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Modularity (the degree to which a system's components may be separated and recombined) is a therefore principal notion for all engineered systems, so much so that the need for modularity is almost taken for granted. In the context of system development, Baldwin and Clark (2006) suggest three natural purposes for modularization: to make complexity manageable, to enable parallel work, and to accommodate uncertainty.
There is, however, a limit to the utility of modularization in any context, and modularization is a delicate balancing act – either too few modules or too many modules can have negative consequences on the constructability of a particular design, and possibly on the performance of system. This dichotomy raises the following questions:
Baldwin, Carliss Y., and Kim B. Clark. 2006. "Modularity in the Design of Complex Engineering Systems." In Complex Engineered Systems, edited by Dan Braha, Ali A. Minai and Yaneer Bar-Yam, 175-205. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.