Original Post Date: Wednesday, September 25, 2013

“Integration Factors – What Makes TruePlanning™ Stand Out in the Crowd”

In today’s world, system integration is becoming more and more important. The government has started asking for designs that have additional capabilities, which allow connectivity both with systems under construction and systems already in use and deployed. The reason systems integration is important is because it adds value to the system by adding abilities that are now possible because of new interactions between subsystems.

In a recently posted article on “The True Costs of Integration” the writer defined the costs of a typical integration project in four distinct phases:

  • The initial setup costs
  • The cost of configuring and customizing the integration project
  • Ongoing maintenance costs
  • Costs involved when any of the elements of the integration project change.

These four key phases are always not clearly thought out when it comes to developing new systems with high integration. For instance the GAO this March released a new report on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The report highlighted the improvements that this catastrophic program has made in the last year. 7 out of 10 key management objectives for 2012 made substantial progress, however two other objectives were not met, and the last objective which is software made improvements, but still was reported to have a steep hill of challenges to overcome. After reading this last report it was evident that one of the key areas missed during this projects estimate was the incorrect calculation in regards to Integration and Test (I&T) Costs. More specifically the report pointed to the software I&T as lagging behind the project plans even though most of the software development has occurred. This lag in the software lifecycle is due to a surmountable amount of integration and testing that needs to occur before the full mission capability is truly realized.

 

This is soft spot that I highlighted above is not an isolated case to the F-35 it has caused many program overruns for the DOD.  This soft spot is a sweet spot for TruePlanning®. Inside the TruePlanning framework, you can estimate the integration of Hardware, Software and IT all in one framework.  You can define on each component its external integration complexity into its subsystem and furthermore you can define each subsystems complexity into the whole system.

This is performed with our Assembly costs object which estimates the development, production, and Operation and Support activities from the sub-level cost elements size and complexity.  

In short our Assembly cost object can help with the four distinct phases of integration.

To highlight a few of these inputs within our assembly cost object that can be used to estimate cost against the four phases of cost integration mentioned above I have created a cross reference table.

Phases

Inputs Assembly Cost Object

Initial Set Up

Systems Complexity

Management Team Complexity

Cost of Configuring and Customizing

System Complexity

Complexity for structure/electronics

Hardware/Software Integration

External integration complexity structure and electronics

Hardware platform Stability/Availability for Software

Ongoing Maintenance Costs

Maintenance Concept

Supply points

Maintenance points

Operational hours

Costs for change

Requirements Stability

Number of Requirements

Number of Operational Scenarios

 

This table is not all inclusive there are many other inputs that could be used to help with estimating costs of integration. In addition I only discussed the assembly cost object inside TP where I&T costs are held. However each component, whether it be Hardware, software or I&T has an external integration input which affects the next higher up assembly of your system in which it is contained.