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CERC Technical Report Series

Technical Memoranda





H. M. Karandikar

R. T. Wood

Concurrent Engineering Research Center

J. Byrd, Jr.

Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Development, Inc.


*Proceedings of the Second Annual International Symposium of the National Council on Systems Engineering (NCOSE), Seattle, WA, July 20-22, 1992.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: This effort has been sponsored by Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (DARPA), under contract No. MDA972-88-C-0047 for DARPA Initiative in Concurrent Engineering(DICE).

Concurrent Engineering Research Center West Virginia University
Drawer 2000, Morgantown WV 26506



Implementing Concurrent Engineering (CE) in an organization involves a transformation of its culture, practices, and technology. Satisfactorily accomplishing this transformation requires a clear understanding of the existing practices and state of the technology for product development within the organization. This understanding is facilitated by a classification of the processes and technology employed for product development. For processes, a five stage CE Process Maturity Model is proposed. The five stages are differentiated based on certain critical elements of CE. Similarly, stages concerning the introduction and use of advanced tools and technology for product development are identified. Three such stages in five different technology areas are considered. A description of these process and technology stages is presented in this paper. Pointers are provided on how to assess the status of an organization with respect to these stages. Then, this information can be applied to determine what strategic and tactical decisions need to be made to implement CE.


Successful CE implementation requires the commitment of the managerial and technical staff. Indeed the word "readiness" conveys willingness (commitment) as well as capability. Once the commitment to CE is made, a strategy may be charted. The first step in this strategy must be to determine the current state of the organization's management practices, organizational culture, and technology for product development. This is the motivation for conducting a process and technology readiness assessment. Following is a brief discussion of several recent assessment approaches.

The assessment questionnaire presented in Ref. [1] helps to determine a company's current product development environment in relation to four dimensions of CE as well as to key areas within each dimension. These dimensions and areas are as follows:
? Organization: Team integration, empowerment, training and education, automation support.
? Communication infrastructure: Product
management, product data, feedback.
? Requirements: Requirements definition,
planning methodology, planning perspective, validation, standards.
? Product development: Component engineering, design process, optimization.
This questionnaire may be followed by applying a "methods matrix" to determine the CE methods needed by an organization, a "dimensions map" to determine

the variation between the existing status and needs, and a "priority roadmap" for implementing CE.

A classification scheme for organizations, in terms of levels, is presented in Ref. [2]. A two step process for developing a roadmap for implementing CE is described. The first step deals with determining the level of CE appropriate for an organization or a program based on its goals and competitive position. For example, a complex, advanced-technology program involving a number of participants from different organizations and spread out geographically will require comprehensive CE capabilities. In order to facilitate assessment, nine influencing factors for CE are defined with four levels of complexity. The second step involves the identification of the required characteristics of the CE approach. The attributes of CE are classified into four major categories: organization, requirements, communication, and development methodology. This classification is similar to the one presented in Ref. [1]. The approach presented in Ref. [2] has yet to be validated. The methodology seems complex and does not clearly distinguish between organizational and technical factors. Additionally, the method is based mostly on knowledge of the electronics industry.

The assessment approach presented in Ref. [3] is applicable to the software engineering process. The basis of the assessment is a Capability Maturity Model (CMM) comprised of five process stages and two technology stages. The CMM may be used for organizational self-assessment and improvement, as well as for external evaluation of an organization's capability to implement good software engineering practices and to deliver quality software products on time. The assessment is made in two categories: process and technology. An assessment questionnaire is provided. The analysis of the responses to the questions places the organization into one of the process and technology stages. The assessment approach does not incorporate any quantifiable metrics that can be tracked to determine the progression of an organization.

A very detailed assessment, including recommendations for improvement, of the industrial processes in defense systems development is provided in the U.S. Navy's Best Practices Template [4]. Finally, the criteria incorporated in the self-assessment methodology of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award [5] are relevant to an organization's readiness for CE. As shown in Table 1 the Baldrige Award criteria cover 7 categories and over 28 sub-categories.

The approach discussed in this paper is general and focuses on the application of CE in the product development process.


Information and Analysis
? Scope and management of quality and
performance data and information
? Competitive comparisons and
? Analysis and uses of company-level data

Strategic Quality Planning
? Strategic quality and company
performance planning process
? Quality and performance plans

Quality and Operational Results
? Product and service quality results
? Company operational results
? Business process and support service results
? Supplier quality results

? Senior executive
? Management for
? Public responsibility

Human Resource Utilization
? Human resource management
? Employee involvement
? Employee education and training
? Employee performance and recognition
? Employee well-being and morale

Customer Focus and Satisfaction
? Customer relationship management
? Commitment to customers
? Customer satisfaction determination
? Customer satisfaction results
? Customer satisfaction comparison
? Future requirements and expectations of
Management of Process Quality
? Design and introduction of quality
products and services
? Process management - Product and service
production and delivery process
? Process management - Business processes
and support services
? Supplier quality
? Quality assessment



Based on the Software Engineering Institute's software engineering process maturity model [3,6], a five stage CE Process Maturity Model has been developed. Process maturity indicates the quality of the process and the consistency with which it is applied. The five stages of CE process maturity are as follows:

This stage is characterized by ill-defined procedures and controls and by Chaotic teams that do not understand their assignments nor how to operate effectively. Management of the product development process is not applied consistently in projects, and modern tools and technology are not used
consistently, if at all.
Standard methods and practices are used for
monitoring progress, requirements changes, cost estimation, etc. The process is repeatable. False teams may exist at this stage.
The process is well characterized and reasonably well understood. A series of organizational and process improvements has been implemented. A group is responsible for implementing and monitoring the

product development process. Conflict resolution is the principal focus of product development teams. Managed
The process is not only characterized and understood but is also quantified, measured, and reasonably well controlled. Tools to control and to manage the process are used. The uncertainty concerning the process outcome is reduced. True teams are used in the product development process.
A high degree of control is used over the process, and there is a major focus on significantly and
continually improving operations by using process metrics and lessons learned.

In practice, the five stages are differentiated by the critical elements of CE described in Table 2. Further details are given in Appendix A. The characteristics corresponding to the different types of teams have been defined and elaborated upon in Ref. [7].


Similar to the process maturity model, stages involving the introduction and use of advanced tools and technology for product development may be identified. Two stages, Inefficient and Basic, are defined in Ref. [3]


in the context of software development. This classification is too coarse for our purpose; three stages (Initial, Intermediate, and Advanced) for different technology areas are therefore considered. The technology under consideration for CE is essentially computer-based, and the tools are divided into two categories: Application Tools and Generic Services. Generic services, which support virtual tiger teams, fall under the following categories:
? Communication services;
? Coordination services;
? Information Sharing services; and
? Integration services.
Tools developed to implement each of these services often rely upon the technology in more than one area. For example, a tool for team coordination will use both communication and information sharing services.

A brief description of the readiness stages for application tools and for the generic services follows. The definition of the stages is not fixed; what is Advanced today may be considered Intermediate a few years from now.

Application tools
Computer-based application tools assist in product definition and process planning based on life-cycle considerations. The three readiness stages for application tools are as follows:
Application tools and methods that increase
individual effectiveness (e.g., Computer-Aided Design (CAD) packages, spreadsheets) are used. Intermediate
Application tools and methods that increase
group/team effectiveness and interaction through sharing of information are utilized. These tools, such as Quality Function Deployment (QFD), allow multiple perspectives to work together on a shared model.
Application tools which enforce a multidisciplinary
approach to product development and which facilitate project level interaction are used. Tools work from a shared product data model.

Communication services
With large product development efforts, it is often not possible to have all team members and their tools in

one physical location. Communication services encompass the technology to bring together the dispersed team as well as its data and tools (e.g., programs). The presence of networks and network access is required for supporting certain types of communication and for providing access to programs. There are three dimensions of interpersonal communication, namely, the media used (e.g., text, voice, or video), the mechanism of communication (e.g., post, telephone, or e-mail), and the content and style. The communication between people and programs requires communication primitives that facilitate flexible inter-process communication (IPC) and services that make optimal use of the network resources [8]. The three progressively advanced stages of communication services within an organization are: Initial
- Use of systems utilities for IPC, e.g., Remote Procedure Calls (RPC) and Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) sockets.
- Little or no transparency for invoking programs, i.e., substantial knowledge of network required. - Execution of remote applications via telnet or remote login.
- Multiple, unconnected Local Area Networks (LAN).
- Medium to low bandwidth networks.
- Communication by text/graphics and voice. Intermediate
- Some transparency for invoking programs, i.e., limited knowledge of network required.
- Execution of single and multiple remote
applications from command line possible.
- Partially interconnected LANs.
- Medium bandwidth networks.
- Communication by text/graphics, voice, and still video.
- Availability of the full functionality
corresponding to communication, resource
directory, application invocation, and network utilization services described above.
- High bandwidth networks.
- Use of dedicated communication lines in order to obtain optimal speed and reliability.
- Communication by text/graphics, voice, still video, and real-time video.


Customer focus - Understanding of the customer requirements & expectations; - Constant attention to customer satisfaction; and - Rapid assessment & accommodation of new priorities. Process focus - Documentation of process capabilities and metrics; - Understanding of the value chain & linkages with the customer & supplier value chains; - Modeling of process workflows;
- Identification & control of critical process events & parameters; and - Relentless pursuit of improvement.
Assignment of teams to
product development
- Representation of all relevant life-cycle perspectives in the product development process from the early stages, e.g., Marketing, Research & Development, Design, Manufacturing, & Support.
Execution of planned
strategies for team

- Team performance measures;
- Team training ? social & analytical skills; and - Removal of organizational barriers to effective teamwork. Accommodation of teams
within the organization
- Physical or virtual collocation;
- Career paths for members of cross-functional teams; - Team recognition & incentives;
- Management directive describing team responsibilities, authority, & accountability; - Operation of teams as strategic business units in organization's value chain; and - Team culture.
Management systems - Risk (uncertainty) management; - Integrated master planning & scheduling;
- Value-based resource allocation;
- Cost/schedule control systems;
- Technical performance monitoring; and
- Program based budget authority.
Mechanism for rapid
product assurance
- Adoption of standards and robust design principles; - Application of computer aided design & simulation tools; and - Use of rapid prototyping tools.
Technology systems &
tools for CE
- Shared information;
- Communication services;
- Coordination services;
- Corporate memory; and
- Integrated tools & databases.
Leadership of senior
- Leadership role model;
- Steering committee for CE issues;
- Commitment to the resolution of issues at the lowest level; - Commitment to support CE throughout the transformation cycle; and - Relentless pursuit of improvement.
Discipline - Doing what it takes to get the job done ? with integrity; - Consistency ? common methodologies & measurements; - Minimizing changes late in the development cycle; - Demanding a quality product or service;
- Fair treatment of customers, even when it costs; - Subjugating individual interests to team consensus; - Managing resources as though they were your own; and - Facing reality & solving problems.


Coordination services
These services assist in the coordination of virtually collocated teams by supporting teams over a computer network and by supporting structured group working, which involves:
- Work flow management;
- Tools to help monitor and track the progress of a project; and
- Support for decision-making and conflict
The three stages of the coordination services are: Initial

- Group communication via synchronous (e.g., telephone) and asynchronous (e.g., e-mail)
messages is possible.
- Ill-defined computer-based teams.
- No support for structured group working.
- No collaborative Graphical User Interface (GUI) facility.
- Group communication and interaction via the perception of common objects is possible, e.g., - interaction with reference to a common
workspace (structured data),


- interaction with reference to a common
canvas (data in no specific form), or
- interaction with reference to a semistructured
information sharing service.
- Team members are aware of the structure of the team.
- Support for structuring group work using some basic protocols of interaction.
- Virtual team structure is well defined and visible. - Support for multiple, cross-functional teams. - Support for structured group-working.

Information sharing services
There are five dimensions to this generic service: 1. Information management - DBMS (Database Management System), Distributed DBMS,
Federated DBMS, or KBMS (Knowledge-based Management System);
2. Type of information being managed - plain text, graphics, or multimedia;
3. Data models for information representation - relational, object-oriented, or knowledge-based; 4. Information content - product data, process information, and organization or enterprise
information (including corporate memory); and 5. Compliance with data representation and exchange standards, e.g., PDES/STEP for data
representation and CALS for document exchange. Based on these dimensions, the three stages for the information sharing services within an organization are: Initial
- Islands of information management exist.
- A large amount of information exists in
physical, as opposed to electronic, form.
- There is a lack of knowledge of or adherence to internal or external data representation and
exchange standards.
- No master model exists.
- No corporate memory.
- Most of the information is available
- Most of the information is managed by local Database Management System facilities.
- Heterogeneous databases are partially integrated. - Partial compliance with data representation and exchange standards.
- Master model of the product exists but is not tied to the process and resource constraints.
- "Cut and paste" corporate memory.
- All information in electronic form is managed by appropriate DBMS and KBMS facilities.
- Access to and use of these information
repositories is mediated by Federated Database Management facilities.

- Full compliance with industry-wide data
representation and exchange standards is
- Comprehensive master model of the product development exists ? includes product, process, and organization descriptions with
- Full corporate memory with semi-automatic capture mechanisms for handling multimedia

Integration services
The capabilities for the integration of tools and data are highly dependent on the level of maturity of the services discussed earlier. The three stages of the integration services are as follows:
- Use of separate and unconnected
- Facility for data transfer between tools via
customized translation programs.
- User deals with multiple user interfaces.
Interoperable computing environment, i.e.,
- tools and databases communicate as part of a common network,
- computing power can be shared,
- same data is visible to all, and
- the ways of communicating and manipulating data are uniform for all team members.
All generic services, relevant application tools, and product/process/ organization data are accessible from a local workstation through a uniform,
collaborative, graphical user interface.
Frameworks and wrappers [9] permit local
manipulation of shared data.


The position of a product or project group in an organization with respect to process practices and the utilization of tools and technology is captured in Figure 1. The results of a sample assessment is shown by dots (which have been connected). The process assessment is conducted based on the critical elements of CE and the technology assessment is conducted in each of the five categories discussed in Section 3.

The information captured in Figure 1 gives an idea of the current status of the product development processes and can provide pointers to the improvement path to be taken. In particular, one can determine what strategic (process-oriented) and tactical (tool-oriented) decisions need to be made to implement CE practices. The decisions should aim to advance the technology employed by the organization along the stages and to


ensure a balance in the advance. The balance is crucial because, for example, one cannot have good coordination without effective communication, and the

effective use of advanced application tools requires sound communication and information sharing services.
















of teams

CE enabling










These decisions and the process of making them will appear in Ref. [10]. The status of the organization in each category can be determined by seeking answers to a set of questions through interviews. This mechanism is similar to the one proposed in Refs. [3,5]. A questionnaire for process assessment is currently being formulated, and a draft of the questionnaire for technology assessment is presented in Appendix B. The assessment tool discussed here is being further enhanced by incorporating metrics for CE. These metrics are described in Ref. [11]. Alternatively, in place of an individual questionnaire, the Nominal Group Technique (NGT) may be used to advantage with groups chosen from representative cross-sections of an organization. Using task statements appropriate to CE, an assessment team can effectively uncover the readiness of an organization in just a few days.


This work has been partially funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) under contract number MDA-972-91-J-1022 "DARPA Initiative in Concurrent Engineering (DICE)".


1. D. E. Carter and B. S. Baker, Concurrent Engineering: The Product Development
Environment for the 1990's, Vol. I, Mentor
Graphics Corporation, 1991.
2. L. R. Linton et. al., "First Principles of
Concurrent Engineering: A Competitive Strategy for Electronic Product Development", CALS/CE Electronic Task Group, CALS Technical Report 005, 1991.
3. W. S. Humphrey et. al., "A Method for Assessing the Software Engineering Capability of Contractors (Preliminary Version)", Technical Report
CMU/SEI-87-TR-23, Software Engineering
Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, Sept. 1987. 4. "Best Practices: How to Avoid Surprises in the World's Most Complicated Technical Process ? The Transition from Development to Production", Reliability, Maintainability, and Quality Assurance Directorate, Department of the Navy, Mar. 1986. 5. "1992 Award Criteria", Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD.


6. M. C. Paulk et. al., "Capability Maturity Model for Software", Technical Report CMU/SEI-91-TR- 24, Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie
Mellon University, Aug. 1991.
7. "Integrated Product Development: Transformation Strategies", Technical Report, Center for
Entrepreneurial Studies and Development, Inc., West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. 8. R. Kannan, K. J. Cleetus and R. Reddy, "An Advanced Software Environment for TransNetwork Computing", CERC-TR-TM-90-003, CERC Technical Report Series, Concurrent Engineering Research Center, Morgantown, WV, Nov. 1990. 9. V. Jagannathan et. al., "Computer Support for Concurrent Engineering: Four Strategic
Initiatives", Concurrent Engineering: Issues,

Technology and Practice, Vol. 1, No. 5, Sept./Oct. 1991, pp. 14-30.
10. "Guidelines for Concurrent Engineering
Implementation", Technical Report, Concurrent Engineering Research Center, West Virginia
University, Morgantown, WV.
11. "Process Capture and Characterization", Technical Report, Concurrent Engineering Research Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV.


The five stages of organizational CE process maturity were outlined in Section 2. A number of criteria used to differentiate between the five stages were also listed. A description of the five stages based on two of the criteria is presented next.

Customer Focus
Ad-hoc Limited processes are in place for capturing customer needs. Limited awareness of customer needs exists at the operating level. Some processes exist for identifying customer needs. Repeatable Customer needs are satisfied through product assurance function generally late in the design process. Characterized Product assurance is emphasized throughout the development process; most individuals are well aware of the customer's needs.
Managed Customer is involved in product development, and extensive processes are in place for meeting customer needs.
Optimizing Customer is part of the product development team. Extensive processes, utilizing appropriate computer-based technology, are in place for capturing, propagating, and meeting customer needs.

Team Development
Ad-hoc No team development process exists. Repeatable Teams are given generic team training at product development launch; there is no continuing training or monitoring of teams.
Characterized Teams are trained continuously and are evaluated at regular intervals. Managed Teams are trained continuously and are evaluated at regular intervals; process is in place to learn from team experiences; continuous attention is given to removing team barriers. Optimizing Team performance is regularly measured, and performance measures are continuously validated.


The implementation of CE can involve new technologies which may range from the very simple to the very sophisticated. A classification of the technologies was presented in Section 3. In this appendix, a set of sample questions for evaluating the status of an organization with respect to the technology stages for some of the services is presented. The application of the questionnaire is still being developed.

Communication services
1. What is the degree to which the entire organization is networked?
2. What is the quality of the underlying network hardware?

3. How is routine communication handled in the organization?
4. Are electronic mail capabilities available to each individual?
5. Can users exchange graphics and video over the network?
6. Are teleconferencing facilities available?
7. Can users access remote tools over the network? 8. Is it possible to share application programs over a network?

Coordination services
1. Are the customer or marketing requirements documented and available on-line?
2. Is there traceability from design constraints to customer requirements?
3. Is the product data electronically visible to all the product development team members?


4. Are interactive product data browsers available to all members of the product development team?
5. Is the product development work flow apparent to all team members?
6. Are the interacting perspectives automatically informed of problems resulting from their decisions? 7. Is on-line group decision support available to the team?
8. Is the structure of the networked virtual team apparent?

Information sharing services
1. Do current projects take advantage of developments in earlier projects?
2. How much information is archived electronically rather than stored in hardcopy?
3. How many types of Database Management Systems (DBMS) are available within the organization? 4. How many of these DBMSs share information with another DBMS?
5. Is it possible during a session on one DBMS to retrieve information from another DBMS with a different data model? Are there application programs which provide this integrated DB view to the users? 6. Does there exist electronically stored information that could be useful but is isolated and inaccessible to existing design tools?
7. Are there multimedia documents in the organization? and if so, do the information sharing services provide access to such repositories?
8. What is the nature of the data models utilized? Is the product, process, as well as organizational information stored?


Dr. Harsh Karandikar is on the technical staff at the Concurrent Engineering Research Center (CERC), West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. He received his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India, and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Houston. His research interests include design theory and methodology, design optimization, computer-based tools for CE, and processing of and design using advanced materials. He has co-authored over 25 journal and conference articles in these areas. Dr. Karandikar heads the Process Capture and Characterization effort which is part of the CE Process Program at CERC. The CE Process Program is dedicated to helping CERC's partners/affiliates capture, characterize, measure, manage, and "optimize" their product development processes and supporting organizations.

Dr. Ralph Wood is the Associate Director of the Concurrent Engineering Research Center (CERC) at West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV. He is

one of the principals and authors of the DARPA Initiative in Concurrent Engineering (DICE) and leads research efforts in defining, measuring, and managing the CE product development process. He holds ScB, ScM and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Brown University. Prior to joining CERC in 1990, Dr. Wood spent twenty-one years with the General Electric Company, first with the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory and then sixteen years with Corporate R&D working with many GE businesses on process problems. Dr. Wood has authored or co-authored eighteen publications in the technical literature and holds four US patents. He is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Sigma Xi, and The Metallurgical Society.

Dr. Jack Byrd is a Professor of Industrial Engineering at West Virginia University (WVU). He is also the Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Development, Inc., a notfor-profit organization whose mission is to support entrepreneurial activity in West Virginia. He is a registered professional engineer and has taught at WVU since 1969. His professional interests include operations management, decision modeling, productivity analysis, and entrepreneurial studies. Dr. Byrd's principal professional activities include strategic planning, operations improvements, productivity studies, organization development, and the management of innovation. He has worked with over 100 large and small organizations. Dr. Byrd is the author of numerous papers in national journals and also of three textbooks.