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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Assessing the impact of complexity attributes on system development project outcomes
by Sheard, Sarah A., Ph.D., Stevens Institute of Technology, 2012, 341; 3518280
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to determine complexity variables that can be measured on a complex system development effort early or in the middle of the project and that have an impact on project outcomes of cost overrun, schedule delay, and performance shortfall. To establish useful measurements, in addition to specifying complexity, one also must specify the entity whose complexity is being measured. Is it the system being built? Is it the project building the system? Does the environment into which the system will be inserted an entity also have complexity, and does that matter?

The vehicle for studying the impact of complexity variable values on project outcomes was a retrospective survey performed on 75 projects, mostly from the aerospace/defense domain. Surveys provided answers to over 50 questions about outcomes, demographics, and complexity of the system, the project, and the environment. Three of the complexity variables strongly predicted all outcomes. These variables were the number of difficult requirements, the amount of "cognitive fog" present in the project, and the relationships among stakeholders. About twenty variables total were usefully congruent with the outcomes. These variables can now be used in heuristics that suggest which kinds of complexity to reduce on what entities in order to increase the likelihood of positive project outcomes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mostashari, Ali
Commitee: Ben-Zvi, Tal, Pyster, Arthur, Sauser, Brian, Verma, Dinesh
School: Stevens Institute of Technology
Department: School of Systems and Enterprises
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: DAI-B 73/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Engineering, Systems science
Keywords: Acquisition, Complexity, Measurement, Prediction of project outcomes, Project management, Systems engineering
Publication Number: 3518280
ISBN: 978-1-267-49403-0
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