Now that the AIAA Space 2016 Conference is history, it is time to enumerate the lessons I learned from attending and presenting my ideas on complex system sustainment. Each of these ideas can easily become one or more posts in this blog. I do have answers for the open questions below.
1) The best way to conduct a flight anomaly investigation
2) Define the differences between “sustainability” and “sustainment”. Basically, sustainability is a forward-thinking design element. Sustainment is a phase of a system’s life.
3) The importance of mission awareness by the sustainment team using the example of astronauts visiting and working with each member of a contractor team. Mission is a mental concept that can be infused in many ways.
4) A good future paper could be “History of Complex Systems” showing the trend towards longer lifetimes of the complex systems. That is, the need for a sustainment approach. Good candidate for a SPACE 2017 paper.
5) The role of the sustainment management model in focusing the sustainment team on the important questions.
6) The need to periodically address the completeness of the sustainment assessment program. Big job. Should be done in pieces over time.
7) An introduction to the sustainment book explaining who will find the book useful.
8) The concept of hyper-complex systems, such as the coming open market transactions in LEO.
9) The organizational issue of having IT supply many useful tools with little directions on their practical use. For instance, directing all team members to allow all other team members to view their calendars to help deconflict appointments.
10) Address the reverse-engineering approaches needed when experts have left and documentation is sparse.
11) How do multi-contractor teams work together?
12) The tendency for government agencies to not care about bottom line costs as much as they care about budget predictability.
13) Large IT tools like SAP can cause the sustainment organization to be the tail that gets wagged by the large IT dog.
14) The reality of not really sustaining the system as much as you wind up sustaining its digital twin. This, of course, is a powerful concept, but it can also lead to many mistakes.
15) Similar to risk integrators, there is a role for IT integrators in the organization.
16) Applying the scientific method when performing sustainment.
17) Best methods of questioning statistics.
18) Lead with your actions and choices. Speak truth to power. Be a servant leader.
19) Explain how it is that the government came up with the best solution for sustainment. This could be too incredible to be believed by many.