Dependency structure matrix (DSM) concepts have been applied effectively to represent and manage complex design processes. However, the author's attempts to implement the concepts on large construction projects faced limitations. The key limitation was that the identification of elements for activity DSM at the appropriate level of abstraction required significant levels of expertise. As drawings are well-defined entities that are directly identifiable by the design team, this paper proposes that drawing DSM (DDSM) be used to manage the design process. Further, as drawing production is a complex task containing many subactivities, a structured method is required to identify the dependencies between the drawings. Based on a systems approach, a three-stage structured methodology to decompose the project and identify the drawing interfaces is developed. The conceptual details of this methodology are explained and the steps are illustrated using a generic example. The paper also presents the application of the methodology to an airport project and discusses the results obtained as well as the necessary future improvements. © 2009 Earthscan.