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Utilization of Dependency Structure Matrix Analysis to Assess Complex Project Designs

[+] Author Affiliations
Timothy K. Brady

NASA-Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX

Paper No. DETC2002/DTM-34021, pp. 231-240; 10 pages
  • ASME 2002 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4: 14th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology, Integrated Systems Design, and Engineering Design and Culture
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, September 29–October 2, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3624-X
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


This paper describes a framework for evaluating the long-term effect of early project implementation decisions. Early decisions, such as establishing the system architecture and selecting technology of particular maturity, can have lasting impact throughout the project development process and during the project’s operations phase. A systems engineering analysis framework using two different extensions of dependency structure matrix (DSM) analysis was developed to provide a comprehensive system view of the project architecture and the technology choices. An “interface DSM” mapped the dependence of components on one another and identified the impact of component criticality on the project’s operations. A “technology risk DSM” included a component technology risk factor to help identify the patterns of system level risk. This analytical framework can be used to expand the design and management teams’ holistic view of the project, which can be used to enhance project implementation decision-making. The analytical framework described in this paper was applied to two spacecraft projects, which served as case studies. Analytical observations were compared to post-project lessons learned to develop a general understanding of the relationship between the critical elements of each project’s structure and the successful implementation approach for each case.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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