A Taxonomy of Decomposition Strategies Based on
Structures, Behaviors, and Goals

Philip J. Koopman, Jr
Formerly of: United Technologies Research Center

September 14, 1995

A paper presented at the 1995 Design Theory and Methodology Conference


Designs are often decomposed into subdesigns in a divide-and-conquer approach to dealing with complexity. A wide variety of strategies are in common use for accomplishing decomposition. This paper describes a taxonomy of decomposition strategies based on the design attributes of structures, behaviors, and goals as an aid to understanding when each different strategy may be appropriate. The taxonomy is descriptive rather than prescriptive; it concentrates on providing a common ground for representing both business-driven and technically-driven design decisions. An example is presented that suggests hierarchically layering diverse decomposition strategies can accommodate diverse designs and design processes.

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Phil Koopman --