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Risk Identification and Visualization in a Concurrent Engineering Team Environment

Risk Track

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JPL is NASA’s prime center for deep space missions. In response to the need to reduce the cost and time to complete early concept studies and proposals JPL created the first concurrent engineering team in the aerospace industry: Team X. Started in 1995, Team X has carried out over 800 studies, dramatically reducing the time and cost involved, and has been the model for other concurrent engineering teams both within NASA and throughout the larger aerospace community. The success of Team X has also spawned new related teams such as Team I for instrument studies and in the past year the Rapid Mission Architecture Team for trade studies. A relatively recent new capability is the ability to do integrated risk identification and assessment. Generating consistent risk lists with inputs from all the relevant subsystems and presenting the results clearly to the stakeholders in a concurrent engineering environment is difficult because of the speed with which decisions are made. In this paper we will describe the various approaches and techniques that have been explored for the point designs of Team X and the Trade Space Studies of the Rapid Mission Architecture Team. The paper will especially focus on the issues of the misuse of categorical and ordinal data that is rampant within current engineering risk approaches and suggestions for the appropriate methods for the combination of such data.


Jairus Hihn
Jairus Hihn is a Principal Systems Engineering at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory where he is the manager for the Software Quality Improvement Projects Measurement Estimation and Analysis Element (MEsA), which is establishing a laboratory wide software metrics and software estimation program. MEsA’s objective is to enable the emergence of a quantitative software management culture at JPL. Jairus is also the JPL Concurrent Engineering Team Risk Subject Matter Expert. He has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Maryland. He has been developing estimation models and providing software and mission level cost estimation support to JPL’s Deep Space Network and flight projects since 1988. He has extensive experience in simulation and Monte Carlo methods with applications in the areas of decision analysis, institutional change, R&D project selection cost modeling, and process models.
Jairus received ISPA’s Parametrician of the Year Award in 2004 and the 2008 CSSE Lifetime Achievement Award from USC’s Center for Systems and Software Engineering in 2008. He has over 50 publications including recent articles in IEEE Software, IEEE Transactions in Software Engineering and the Journal of Cost Analysis and Parametrics.

Debarati Chattopadhyay
Debarati  Chattopadhyay  is  a  Systems  Engineer  in  the  Mission  Concepts  section  at  NASA’s  Jet  Propulsion Laboratory and is currently a member of the Risk Analysis team for JPL’s concurrent engineering teams, Team X and the Rapid Mission Architecture team. She has worked in mission operations  for  the  Chandra  X‐ray  Observatory  at  the  Harvard‐Smithsonian  Center  for  Astrophysics, as well as for the Cassini‐Huygens mission at JPL. Debarati received a S.M. degree in  Aeronautics  and  Astronautics  from  MIT,  and  B.S.  degrees  in  Computer  Engineering  and  Astrophysics from Lehigh University.

Robert Shishko
Robert Shishko is a Principal System Engineer and Economist in the Mission/System Concepts Section of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology. Dr. Shishko received two S.B. degrees from MIT, and M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University. He has been at JPL since 1983 and is an adjunct faculty member at the International Space University. He is currently working on the Constellation Lunar-Mars Integration Team, where he specializes in operations cost, supply chain, risk, and supportability issues. Dr. Shishko served as principal contributor to the NASA Systems Engineering Handbook, for which he received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal in 1996.