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Observation, Theory, and Simulation of Integrated Concurrent Engineering: Grounded Theoretical Factors and Risk Analysis Using Formal Models

TitleObservation, Theory, and Simulation of Integrated Concurrent Engineering: Grounded Theoretical Factors and Risk Analysis Using Formal Models
Publication TypeWorking Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsChachere, J
Date Published04/2009
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsCenter for Integrated Facility Engineering, CIFE, Design, Extreme Collaboration, ICE, Integrated Concurrent Engineering, Interaction Value Analysis, IVA, Organization Models, OrgCon, Planning, Process Models, Rationale Clarity, Room, Simulation, Stanford University, Strategy, Validation, VDC, VDT, Virtual Design and Construction, Virtual Design Team

Since 1996, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has designed space missions at a vastly accelerated pace using Integrated Concurrent Engineering (ICE). I observe that ICE leverages distinctive product, organization, and process elements such as networked information technologies, advance selection of participants who span interdependent fields, and a superficially chaotic work environment. A mainstream thread of organizational theory, illuminated by computational models, supports ICE performance claims. But it offers insufficient intuition to organizational designers about how ICE works and sheds no light on the conditions under which it can be replicated in other design domains. To extend this theory, I assert that ICE teams at JPL manage ten enabling factors that lead to exceptionally low information response latency, and consequently to a dramatic improvement in project duration over traditional methods. I propose response latency as both a unifying theoretical principle and a practical metric that can describe, evaluate and manage engineering design collaboration. Project managers should establish the specific, measurable objective of very short latency as a project design principle. Project managers who want to implement ICE for their own use should set the goal of reducing it to near-zero with careful attention to average and worst-case coordination and exception handling latency, but without undue concern for practices targeting best cases. Improving the likelihood that engineers have the information or decisions that they need as soon as they need it allows ICE stations to move forward at a greatly accelerated, synchronized pace. A carefully designed network of knowledgeable and collectively independent participants, along with rapid, precise, and semantically rich communication of design intent, choices, and predictions, are two other features of the ICE approach that shrink response latency to near zero. ICE can be viewed as the Just in Time approach to knowledge, in that it supplies four simultaneous information flows with infinitesimal latency (lead time) and high micro-scale reliability (service level).

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Citation Key746