Decision based design shows great promise in improving the design process, but is not a panacea. The design problem of interest here is tradeoffs between conflicting objectives, particularly under uncertainty. The focus is on multiattribute utility theory. This paper describes several real limitations to utility analysis in the context of engineering design, and attempts to clear up several common misconceptions about it. The real limitations are in the initial configuration and analytic design phases, and in overcoming difficulties in group decision making. The major misconceptions relate to independence conditions, the functional form and assessment biases.

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