Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Design and design

We all know that the 787 program is dealing with a complicated product that introduces and integrates new technology, that is undergoing development with new processes proving that may prove to be more difficult than not, and that has an unparalleled visibility due to the internet.

So, we will probably see many lessons to be learned. There are several places where one can read about the program, its history, and the status.

It might be a good idea to pull some of these together with commentary, such as the below one. This would establish a viewpoint totally from externally-derived information (meaning, nothing from inside the OEM). The motivation will be explained fully.

For one example, look at this triad: what led to the decision for the 787, some of the debates on technology, initial reactions and responses.

Another example is a recent article on the flightglobal site that talks about some things that are different with the 787 in comparison with earlier planes.

The comparison of two images (which are from two sources, yet they have a common orientation) offers several points of discussion. The images are the following.
  • from flightglobal - This is an early design image that illustrates an emphasis on a look that would be natural and suggestive (see Emery's comments on the looks).
  • from seattlepi - This is a rollout image from July 2007 that shows the as-built condition.
It's the disparity between the as-desired and as-delivered view that is of interest as it demonstrates how a real part that needs to meet physical constraints cannot fit exactly the design which may represent some ideal concept.

This disparity as shown here (subtle though it is) is a good metaphor for the management problem (both program and executive); we find this disparity in just about any context involving planning and actuality. Now, an improvement in our processes might be means to know when something is physically attainable. The computer is helping here in allowing better modeling (CAx), improving risk management, and providing the means to bridge cultures (ah, but watch out for those ontologies and other issues)

These are not easy matters that are resolved a priori (hindsight is usually better than foresight, but that in itself is not a given) ; operational aspects (the necessary) related to this type of convergence is one interest of truth engineering.

Modified: 11/24/2007


Anonymous said...

Managers want a sure thing. Life doesn't always give us that.

About the only way one can get this is by replay. Oh! The TV and PC (our electronic leashes) reinforce that idea. Hit a button. Things happen.

In the case of a program like the 787, that relaxes along several dimensions at once, even risk management is not going to be much help.

You have to work a thread all the way through in order to know the reality. Hence, effort at getting to the flying stage ought to have been more of the focus.

Also, a staged introduction into production might have been considered more strongly.

Anonymous said...

Boeing wanted a shark look. It rolled out looking more like a whale. Let's hope that it can fly.