PPI Articles & Presentations

Read interesting and informative short articles relevant to systems engineering and projects.

Integrating PM and SE: Summary of Articles Originally


by Ralph Young

SyEN 54 – June 21, 2017

  • Main challenge of the book: how to successfully bring together two established and valued disciplines to accomplish a critical role?
  • Leaders in the two industries believe disciplines have become silos that inhibit collaboration and require a mindset change to remove barriers
  • ‘Organization’ as used in the book may refer to an enterprise or a program
  • MIT’s Consortium for Engineering Program Excellence (CEPE), INCOSE and PMI conducted a series of studies to explore issues about the extent of collaboration between PM and SE discipline. Two main questions:

1) Does integration and collaboration demonstrably impact program performance?

2) Are alignment, integration, and collaboration embedded in the organizational culture, processes and systems?

  • Study emphasized that senior executives within corporations, governments, professional associations, academia, and research must also change their mindsets. Particularly, that they:
  1. Must see connections between strategy, benefits, performance and capabilities and work within their organizations to remove gaps in performance
  2. Recognize the value that organizations could gain from even incremental efforts to reduce wasted investments due to poor program execution
  3. Utilize learning to continuously improve their own practices
  4. Stand with their program managers and chief engineers and lead the change toward a new mindset
  • Four phases of the study:
  1. Part 1: In search of integration solutions
  2. Part 2: Building capabilities to effectively execute complex programs
  3. Part 3: Developing organizational competencies in your organization
  4. Part 4: Calls to action (for academia, enterprise, policy makers, industry and professional societies and researches)
  • Bottom line is current situation is not sustainable and changes to the following areas are needed:
  1. Respect for people
  2. Organizational culture that values people and their capabilities.
  3. Executive leaders with integrity who foster and expect trust.
  4. Empowerment
  5. Collaboration
  6. Requirements management
  7. Risk management, mitigation, and back up plans
  8. Processes, methods, tools, techniques, and systems support that are fit for duty
  9. Ongoing training and people development
  10. Team competency
  11. Knowledge
  12. Alignment and coordination of the extended enterprise

SyEN 54- July 19, 2017

  • Challenge identified by PMI and INCOSE in 2011: while PM has overall program accountability and SE has accountability for technical and systems elements of programs, some systems engineering and program managers have developed the mindset that work activities are separate from each other rather than part of the organic whole. A five-year study was conducted to address the following questions:
  1. How integrated were the practices, tools, and approaches used by chief systems engineers and program managers? Did critical links exist where they were needed? Were common practices, such as risk management, managed in intersecting or parallel paths? Were practices, tools, and approaches evaluated and benchmarked to identify opportunities for improvement?
  2. How formalized were the roles, responsibilities, and competencies of each discipline? Did each discipline perform unique functions or were there functions that both disciplines performed?
  3. How well did the chief systems engineer and program manager collaborate with each other? Did any tension exist in their relationship and, if so, how did that tension affect their ability to work together?
  4. In organizations with strongly integrated practices and low levels of interdisciplinary tension, what distinguishing characteristics could be identified? How did the disciplines achieve integration and collaboration?
  5. In organizations with weakly integrated practices and high levels of tension that affected collaboration, what distinguishing characteristics could be identified? What were the barriers to achieving integration and collaboration?
  6. Does integration and collaboration demonstrably impact program performance?

SyEN 54- July 19, 2017 (Chapter 1- Toward a New Mindset)

  • SpaceX Corporation used as an example to illustrate difference in performance that may arise from a unique approach to managing engineering programs
  • SpaceX’s approach to test, learn, improve and develop new technologies has led to a much-lower development time and cost than competitors
  • Some factors leading to their success include focusing on simplicity in design, colocation, vertical integration and the overall company culture that promotes teamwork, mutual support, coordination, and communication
  • ‘The Book’ argues that these behaviours can be achieved in a wide array of settings where management and technical teams can work together for the benefit of the customers and other stakeholders
  • Challenge is to build the will within organizations to invest in improving engineering program capabilities. Culture is needed to link talent management with strategy to improve workforce capabilities and enabling systems, structures and processes

SyEN 57 – September 18, 2017 (Chapter 2 – The Engineering Program Performance Challenge)

  • Chapter 2 contains examples of engineering programs that have been successful and not-so-successful
  • London 2012 Olympic Committee adopted a management approach applying core systems engineering and program management principles, focusing on integration and collaboration; specifically incorporating: clear visions and goals, implementation of a governance authority, a management approach, integrated planning and risk management; and customer and stakeholder management with scope and requirements control
  • Cost overrun of largest 96 engineering programs in the US DoD reached US$300 billion when assessed in 2009. Engineering-related costs were associated the expense increase. Program under-performance associated with difficulty in management of complexity arising from human behaviours, system behaviours and ambiguity
  • Denver International Airport was two years behind schedule and was highly challenged since airlines were not involved in the initial design, the change control process was weak, baggage system was too complicated, there was little risk management planning and mitigation and there was no back-up plan for baggage handling
  • S. Army and its Future Combat Systems (FCS) went on for 10 years and was cancelled in 2009 due to shifting requirements, no authorization for the staff needed for the program and high cost without meeting the intended aim of warfighter capability
  • In 2000, the finding that VW passed emissions tests by installing a defect device that sensed testing conditions and entered a safety-mode became public. VW’s chief executive had created a culture of fear of failure resulting in cheating tests. Only in recent years did they admit the cover up. This shows a failure in program leadership.
  • Following challenges arose in the Guide to Lean Enablers for Managing Engineering Performance as the major challenges that affect engineering program performance:
    1. Firefighting (reactive program execution)
    2. Unstable, unclear, and incomplete requirements
    3. Mismanagement of program culture, team competency, and knowledge
    4. Insufficient alignment and coordination of the extended enterprise
    5. Unclear roles, responsibilities, and accountability
    6. Insufficient program planning
    7. Lack of proactive program risk management
    8. Poor program acquisition and contracting practices

SyEN 58 – October 20, 2017 (Chapter 3 – The Features of Successful Integration of Program Management and Systems Engineering)

  • Chapter emphasized that success of a program is expanded with comprehensive emphasis on benefits
  • ‘Big Dig’ initially viewed as a failure based simply on cost and schedule but benefits include improving flow of traffic and opened areas for new development
  • The following set of principles were identified in leveraging PM and SE for superb results:
  1. Vision – effective program management set a vision and kept the team focused on program goals
  2. Continuous block and tackle – program sponsors and leadership played both offensive and defensive roles as program protectors, including actively and regularly engaging stakeholders -and insulating programs from disruptive requirements changes
  3. Building empowered, collaborative teams and establishing the right program culture. Leaders and managers created an environment where individuals from different disciplinary approaches, perspectives, and roles knew how to collaborate, negotiate, and accept decisions once they were made
  4. Program governance – review meetings were held to ensure that the program aligned with objectives
  5. Smooth engineering management – the critical connection of program management and technical management was enacted. Successful integration requires intentional actions of team members to achieve alignment: working together
  6. Members of the program team held each other accountable for program performance

SyEN 59 – November 22, 2017 (Chapter 4 -The Case for Integrating Program Management and Technical Management

  • Tension between the PM and SE disciplines has its roots in the specialized practices and standards that are highly role specific and often have different measures of success. Whereas the project /program manager (PM) manages benefits delivery, the chief systems engineer (CSE) is often concerned with optimizing the components. If these roles are not working together closely, the result is often contention and conflict
  • Different standards and certifications mean potential for two disciplines to continually have a different outlook leading to unproductive tension
  • Key contributors to unproductive tension in survey carried out in ‘the book’: lack of integrated planning, authority not clearly defined and conflicting practices for PM and SE
  • PMs and SEs often have unique roles, intertwined but not clearly defined and in conjunction with discipline-based measures of which problems have highest- priority, this can lead to unproductive tensions and worse
  • Key to success seems to be when PM and SE embrace overall goal of improved technical program performance and each practitioner’s ability to contribute to that goal
  • Benefits of integration far outweigh effort required to integrate and payoff
  • Integration needn’t happen from partial to full integration in one step

SyEN 60 – December 22, 2017 Chapter 5 – Key Concepts in Integration

  • Integration is a reflection of the organization’s ability to combine PM ad SE practices, tools and techniques, experience and knowledge in a collaborative systematic way in the face of challenges
  • Eisner[1] characterizes a high degree of integration between project management and systems engineering by:
  1. Strong and effective teams
  2. Commitment to “getting the job done”
  3. Deep interest in the technical issues
  4. Constructive problem solving
  5. Corporate support for the needs of the project
  6. Little or no complaining
  7. Short and productive meetings
  8. Rapid flow of information
  9. Effective computer support
  10. Involved and happy people
  • Eisner argues that integration can be realized on different complementary levels and that managers, teams, plans, systems approach, methods and standards, information systems and enterprises can act as integrators
  • Society needs programs to improve as socio-technical systems increase in complexity
  • Integration is challenging due to organizational environments and the way that professionals gain, maintain and update their skills
  • Good news is there are numerous examples of organizations that produce exceptional outcomes by operating in a more integrated fashion (discussion on pages 69-76 of book could be useful to gain more insight)

SyEN 61 – January 30, 2018 Chapter 6- Key Concepts in Integration

  • Framework is presented in this chapter arising from skillsets in use by successful programs with high levels of integration
  • Proposed dimensions of integration:

  • Interestingly, none of the professional interviews during the research had clearly defined objectives related to integration itself
  • One of the key challenges with PM is benefits realization since programs can last for many years and it is impossible to define specific goals related to development of integration (associated capabilities and how it is measured) and then putting the processes and measures into place to capture those benefits
  • Positive correlation between greater levels of integration and better program performance was observed in Part IV highlighting the research

SyEN 62 – February 22, 2018 Chapter 7- Integration in Practice in the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Program

  • An aircraft was developed using the Integration Framework proposed previously and was one of the few complex military programs to be completed ahead of schedule and within the budgeted cost. Added benefits included being 1000 pounds underweight, one third fewer parts that the predecessor, heavier payload, longer range, reduced overall cost of ownership (including operations, maintenance, logistics and sustainment costs (hallmarks of the program contained in the article)
  • Super Hornet Program was extra challenging since it involved integration at a program level across the contractual boundary which is more challenging than for a single organization
  • Mantra of the program was ‘product is the boss’ and the program subordinated individual functional and organization elements to the needs of the overall program
  • Case study supports the Integration Framework and the application of the framework was possible due to senior leadership having the vision for greater integration and being willing to expend resources, time and capital over an extended period to make it work

SyEN 63 – March 16, 2018 The Status of the Initiative to Strengthen Integration of Program Management and Systems Engineering is in Jeopardy

  • Several success stories have been identified to have had a high degree of integration of the two disciplines that resulted in amazingly effective outcomes for highly complex systems programs, for example: and Space Administration’s (NASA) Mars Science Laboratory;[2] the International Space Station;[3] a case study of Electronic Support Upgrade for the Royal Australian Navy’s Anzac Class Frigate;[4] The Marriage of Systems Engineering and Program Management at Lockheed Missles & Space Company;[5] Using Certification to Foster Integration in U.S. Government Agency Acquisition Programs;[6] Integrating Software Engineering and Program Management at Nationwide;[7] Managing Change in Engineering Program Organizations: Boosting Productivity in BMW’s Engineering Department;[8] and Delivering the World’s Most Complex Inner-City Infrastructure Program: Boston’s Big Dig.
  • Despite the book intending to improve collaboration and integration for program success, there seems to be little acceptance of the critical importance of the concerns resulting from the research and as a result, less action that would be expected to address the critical integration needs on part of the senior leaders
  • Seems that leaders will acknowledge existence of problem but not meaningfully commit to change with any urgency however, communities need the change to be initiated urgently in order to deliver effective complex systems in the future
  • Calls to action in Chapter 16 have not seen much acknowledgement and there is inertia in inciting change
  • PMI released news that project success rates are improving but this documented a snapshot of time (The Pulse of the Profession, 2018) and is not necessarily reflective of the reality in the last few years which makes the situation appear less dire than it is senior executives
  • Systems engineering is not always recognized and appreciated. Value engineering is enforced by law to be applied to project and programs in the US but the same is not true for SE
  • At what level is SE in commercial engineering organizations? Does it take a backseat to more traditional disciplines? These are areas suggested for exploration by a reviewer of ‘the book’
  • ‘The Book’ recommends that position descriptions with competencies, responsibilities, and accountabilities be clearly defined by the organization so that there is consistency across programs, people are clear about what is expected; and training and development can align to support the competencies and responsibilities for each discipline
  • Unless leaders in both disciplines seek awareness of the changed expectations (as it stands), the critical need for integration will be left unaddressed in future programs
  • Every practitioner, senior position holder and so forth needs to be a leader in their own right and encourage the need for coalition within their organization
  • Solution is for every relevant practitioner to acquire knowledge, for example through ‘The Book’, assess the relationship of information to their personal setting and proactively provide continuous improvement in their daily work
  • Technical Performance Measures (TPMs) are recommended by Armstrong to implement in projects to aid linking program management and systems engineering effectiveness into a project or program

“It’s not that we don’t know (or can’t find out) what to do; it’s that we don’t invest the necessary time and effort to do it.”

SyEN 63 – March 16, 2018 Chapter 8 – Program Management and Systems Engineering Integration Processes, Practices, and Tools

  • Effective integration efforts are accomplished by concerned and motivated individuals through the application of processes, practices, and tools that are geared towards the following:
  1. Enable communication and common understanding related to the key objectives and activities to accomplish those objectives.
  2. Provide frameworks for defining specific work activities.
  3. Establish expectations of each person’s contribution.
  4. Document approaches for coordinating and tracking work efforts.
  5. Identify critical points where individual and group work efforts must come together.
  6. Facilitate problem identification and resolution.
  7. Apply generally accepted approaches that have demonstrated effective results under similar circumstances in the past.viii.
  8. Support and accelerate the accomplishment of specific work activities.
  • Some processes, practices and tools are for group use and others for individual use. Either way it is up to the individual/group to apply the process, practices and tools in a way that embeds collaboration, communication and shared decision making in tasks for successful integration
  • This chapter emphasizes that processes, practices and tools should be deliberately designed and implemented in the program i.e. should be tailored as part of the efforts to improve integration
  • Processes, practices and tools may be organized by the timeline of their impact on integration: episodic (as the need arises) or pervasive (continuously)
  • Episodic integration mechanisms represent forcing functions that require PMs and SEs to work together e.g.:
  1. Program gate reviews were the key to the success of Super Hornet case study was the 12 days of August gate review to tight set requirements in the face of competing interests and requirements. This is the most common integration mechanism used but should be coupled with other techniques.
  2. Joint planning by means of three critical components: product concept, business plan and program organization and processes. Each of these components must be accompanied by a risk assessment.
  3. Dedicated team meeting space has proven successful for a variety of domains. ‘Obeya’ made popular by Toyota involves meeting in a common space and figuratively or literally breaking the product apart to make rapid trade-off decisions. The wall of the room contains key milestones, deliverables, key performance indicators, architectures, risks, issues, architectures etc.
  4. Pulsed Product Integration and Iterative Development is similar to agile development where teams come together at predetermined time periods to deliver product increments or deliverables. SE ensures that the diverse elements come together to produce viable systems while PM ensures that the viable systems produce benefits to the program.
  • Pervasive integration mechanisms include:
  1. Standards, methods and assessments. Studies have shown that programs with greater integration and performance more commonly made use of standards throughout the organization.
  2. Integrated Product and Process Development. This is when multidisciplinary teams work together to derive requirements, schedules and perform quality and risk management to effectively delivery on customer needs.
  3. Work Design Processes. Work Design Processes such as configuration management and standardized work should be deliberately designed so that integration is a natural outcome and intimately connected with standards, methodologies and assessments.
  4. Requirements Management. Forces conversation between PMs and SEs but is also a potential conflict area where PMs drive for keeping activities on track and SEs push to elicit, document and validate requirements. Both should work together to ensure the right product is delivered with the right performance, in budget and on time.
  5. Risk Management. Using risk management to harmonize PM concern with business risk and SE focus on technical risk is an opportunity for better integration.
  6. Technical Performance Measurement. An established set of TPMs can provide an early warning system for review of technical problems.
  7. Governance. Governance structure can enforce an integrated management approach between PM and SE.

SyEN 64 – April 19, 2018 Chapter 9 – Program Management and Systems Engineering Integration Processes, Practices, and Tools

  • Organizations with hierarchical structure, planning methodologies and strategies are proving to be inadequate in dealing with a high rate of change, increased complexity and uncertainty
  • This chapter looks at organizational structures within the Integration Framework and the environmental elements influencing programs such as culture, leadership and team-building
  • Organizations themselves are complex systems demonstrating complex properties
  • Transformational change is the mechanism by which organizations can incrementally increase integration capability through programs carried out
  • Evidence in the chapter shows that organizations that merge technical and creative cultures have more success than rules-based hierarchical structures
  • Progressive feedback throughout development inspires confidence and creativity in the organization’s mission
  • Organizations that promote communication of needs and ideas have better prospects for program success
  • Successful programs require program management geared towards understanding links between program and strategy
  • Selecting the right programs is essential for stakeholder satisfaction and the strategic direction of the company
  • Sustainment benefits and business mission requirements are a concern of both PM and SE
  • Creating a vision and empowering others to achieve it is key
  • Three organizational environmental factors can encourage or discourage team behaviours:
  • Culture: superior PM happens when culture is based on effective trust, communication, cooperation and teamwork
  • Leadership: individual leadership skills are beneficial to deal with uncertainty and complexity surrounding programs. Support for this is needed at the top level of management.
  • Interdisciplinary Teams to Solve Large Problems: integration at the organization-level is reflective of the organization’s ability to exhibit collaboration at the team-level
  • Challenges in the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Program show that PMs had an isolated focus on cost and schedule. When PMs and SEs work together, there is a better understanding of technology required and budget constraints.
  • Heathrow Terminal 5 Program: disconnect between systems engineering and operations team led to lack of sustainability over the long term
  • International Space Station (ISS) Program: program crosses cultural barriers and raises issues relevant to integration of SE and PM through leadership, sharing and trust. Challenges included coordinating partners whose SE approaches differed significantly. NASA operates as a ‘managing partner’ to deal with perspectives on approaches, designs, risk etc.
  • Characteristics of successful program integration: good governance, systems thinking, leadership
  • Examples illustrate that program leaders must focus on integration between technical experts and program managers to increase likelihood of success
  • Incentives as tactic for systems integration play a role in developing cooperative relationships between disciplines
  • Organizations prepared to change products, processes and delivery at a rapid pace more likely to succeed
  • Leaders must possess soft skills to identify managerial shortcomings and manage interfaces

SyEN 65 – May 23, 2018 Chapter 10 – Developing Integration Competencies in People

  • Chapter focuses on individual sets of skills, attributes and knowledge to make performance effective
  • Essential dimensions of leadership: ethics, critical thinking, influence, communications, systems thinking and requirements management
  • Research in the book shows that unproductive tension can be overcome in the following ways:
  1. Develop an integrated career path for program managers and systems engineers.
  2. Promote formal education and training in both disciplines so they can learn from each other.
  3. Recognize the value of multidisciplinary teams – multiple competencies and skills.
  4. Create and communicate an overarching vision of the program – its challenges and goals.
  5. Overcome personal assumptions, listen carefully, and value one another’s experience and knowledge
  • Book recommends formalizing integration including assessments and planning within the organization
  • Shared responsibility between individual and organization; and creative tension- two important aspects of world-class program execution
  • Three competency models for integration are useful: Crew Resource Management (CRM) program, Control Theory, Decision Theory and Observing, Orienting, Deciding and Action (OODA) Loop

PPI SyEN 66 –26 June, 2018 Chapter 11 – Integration throughout the Program Life Cycle

  • Chapter focuses on distinguishing characteristics of PM and SE life cycles
  • Important to integrate PM and SE throughout all stages but particularly at inception and transition into operation
  • Generic life cycle for programs: concept, development, production and utilization
  • Research shows that nobody uses SE standards in parallel with PM standards, so how to assert that approach is actually integrated?
  • In large Infrastructure Projects (LIPs), interrelationships between SE, PM and asset management are key factors of successful implementation
  • Research shows that highest leverage of costs and outcome of the project is during the early stages
  • PMs and SEs both concerned with management issues such as planning, assessment and control such as meeting requirements, leading and managing risk but exact allocation of duties depends on factors such as customer and stakeholder interactions and organizational structure
  • Accountability, level of authority, required competencies and supervisory responsibilities should be outlined in each role for the PM and SE
  • Chief SEs more likely to report experiencing unproductive tension than PMs, stating unclear expectations and authority within the program
  • Table 11-3 in The Book identifies areas where integration may be possible, and, more importantly, where integration may make a contribution to the ultimate success of the program.
  • PMs and SEs operate in silos due to separate perception of roles, life cycles, standards, missions, goals, influences, cultures and perspectives

Chapter 12 – The Impact of Effective Integration on Program Performance

  • One of first steps in managing and improving integration is to define a set of variables and a systematic approach to assimilate them within a program
  • Contextual variables specific to each program will help to tailor management approach:
  • Understand integration: develop a clear understanding of the meaning along with key elements; rapid and effective decision-making; effective collaborative work, and effective information sharing.
  • Develop an approach to asses and improve integration in conjunction with program benefits that demonstrate quantitative and qualitative evidence of value of integration
  • Consider program type, industry sector, organizational environment in tailoring approach
  • Treat integration as a competence to develop to higher levels
  • Integration requires leadership in management and technical perspective as both PMs and SEs could benefit from understanding responsibilities and pressures from either side

PPI SyEN 68 – August 30, 2018 Chapter 13 – Integration Means Change

  • Value of integration for organization: improved measures of program performance to assess requirements fulfillment, improved performance and lower cost, competitive agility, strengthened teamwork, effective communication
  • Integration requires change from current state to envisioned state, a shift in mindset, adoption of a holistic view and a plan for execution
  • Model for sustainable change developed by PMI (page 262 of the book for more details):

Support from the top

Utilize change-sustaining approaches

Shift paradigms when needed

Talk and communicate

Assimilate and integrate

Invest in planning for sustained results

Negotiate results with a portfolio approach

  • Many organizations take on a lot of change, but few sustain it- a holistic systems approach is required to do so
  • Systems thinking is necessary for sustainable change since it considers wider context and interaction of components
  • Sustained change requires consideration of effect on organizational objectives, business systems, culture leadership, daily operations
  • Change happens when forces pushing to change exceed those preventing the change- these forces include systems, individuals, etc
  • Change begins with strategic imperative for change which considers the business case (strategy phase)
  • Assessing the readiness for change of the organization is an important aspect of the strategy phase
  • The planning phase outputs a transformation plan including a benefits roadmap
  • In an IBM report from a survey of CEOs regarding strategy implementation, the top challenges to success include: Changing mindsets and values (58%), Corporate culture (49%) and Underestimation of complexity (33%)

PPI SyEN 69 – 24 September 2018, Chapter 14 – Successful Change Programs that Improved Integration

  • Five case studies to in engineering illustrate different approaches to create changes needed to increase integration
  • Lockheed Missiles & Space Company (LMSC), in 1957 integrated management approach was developed when SE discipline was in early stages. Repeated technical failure in complex systems resulted in decision to integrate chief systems engineer into program organization. Result was improved mission success rates and sustained change by diffusing practices into follow-on programs. Actions taken in this example:
  1. Integrating planning and resource allocation for engineering efforts into the program manager’s responsibilities;
  2. Restructuring roles of managers and functional leads in the program and in the division;
  3. Developing policies to manage staffing to ensure an appropriate and equitable balance of the right technical people across the organization;
  4. Developing leadership transition paths from chief systems engineer through program manager and above;
  5. Adapting to challenges by testing new integration approaches over time to see what works; and
  6. Pilot testing new ideas on one program, and then diffusing best practices to others.
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) tailored the Federal Acquisition Certification for Program and Project Managers (FAC-P/PM) to address growing acquisition challenges. Integrated PM and SE targeted at those involved in smaller projects. Students returned to their jobs and successfully completed projects which they previously failed or struggled with. The actions taken in this example to increase integration included:
  1. Create integrated certification for program managers that drew on both program management and systems engineering standards to raise program manager awareness of systems engineering.
  2. Provide training to project and program managers on a widespread basis, regardless of the size of their projects or programs.
  3. Provide multi-tiered certification system to help increase the depth of understanding about the integration issues between program management and systems engineering.
  4. Capture successful practices and insights and disseminate them across multiple locations.
  5. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company specializing in diversified financial services had a disparity in software development processes that stemmed from the underlying differences in traditional versus agile methods. They set up the Application Development Center (ADC) to unify the methods but the results were mixed in terms of success. Eventually the company embarked on changes achieved through Lean Six Sigma and the quality and productivity improved significantly. The actions taken in this example to increase integration included:
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company specializing in diversified financial services had a disparity in software development processes that stemmed from the underlying differences in traditional versus agile methods. They set up the Application Development Center (ADC) to unify the methods but the results were mixed in terms of success. Eventually the company embarked on changes achieved through Lean Six Sigma and the quality and productivity improved significantly. The actions taken in this example to increase integration included:
  1. A change program to improve management integration with developers, leveraging existing change agents and infrastructure to roll out change initiatives across the company.
  2. Tracking down the root cause of inconsistent execution of agile across the organization: a lack of process discipline and an attitude of exclusion between program and project management and the software developers.
  3. Redefining the program management orientation to better align with the agile development approach.
  4. Creating the Application Development Center with a focus on technical excellence and process discipline.
  5. Creating standard work for managers explaining how they should interact with the development teams, including reporting and priorities.
  6. Developing a new set of performance metrics for program managers to track development progress.
  • BMW’s engineering department developed a change program involving a top-down, large scale transformation tackling strategy and bottom-up initiatives focusing on individuals and teams. The transformation activities addressed three challenges: exhilarating products, efficient processes and structures and emotions and team spirit (E3). The actions taken in this example to increase integration included:
  1. Senior leaders provided the vision and resources for the change and were personally involved in supporting it.
  2. The company and division strategy were communicated to all employees in special meetings and used to define the change projects.
  3. A PMO managed the change program and provided resources to enable local leaders and employees to implement the change. An internal professional change management group with change agents, toolsets, and a model for change assisted the PMO.
  4. Projects included both top-down and bottom-up change initiatives to engage the entire workforce.
  5. The scope of changes addressed product, processes, tools, communications, leadership, and culture.
  • Final case study presented in Chapter 14: ‘the Big Dig’. Initiated by a small group of people who saw the need to revitalize the city, the program had 132 major work projects, 54 design packages, thousands of subcontractors, 9000 processes and producers and 5000 workers and although it was not always on schedule and budget, it did deliver one of the most complex inter-city tunneling efforts in the world. This was made possible through the Partnering Process that involved the sharing of risk to establish partnership relationships for improved schedule adherences, quality and safety and reduce cost, claims, disputes and litigation. Almost 100 partnerships existed in the Big Dig Program. The actions taken in this example to increase integration included:
  1. Giving leaders shared roles (for example, the engineering manager/deputy program manager) to encourage an integrated perspective.
  2. Directing project managers and engineers to work toward shared goals with specific direction to take into account the perspectives of other disciplines in making decisions.
  3. Introducing an IPO and integrated team structures.
  4. Establishing comprehensive risk management and quality assurance integrated into the component projects.
  5. Integrating performance reviews that included overall technical compliance with scope and schedule specifications, start-up, testing and test data, and approval activities at several levels prior to the acceptance of and payment for any contract.
  6. Providing rewards for innovation to the team rather than to individuals.
  • It is unfortunate that many complex projects are not more successful and effective in achieving results anticipated by stakeholders. Challenge is: how do we get people to work together and support one another? Some relatively simply ideas are presented in this chapter. What can the SE community do to take a step forward and who are the leaders whip will provide the vision and direction for this to happen?

PPI SyEN 70 – October 2018 Chapter 15 – Leading an Integration Change Program

  • Once the need for change has been recognized, leaders much choose an approach for change, stand firm in the face of considerable resistance and use facts to move toward positive structural change while refraining from a quick resolution or assigning blame
  • Typically, leaders will follow one of two paths: appoint people external to the organization or internal to the organization to identify improvement opportunities, design and lead the organizational change effort
  • Leaders of the change initiative must be perceived as inspirational, influential, persuasive, dynamic and effective. Change will usually take place over an extended period of time and will only be realized in sustained operation of the organization
  • For the change management initiative to be successful, a leadership team needs to be formed, typically consisting of an executive sponsor (champion), program manager (charged with oversight and leadership of the change initiative), the Chief Systems Engineer (CSE) and systems engineering (SE) domain leaders (who bring deep technical experience and expertise and represent the organization’s broad SE environment), the Program Manager and program management domain leaders (who bring deep management experience and expertise and represent the organization’s broad program management environment), and leaders of the governance body (typically executives: partners and internal and external stakeholder leaders).
  • Critical parts of the change management program are:
  1. Planning- of support for long term, commitment from organization, target outcomes, meaningful metrics, design and implementation processes for governing change, documentation, selection of skilled individuals and system and technology solutions to support integration
  2. Observing and interviewing- assessment of environment and true source of troubles, documented observations, day-to-day operations, interviews with program leaders, stakeholders, team members and other staff
    > weakness of hastily assessed problems and implemented solutions is apparent
  3. Synthesizing, sharing and mapping- input dimensions include people competencies, contextual factors, program and team characteristics, organizational structure and stakeholder alignment. Once observations have been aligned to the framework, information can be shared with leaders and staff who contributed to the discussion. Clear, open and honest communication with organizational leaders is essential. Once review and acceptance has taken place, leaders will map information to various elements and link issues to dimensions of the framework. The mapped information will make up content for communication with sponsors, participants, stakeholders and leaders before embarking on campaign within the organization.
  • Communications must be designed in conjunction with the program elements to be addressed over time. Components of communication include detailed explanation of what is anticipated and the future benefits of the call to action.
  • Change program leaders will begin process by prioritizing various elements to be conducted
  • Even when change is successful initially it is seldom ingrained into the organization. Shortcutting change management processes leads to failed programs or inability to sustain benefits.
  • Each of the steps must be carefully understood, planned, performed, reviewed, reported, and repeated. A critical end-state is that the program manager and the chief systems engineer view themselves as partners who together share responsibility for the program’s success and outcome.

PPI SyEN 71 – November 2018 Chapter 16 – Calls to Action

  • Chapter addresses five groups that must play a key role in driving PM and SE integration. Requirement is that all must thrive on change and work collaboratively to raise the challenges of change.

Academia: held budding professionals learn to adapt

  • Attitude to lifelong learning must be embraced with emphasis on systems thinking, transversal skills and competencies (communication and language), handling information, solving problems and project management
  • Colleges and universities need to provide interdisciplinary curricula with a focus on balancing stakeholder management, costs, schedule and addressing safety, tooling, teams and ethics
  • Engineering leadership should be included to encompass integration across functional and organizations bodies that may not currently be addressed in life cycle and operations-focused courses
  • Goldsmith, Hornsby, and Wells propose that faculty members exemplify transformational change by becoming interdisciplinary in their research, engagements and outreach industry

Enterprise: build the right engine for strategy implementation

  • Achieving outcomes relies on having an effective means of implementing strategy. One way to achieve this is with five interlocking components: culture, vision, talent, capabilities and leadership
  • Three mechanisms must work together to executive and sustain change: culture, commitment and capacity
  • Employing effective mentoring and coaching programs within the organization that are focused on how real work is achieved, how barriers are overcome and insight into experience and lessons learned e.g. NASA’s Academy of Project/Program and Engineering Leadership (APPEL) is invaluable
  • Adoption of methodologies through system practices, techniques, procedures and standards in order to develop business process management and ongoing process improvement is highly beneficial but unfortunately is commonly not valued for short term return and is seen as an avoidable overhead
  • Organizational leaders must embrace culture and capability development to drive strategy and promote ongoing improvement by inputting resources and support structures in place to do so

Policymakers: Refocus Oversight and Accountability in the Right Ways

  • Tightening budgets and poor performance of government engineering programs is forcing government executives to transform their thinking related to program capabilities as is seen with eth UK’s Major Projects Authority (MPA)-established in 2011 to oversee 200 large projects (with a value of close to £500 billion) and has advanced PM capabilities and expertise to reflect interdisciplinary perspective for engineering transformation.
  • Government Accountability Office (GAO) in the US stated in 2001 that applying systems engineering to weapons systems before beginning product development reduced cost and delivered better results. In 2015, the GAO acknowledged the need for SE in conjunction with SE/PM integration

Industry and Professional Societies: Take an Interdisciplinary View

  • Professional societies such as INOCSE play an important role in professional discipline communities as they have the capability increase depth and specialization of knowledge within the community
  • Certifications provide an objective method for evaluating individual’s ability to apply knowledge and experience real-life problems and challenges
  • They can an also facilitate collaborative research programs within academic and research communities to identify leading practices for managing complex engineering programs

Researchers: Explore Interdisciplinary Systems

  • The critical need is to provide adequate systems, structures, culture and practices to enable program management and technical leadership to align work and achieve objectives
  • NASA administrator James E. Webb established partnerships with 13 of the leading engineering universities in the US to develop the management of technology (MOT) programs that target education of future program leadership and research to improve approaches in complex programs. After three decades, a wealth of research was gained that is applied to engineering programs today. From MIT’s perspective. The MOT has changed the way the world thinks about innovation
  • Research community offers an objective viewpoint which frames issues and opportunities away from politics to produce groundbreaking insight and knowledge

[1] Eisner, H. Essentials of Project and Systems Engineering Management (3rd Ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

[2] See IPMSE, pp. 109-110.

[3] See section 9.6 of IPMSE for a description of this program, perhaps the most famous of all systems engineering programs, known for its convergence of science, technology, and human innovation.

[4] See section 12.5 of IPMSE.

[5] See Section 14.2 of IPMSE.

[6] See Section 14.3 of IPMSE.

[7] See Section 14.4 of IPMSE.

[8] See Section 14.5 of IPMSE.


Published By

Systems engineering thought leader, consultant, trainer and coach, impacting people's lives on six continents.
Published 4 years ago


FREE Monthly SE Industry News?
Scroll to Top