Report Number: Technical Report SERC-2015-TR-111
Report Name: Agile Systems Engineering: Kanban Scheduling
Publication Date: December 22, 2015
Developing, creating or evolving systems of systems (SOSs) present significant systems engineering and management problems. Dahmann and Baldwin characterize these problems as stakeholder involvement, governance, operational focus, acquisition, test and evaluation, boundaries and interfaces, and performance and behavior . All systems face some of these problems, but the uniqueness of the dynamics and resulting communication issues in a SoS require a significant ability for adaptation within the system development community, as well as among the stakeholders. The principles for addressing these issues are no different from those required for any good systems engineering and development activity . Implementation of those principles in SoS environments, however, is a much thornier problem.
Agile and lean philosophies have shown to be effective in supporting adaptation within development and evolution , , . Complicated, large systems of systems in rapid or continuous deployment environments, where requirements are not precise and can change or emerge quickly, find traditional approaches inadequate.
In 2011, the Systems Engineering Research Center began to investigate alternative management and governance approaches for these complex environments, including a concept for an integrated multi-‐level network of pull scheduling systems based on explicit, transparent and continuously updated value of work , , . This Kanban-‐based Scheduling System Network (KSSN) concept was developed based on the following capabilities:
- Coordinate multiple levels of development activity across multiple system components with diverse and possibly disjoint or isolated development groups cover the entire program lifecycle, particularly through Test and Evaluation.
- Support analysis and decision making at every level
- Flexibly schedule work considering value across the system of systems
- Balance work in progress (WIP) across resources with SoS organizational capacity to improve flow
- Make visible to all levels progress toward capability development and deployment
- Establish a basis for continuous improvement in a rapidly changing environment
Difficulties in validating this concept in vivo led to the decision to create a broad simulation environment that would allow in vitro experimentation with KSSN, but also be applicable to studying other mechanisms, singly and in concert, operating in a range of organizational structures (including all four types of systems of systems identified in ) and handling different kinds, durations, complexity, and volumes of work flow. We believe that establishing statistically significant evidence across various combinations of mechanisms, organizations and work flows, as well as providing a suitable simulation “sandbox” for adopters to perform their own experiments will provide a level of confidence that in vivo experimentation (piloting) is low risk and provides value to adopters.
- Dr. Jeffrey Smith, Auburn University
- Dr. Levent Yilmaz, Auburn University
- Mr. Donghuang Li, Auburn University
- Mr. Saicharan Reddy Chada, Auburn University
- Mr. Alexey Tregubov, University of Southern California