This week’s post gives you the charts I presented and video I played at the AIAA Engineers Week event shown in the flyer above.
These are the charts: MinutemanIII
Here is the video:
And the sustainment thought of the week:
Which systems engineers and program managers will create the best approach to sustainment?
Perhaps, those who have a highly complex system buried in remote locations across thousands of square miles that absolutely must work within seconds of launch command?
The complex system sustainment management model that I write and talk about comes from the ICBM experts.
p.s. If you regret missing this presentation on the 21st, I will be giving pretty much the same presentation on the 8th of March. To RSVP, click this link.
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.
Got a good idea on the subject of Sustainment?
Let me help you get in touch with Paul White who is leading our efforts to hold a sustainment conference next Fall. Or email him yourself at email@example.com.
This is the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), US Western Region’s Conference in Salt Lake City on 20, 21, and 22 September 2018. See flyer here: UhR7cl-wsrcteaserflyer2018
The theme is “Systems Engineering Out WEST” It will feature papers and presentations on Workplace, Environment, Sustainment, and Technology. The event will be held at the rustic Orbital ATK Conference Center located in the stunningly beautiful Ogden Canyon, just minutes from Hill AFB.
We hope to attract interest from the folks at Hill AFB who work in the USAF’s Sustainment Center. But we also want folks from all over the West and from civilian systems. If you have followed my posts for a little while, you may recall the great success I had at the INCOSE Great Lakes Conference (click here for my post) speaking to systems engineers from companies like TRANE, John Deere, and industries like medical and sports munitions. They all seemed to resonate to my definition of sustainment: “Support of the system to ensure continued mission capability”. And they were very interested in my short tutorial on the complex systems sustainment management model.
So if you are interested in the topic of sustainment (or workplace or environment or tech), be sure to consider attending, whether you live in the Western Region or anywhere around the globe.
During Engineers Week, I’ll be speaking at Weber State University on our Nation’s ICBM force. I’ll be in TY234 at 6:45pm.
I’ll explain the mission, spend most of the time describing the Minuteman III, and then talk a bit about the future of American’s ICBMs.
If you’d like a little preview, click here.
Nothing in this presentation is sensitive or, God forbid, secret. It’s all open source. Technical details, like approximate ranges and speeds, are something any undergraduate level physics or aerospace engineering student could calculate.