Risk Mitigation using Axiomatic Design Functional Requirements Analysis
Common Root Causes of Project Failure
Internet search will consistently identify the following issues:
- Lack of User Involvement
- Poor or undocumented requirements
- Long or Unrealistic Time Scales
- Scope Creep or lack of requirement change control systems
- Inadequately trained and/or inexperienced project managers
- Failure to set and manage expectations
- Failure to adequately identify, document and track requirements
- Misalignment between the project team and the business
- Inadequate communication, including progress tracking and reporting
Functional Requirements Analysis directly addresses many of these issues. What usually happens instead, however, is an inefficient iterative design and development cycles.
Iterative Design is Inefficient
Development projects typically undergo many cycles of the “design-build-test-redesign” cycle. In this approach, development decisions are made quickly based on experience and empirical data. 80% completion level is reached quickly. Then the pain sets in.
Mistakes made during the early design phase result in work that needs to be re-done. The business spends an order of magnitude more money and time than necessary.
Root cause analysis trace many software, process, and product development problems to the earliest phase of the development process, requirements engineering. Yet, most project teams still move into the design phase without a formal approach to evaluating the quality of requirement lists.
Functional Requirements Analysis and Risk Reduction
A key component of improving team performance is to systematically address the quality of the requirements. Use the Acclaro DFSS axiomatic design toolset for the following:
- Capture, analyze, verify and error proof stakeholder needs, functional (performance) requirements, and constraints.
- Evaluate the robustness of the requirements and concept solution applying MIT’s Axiomatic Design functional decomposition and coupling analysis.
- Implement a systematic and pre-emptive framework to assess and mitigate risk.
Benefits of Axiomatic Design Integrated with DFSS Tools
Axiomatic Design, based on scientific principles, uses this process to structure and organize the development process quickly and systematically. Developers, managers, engineers, and designers think functionally first, decomposing higher-level functional requirements (FRs) and physical embodiments called design parameters (DPs) without introducing coupling of functions. There is traceability of design logic when changes are introduced throughout the lifecycle of the product.
Complexity theory – a result of Axiomatic Design – also provides guidelines for robust design. Engineers are prevented from working on non-existent problems. Systems with time-dependent combinatorial complexity may be converted into systems with time-dependent periodic complexity. This will prevent system failures due to the inadvertent creation of chaotic systems. Catching problems earlier in the development process minimizes costly iterations. Using the Axiomatic Design process with an integrated DFSS toolset improves the completeness and quality of the requirements before the bulk of development work.