Dependencies, networks, relationships, perspectives, are words often used to describe certain aspects of our business environment. From an industry perspective, those words appear to be more prevalent lately, as we try to find better ways to visualize and manage the growing complexity of our business environment.
The life cycle of products in some cases can span many decades from needs definition, product concept, product design, production, testing, release or deployment, in-market support/maintenance, upgrades to new versions and disposal at the end of life.
Delivering programs that cover such long life cycles without unexpected rework, substantial cost and time overruns and at a profit to the company appears today more a dream than a reality. Product delivery to the market can be late by years with associated large cost overruns and delayed profit realization.
There is now a mature category of methods, tools & consultants, that we refer to as Dependency Structure Matrices (DSM), that have demonstrated over the past 5 decades, the ability to more easily identify, analyze, and manage those dependencies that are inherent in our complex business and matter in system integration management. Using well understood matrix analysis techniques, the DSM can complement our existing methods and tools, to give us that additional ‘situational awareness’ we need.
Current un-awareness of the possibilities opening up through a higher focus on systems integration management perpetuates the current thinking of ‘this is the way life is’, similar to the thinking in manufacturing 50 years ago when defect rates were measured in fractions of a percent. This is now unthinkable and defect rates of ppm are the norm. We believe that in the future we will be able to reduce the ‘defect rate’ in managing product development and systems intergration to acceptable levels also.