This presentation addresses the issues of growing complexity in software intensive systems and lays out a potential approach that would be services led.
Aerospace and Defense (A&D) programs are routinely and significantly late and over budget. Most commercial complex systems get their quality through expensive and ever-expanding testing programs. Stunning, network newsworthy failures occur with disturbing frequency. Moreover, many engineering departments are being distributed geographically, subjected to cost cuts, and inundated with a growing battery of must-have requirements. How can these risks and issues be mitigated?
Herein we outline a complexity management solution that helps address these problems. Its implementation falls into two areas: elements which help us manage complexity such as automation, and those which help us reduce complexity, such as architecturally-derived organization. This solution contains a number of elements: collaboration, organization, architecture, automation, iteration, and so on. However, in the end, it is about discipline and rigor in the doing, then measuring to close the feedback loop, refining the processes, and doing it again … and therefore it is about the people.
Our experience with this solution tells us that it is difficult, but there are no easy solutions. Organizational resistance and institutional stovepiping have prevented us from achieving uniform success. However, those hurdles can be overcome, and where the necessary discipline has been achieved this solution has succeeded dramatically, for example putting a completely stalled $5 billion engineering effort back on track, turning that effort into one delivering high award fees and realizing over $100 million in savings.