During the initial stages of a project, a crucial course is set that can determine the success or failure of the project. During this phase requirements are determined, analyzed and allocated to the corresponding product development phase. Complex products with a high degree of customization require the management of a large amount of information. The prioritization of this information in regard to their time sequence in the product development process has to be analyzed. Interviews conducted in the automotive industry show that the requirement management processes in the early design phases are insufficient and lack solid categorization and prioritization methodologies. This study presents a methodical procedure to improve the allocation of the right information to the right time in the development process. In this methodology, the prioritization of requirements as a function of the degree of cross-linking was achieved through three steps: 1. the evaluation criteria definition, 2. the establishment of a computational procedure, 3. the evaluation of requirements and the calculation of their priority. In the first step, an information prioritization signature was created consisting of a set of relevant information criteria and class structures to allow for the evaluation of the varied spectrum of requirements. In the second step, not only the degree of cross-linking is considered but additionally the types of links between requirements are worked out to allow for prioritization. Finally in the third step, a case study is presented to validate the methodology and provide the reader with an example of how requirements are evaluated and prioritized.

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