Strategies for Dealing with Instabilities in a Complex, Multi- Project Product Development System Engineering Environment

Keywords systems design Engineering and Management Strategies for Dealing with Instabilities in a Complex Multi- Project Product Development System Engineering Environment

The author turned to research by Tyson Browning surrounding Modeling and Analyzing Cost, Schedule, and Performance in Complex System Product Development 7. The Ph.D. thesis presented a causal framework with which to analyze the current state of the on-going efforts for dealing with program instabilities at Pratt & Whitney. The framework will be elaborated on in later sections to evaluate the company's product development system. The framework was utilized in this thesis because the framework provides the most comprehensive look at the product development process relative to risk when highly complex products are being developed. The framework provides a filter
with which to evaluate the process and garner the key drivers that can be effected to mitigate cost and schedule risk with in the product development process at Pratt & Whitney.

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This thesis evaluates the product development process from the perspective of a multiple gas turbine engine development programs. The risk to meeting cost and schedule requirements has increased solely due to squeezing budgets and schedule to fit the "better, faster, cheaper" mold. The thesis focuses on the further risks to cost and schedule of the gas turbine product development cycle that are caused by instabilities introduced by the cyclical nature of multiple product development programs completing the cycle and new ones starting. Market and business factors influence the numbers of cycles and can not be controlled. Workload and resource-usage are not stable within multiple product development cycles. The analysis establishes an overview of the gas turbine engine, product development process, and project management techniques employed to deliver the product to the customer within cost and schedule constraints. The analysis then uses a risk causal framework to identify the issues that the
process faces relative to the cost and schedule risk. The use of this framework identifies staffing issues to be one of the key drivers of cost and schedule risk. A systems dynamic model developed in
a previous Systems Design and Management thesis was adapted to represent the product development process by adding structure and calibrating the model with realistic scenarios. The model evaluates the policies that can mitigate risks identified within the given process. Recommendations are provided within a framework that enables management to decide the appropriate use of the policies recommended.

© 2003 Michael R. Wright
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