Technical Report: Development of Systems Engineering Maturity Models and Management Tools

Report Number: Technical Report SERC-2011-TR-014-1

Report Name:  Development of Systems Engineering Maturity Models and Management Tools


As current United States Department of Defense (DoD) system development and engineering activities continue to be challenged by formulation of larger and more complex systems, DoD‘s methods, processes, and tools (MPT) for effectively and efficiently addressing these challenges are likewise being challenged. The goal of this research was to develop a mixed methodological approach to examine systems development maturity. Qualitatively we intended to uncover and investigate the key characteristics that drive the development of large scale, complex systems. Quantitatively we used these key characteristics to formulate a collection of analytical MPT to assist in making informed systems engineering management decisions. To advance the state of practice of this research, all MPT developed under this task were validated through application on designated projects. The validation effort was designed to determine if they could be effectively implemented as a best practice across the Department of Defense. The need for this research is precipitated by the need for system engineering, development, and cost models that adequately incorporate the unique aspects of system and technology insertion and integration. This was then predicated on the following task objectives:

  •  Leverage prior investments made in the System Readiness Level (SRL) body of knowledge to explore the effects of technology and integration maturity on systems engineering effort and cost;
  • Expand the scope and applicability of the SRL to address potential systems engineering MPT; and
  • Enhance current SRL methods and tools to incorporate research-derived insights, provide expanded functionality, and demonstrate the utility of the tools in the context of a pilot project.

At present, the SRL is a descriptive model that characterizes the effects of technology and integration maturity on a system engineering effort, particularly with respect to integrating discrete functional systems into a coherent mission capability. The SRL model, as developed by the Systems Development & Maturity Laboratory (SysDML) at Stevens Institute of Technology, has been validated by the NAVSEA PMS 420, Littoral Combat Ship Mission Module Program Office in collaboration with Northrop Grumman Corporation which used it to monitor development and integration progress from a system perspective. The SRL and supporting assessment methodology has proven itself to be a promising mechanism for understanding the effects of technology and integration maturity in a systems engineering context. This task extends the research to better characterize the drivers of integration effort, and to explore application of the SRL to broader areas of the systems engineering management, where validated models and supporting tools are lacking.

Publication Date: January 21, 2011


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System Readiness Level, System Maturity And Architecture Assessment