Design project management involves sophisticated task planning that needs to streamline a number of design activities while properly allocating resources associated with these activities. In the field of product family design, there is a lack of comprehensive modeling and analysis formalisms for design project management. In this respect, this paper proposes a modular design project approach to support design project modeling and planning for product families. Design activities are identified as project modules according to the activity sequences, along with the players and resources involved in each activity. A generic variety structure is introduced to characterize the differentiation of design activities among various project variants of the family. Based on the identified modules of activities, design project planning is formulated as a project reconfiguration problem, for which genetic algorithms are employed for configuration evaluation. A case study of truck cab family design in an automobile company demonstrates that design project modularization enhances the coordination of multiple design projects of product families and contributes to the achievement of economy of scale through reusing proven elements.

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