The present paper introduces a framework for the collaborative determination of design task implementation priorities according to design effort-based calculations. Hierarchical structures are used for representing associative dependencies among primary and dependent tasks. Design effort for task implementation is defined as function of various task-oriented issues such as designers’ experience, designers’ ability to fulfill task-related requirements, etc. Simple metrics are used to form a unified effort index for each individual task. Weighted collaborative determination of implementation effort for individual tasks is also studied. Weights are assigned to individual designers and a simple aggregation technique is used that provides overall values of effort indices for tasks when multiple designers are involved in the design process. A weighted dependency matrix so formed is further transformed through a number of operations based on the connectivity among the tasks and the intensity of effort index values. From the aforementioned matrix, a unique sorted list of primary tasks is produced that ensures that production of design information of maximum importance takes place with least effort during the early design stages and under completely realistic design conditions. A short design example contributes towards a better understanding of the proposed framework.

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