Accession Number:

ADA543588

Title:

Program Complexity: Can We Understand It? Can We Overcome It?

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:

DEFENSE ACQUISITION UNIV FT BELVOIR VA

Report Date:

2011-05-01

Pagination or Media Count:

4.0

Abstract:

Complex systems are typically systems of systems, which possess emergent characteristics and are created when many independent and not-so-obvious dependent factors interact and interconnect in ways that are non-linear, often unexpected or unknown, and sometimes even chaotic in nature. One often-quoted idea from chaos theory holds that a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world may be responsible for causing a typhoon in another. Small, seemingly innocuous decisions or initial conditions that are established early in an acquisition program can create far-reaching and surprising downstream consequences to cost, schedule, and performance, thereby eroding longer term benefits. These nonlinear and seemingly unknown effects are undoubtedly present in most of todays complex acquisition programs, but as yet, we do not possess the tools, techniques, or holistic understanding of unknown system tipping points to predict or even measure this type of phenomenon.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE