematic Innovation by Design with Steven Eppinger that took place on September 12, 2013. MIT Sloan Professor Steven Eppingerauthor of one of the most widely used texts on product developmenton how the essential elements of "design thinking" can be applied with great success to product and service innovation. Webinar participants learned: Why innovation is a business imperative What design thinking skills are, and why everyonenot just product designersneeds them How product and service development processes can make product development systematic The benefits of systematic management Real world examples of design thinking put in practice, including IDEO, Apple, Samsung, and Hyundai Card Steven Eppinger teaches in Systematic Innovation of Products, Processes, and Services and Managing Complex Technical Projects


    This is one of the best programs. Very professional and the material very useful. Very organized and Professor is outstanding.

    This course provides a way of managing complex projects. It combines strategy with application tools. It is very hands-on for the first day. For the second day, it is more of theoretical concept that experience persons will be able to integrate it to the real world. Overall, this is a very good course for experience managers.

    The course is outstanding. Includes a lot of practical material and several examples from different industries. As a recommendation, the MIT should consider expand this course for a 3 days program.

    Managing Complex Technical Projects was the first program I attended for the Technology, Operations, and Value Management Certificate. I was thoroughly impressed with the entire experience. The professor was engaging and allowed for open discussion. I also enjoyed the exercises we had to apply the lessons we were learning. Compared to the second class I took, the resources we were given in this program were fantastic. I enjoyed having the slide deck printed so that we could write notes on the slides. I also liked the text book that had the additional examples the professor was alluding to. As for the actual material - the DSM focus was not what I had thought we were going to focus on in its entirety. However, the model was very intriguing and interesting to learn the applicability of the model in any department/industry/team. All in all, I would recommend this course to friends and collegues.

    The program is focusing on application of DSM to various technical and managerial problems. The content and examples provided during the course are very communicative and explanatory. However some more group excersises and case studies would add value to the learning experience.