Modularity Design Rules for Architecture Development: Theory, Implementation, and Evidence from Development of the Renault-Nissan Alliance "Common Module Family" Architecture

Ron Sanchez, Tomoatsu Shibata

Research output: Working paperResearch


In this paper we propose a set of rules for developing modular architectures. We first consider the well-known concept of "Design Rules" advanced by Baldwin and Clark (2000). We then propose a broader conceptualization called "Modularity Design Rules" that is derived from later studies of the strategic, managerial, and organizational
processes that must also be undertaken to implement successful modular development projects. We elaborate the critical role that the proposed Modularity Design Rules play in strategically grounding, organizing, and managing modular architecture development processes. We also identify key roles that top management must fulfill in supporting implementation of the proposed rules. We then provide evidence in support of the proposed Modularity Design Rules through a case study of the Renault-Nissan Alliance's successful development and use of a modular "Common Module Family" architecture between 2009 and 2014.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSendai
PublisherTohoku University
Number of pages44
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018
SeriesData Science and Service Research Discussion Paper


  • Design rules
  • Architectures
  • Modularity
  • Product development

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