Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Industrial Engineering

Major Professor

Xueping Li

Committee Members

Ahmad Vakili, Joseph Wilck, Trevor Moeller, James Simonton


This research presents a Decision Support System (DSS) process solution to a problem faced by Program Managers (PMs) early in a system lifecycle, when potential technologies are evaluated for placement within a system design. The proposed process for evaluation and selection of technologies incorporates computer based Operational Research techniques which automate and optimize key portions of the decision process. This computerized process allows the PM to rapidly form the basis of a Strategic Technology Plan (STP) designed to manage, mature and insert the technologies into the system design baseline and identify potential follow-on incremental system improvements. This process is designated Strategic Technology Maturation and Insertion (STMI).

Traditionally, to build this STP, the PM must juggle system performance, schedule, and cost issues and strike a balance of new and old technologies that can be fielded to meet the requirements of the customer. To complicate this juggling skill, the PM is typically confronted with a short time frame to evaluate hundreds of potential technology solutions with thousands of potential interacting combinations within the system design. Picking the best combination of new and established technologies, plus selecting the critical technologies needing maturation investment is a significant challenge. These early lifecycle decisions drive the entire system design, cost and schedule well into production

The STMI process explores a formalized and repeatable DSS to allow PMs to systematically tackle the problems with technology evaluation, selection and maturation. It gives PMs a tool to compare and evaluate the entire design space of candidate technology performance, incorporate lifecycle costs as an optimizer for a best value system design, and generate input for a strategic plan to mature critical technologies. Four enabling concepts are described and brought together to form the basis of STMI: Requirements Engineering (RE), Value Engineering (VE), system optimization and Strategic Technology Planning (STP). STMI is then executed in three distinct stages: Pre-process preparation, process operation and optimization, and post-process analysis. A demonstration case study prepares and implements the proposed STMI process in a multi-system (macro) concept down select and a specific (micro) single system design that ties into the macro design level decision.

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