The truth is, maybe you don’t need to learn and follow the complex system sustainment management model.
Your system is pretty simple. Your daily tasks are pretty straightforward. You are probably getting along fine without it.
How can you tell?
When you manage by walking about or when you interact with your team at meetings, you can see they are busy working away at their specialties.
When you ask for funding from your decision-makers, you get what you ask for.
Everything seems to be going pretty smoothly each day.
Really, your system isn’t all that complicated. It’s not like it’s thousands of rockets on short final buried in holes and spread across the nation.
If you look a bit more closely, do you wonder why your supply manager is so focused on parts that almost order themselves and not so focused on the problem parts? Why did your test chief not spot and avoid that last process error? Why is you project lead so uncertain about her time frames? Don’t they know what is important to work on today or this week?
When you go to ask for funds, are you 100% certain you understand the types and timing of the different monies that you need? Have your programs seemed uncoordinated in their execution? Were you surprised mid-year by a requirement that everyone else seemed to know about?
Perhaps your should try a few sustainment management model ideas and see how they work — especially if your team members are anxious. If you have come to believe management by crisis is the new normal. If you have to admit that there are just some aspects of your system that will remain mysterious.
Perhaps you could start by beefing up your risk management approach. There is a paper on this web site that shows you how to do that. Just click on the “presentations and publications” menu item. You’ll find it. Once you take that step, others will follow almost like clockwork.
Conversely, on those days when things are going well, do you know why?
It may be because some members of your team are following some of the complex system sustainment management model approaches without actually having been introduced to it. That can easily happen because so much of the model is common sense once you know how to look at the sustainment problem: predict emerging failure modes lead time away. Everything else flows from that. Individuals can be inspired to make the right choices at times. Success can come via randomly inspired good choices.
But, of course, success achieved in that way can’t be counted on.
The truth is, existential threats to your system, mission, and sustainment organization are always lurking in the shadows. It is true that the more complex your system, the more likely you are to experience crisis management instead of forward planning. But even with the simpler systems, the closer you follow the complex system sustainment model, even if by accident, the more likely your business runs smoothly.
It’s just might be time to stop running down the hill alongside the boulder pretending you are controlling it.
There’s a village at the bottom of that hill about to get wiped out.