System Development Planning via System Maturity Optimization

Keywords IEEE Integration readiness level project monitoring and control project planning system readiness level technology management technology readiness level
Standards groups


While the SRL has been demonstrated as a method for addressing
some of the previously described challenges and providing
insight into system developmental maturity, optimizing
the future value of this index based on the allocation of resources
to the technologies and integrations can enhance a project or
engineering manager’s understanding of a system’s potential
development. For example, evaluating the SRL of a system can
give an estimate of its impending readiness as a function of its
state of maturity. As previously described, Sauser et al. [22], [38]
correlated the SRL index to a system’s engineering life cycle and
demonstrated, for example, that a SRL of 0.58 could indicate the
system is still in a development phase, where its capabilities are
being incremented, its system requirements are being refined,
and there is an ongoing effort to reduce integration and manufacturing

The system would also be ensuring operationalsupportability with demonstrated system integration, interoperability,safety, and utility. While this is important knowledge, optimizing a future SRL based on resource allocation to the
technologies and integrations that compose this system can give a perspective on the potential state of the system under development and the needs and processes to be accomplished in its

The optimization of SRL based on resource allocation can
also allow for decisions to be made regarding the tradeoffs
among: 1) system attributes such as availability, performance,
efficiency, and total ownership cost and 2) the components
necessary for producing affordable system operational effectiveness
[40], [41].

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Abstract—Many U.S. government agencies and their contractors
have subscribed to using the prescriptive metric of technology
readiness level (TRL) as a measure of maturity of an individual
technology, with a view toward operational use in a system context. A comprehensive set of concerns becomes relevant when this metric is abstracted from an individual technology to a system context, which may involve interplay among multiple technologies that are integrated through a system development life cycle. This paper proposes a system-focused approach for managing system development and making effective and efficient decisions during this life cycle.

A system readiness level (SRL) index that incorporates both
the current TRL scale and the concept of an integration readiness
level is presented with methods for determining current and future
readiness of a system. Using techniques in evolutionary algorithms, the SRL index is optimized based on resource allocation to provide a decision support approach that enhances managerial capabilities in the system’s development life cycle. The optimization model for the SRL is then executed with a case example and resource constraints of 75%, 60%, 45%, 30%, and 15% to demonstrate how it can be used to make strategic planning decisions in the system’s development life cycle.


IN A system development life cycle, there are factors that
may strategically alter the decision to develop one system
over another; adopt a new, more functional system over another;
determine whether a system or technology has become
inadequate due to changes in other systems or technologies; or
invest in the development of a new system or maintain existing

For addressing some of these issues in engineering design and development, it is a prescribed practice for project and
engineering managers to use qualitative decision methods [1],
but there is a continuous challenge with finding methods or approaches for justifying the optimal allocation of any available
resource to minimize development uncertainties [2].

In addition, the allocation of resources becomes that much more challenging when a project or engineering manager is faced with resource constraints that have been influenced by political, economic, or technology market changes.

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VOL. 56, NO. 3

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