Home > Articles > Software Development & Management

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

3.2 Success Story: Concurrent Competitive-Prototyping RPV Systems Development

A concurrent incremental-commitment approach to the agent-based RPV control opportunity, using the ICSM process and competitive prototyping, would recognize that there were a number of risks and uncertainties involved in going from a single-scenario proof-of-principle demo to a fieldable system needing to operate in more complex scenarios. It would decide that it would be good to use prototyping as a way of buying information to reduce the risks, and would determine that a reasonable first step would be to invest $25 million in an Exploration phase. This would initially involve the customer and a set of independent experts developing operational scenarios and evaluation criteria from the requirements in Section 3.1 (to synthesize status information from multiple on-board and external sensors; to perform dynamic reallocation of RPVs to targets; to perform self-defense functions; and so on). These would involve not only the sunny-day use cases but also selected rainy-day use cases involving communications outages, disabled RPVs, and garbled data.

The customer would identify an RPV simulator that would be used in the competition, and would send out a request for information to prospective competitors to identify their qualifications to compete. Based on the responses, the customer would then select four bidders to develop virtual prototypes addressing the requirements, operational scenarios, and evaluation criteria, and providing evidence of their proposed agent-based RPV controllers’ level of performance. The customer would then have the set of independent experts evaluate the bidders’ results. Based on the results, it would perform an evidence- and risk-based Valuation Commitment Review to determine whether the technology was too immature to merit further current investment as an acquisition program, or whether the system performance, cost, and risk were acceptable for investing the next level of resources in addressing the problems identified and developing initial prototype physical capabilities.

As was discovered much more expensively in the failure case described earlier, the prospects for developing a 4:1 capability were clearly unrealistic. The competitors’ desire to succeed led to several innovative approaches, but also to indications that having a single controller handle multiple-version RPV controls would lead to too many critical errors. Overall, however, the prospects for a 1:1 capability were sufficiently attractive to merit another level of investment, corresponding to a Valuation phase. This phase was funded at $75 million, some of the more ambitious key performance parameters were scaled back, the competitors were down-selected to three, and some basic-capability but multiple-version physical RPVs were provided for the competitors to control in several physical environments.

The evaluation of the resulting prototypes confirmed that the need to control multiple versions of the RPVs made anything higher than a 1:1 capability infeasible. However, the top two competitors provided sufficient evidence of a 1:1 system feasibility that a Foundations Commitment Review was passed, and $225 million was provided for a Foundations phase: $100 million for each of the top competitors, and $25 million for customer preparation activities and the independent experts’ evaluations.

In this phase, the two competitors not only developed operational RPV versions, but also provided evidence of their ability to satisfy the key performance parameters and scenarios. In addition, they developed an ICSM Development Commitment Review package, including the proposed system’s concept of operation, requirements, architecture, and plans, along with a Feasibility Evidence Description providing evidence that a system built to the architecture would satisfy the requirements and concept of operation, and be buildable within the budget and schedule in the plan.

The feasibility evidence included a few shortfalls, such as remaining uncertainties in the interface protocols with some interoperating systems, but each of these was covered by a risk mitigation plan in the winning competitor’s submission. The resulting Development Commitment Review was passed, and the winner’s proposed $675 million, 18-month, three-increment Stage II plan to develop an initial operational capability (IOC) was adopted. The resulting 1:1 IOC was delivered on budget and 2 months later than the original 40-month target, with a few lower-priority features deferred to later system increments. Figure 3-3 shows the comparative timelines for the Sequential and Concurrent approaches.

FIGURE 3-3

FIGURE 3-3 Comparative Timelines

Of the $1 billion spent, $15 million was spent on the three discontinued Exploration-phase competitors, $40 million was spent on the two discontinued Valuation-phase competitors, and $100 million was spent on the discontinued Foundations-phase competitor. Overall, the competitive energy stimulated and the early risks avoided made this a good investment. However, the $125 million spent on the experience built up by the losing finalist could also be put to good use by awarding the finalist with a contract to build and operate a testbed for evaluating the RPV system’s performance.

Actually, it would be best to announce such an outcome in advance, and to do extensive team building and award fee structuring to make the testbed activity constructive rather than adversarial.

While the sequential and concurrent cases were constructed in an RPV context from representative projects elsewhere, they show how a premature total commitment without adequate resources for and commitment to early concurrent engineering of the modeling, analysis, and feasibility assessment of the overall system will often lead to large overruns in cost and schedule, and performance that is considerably less than initially desired. However, by “buying information” early, the concurrent incremental commitment and competitive prototyping approach was able to develop a system with much less late rework than the sequential total commitment approach, and with much more visibility and control over the process.

The competitive prototyping approach spent about $155 million on unused prototypes, but the overall expenditure was only $1 billion as compared to $3 billion for the total-commitment approach, and the capability was delivered in 42 versus 80 months, which indicates a strong return on investment. Further, the funding organizations had realistic expectations of the outcome, so that a 1:1 capability was a successful realization of an expected outcome, rather than a disappointing shortfall from a promised 4:1 capability. In addition, the investment in the losing finalist could be put to good use by capitalizing on its experience to perform an IV&V role.

Competitive prototyping can lead to strong successes, but it is also important to indicate its potential failure modes. These include under-investments in prototype evaluation, leading to insufficient data for good decision making; extra expenses in keeping the prototype teams together and productive during often-overlong evaluation and decision periods; and choosing system developers too much on prototyping brilliance and too little on ability to systems-engineer and production-engineer the needed products 4. These problem areas are easier to control in competitions among in-house design groups, where they are successfully used by a number of large corporations.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020