Teamwork behaviors at mesoscale : meaningful explorations of tradespace during project design
Author(s)Tan, Puay Siang
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Integrated Design and Management Program.
Bryan R. Moser.
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The increasing complexity in Systems of Systems requires Teams of Teams (TofT) from different functional domains to work together. Rather than focusing on individuals and teams (the microscale) or total projects and portfolios (the macro-scale), this research aims to better detect and understand the teamwork behaviors at the meso-scale, the behaviors and interactions amongst the team of teams. Using the Project Design approach, Design Groups representing a TofF participated in a model- based simulation experiment to reduce the cost and duration of an implementation project for an autonomous vehicle. Design Groups were provided specific instructions to either inhibit or promote communications as they worked together to make changes to the Project Model of the autonomous vehicle, after which they can perform simulation to obtain the project outcome in terms of cost and schedule. In this experiment the teamwork was instrumented, detecting attention allocation, changes, and resulting exploration of the project tradespace. A quantifiable ranking methodology was developed to evaluate the performance of the Design Groups based on the iterations made as they explored and simulated the project model. This methodology ranked the Design Group by 1) higher number of outcomes obtained at the Pareto Frontier of the tradespace and 2) outcomes in earlier Pareto Frontiers. Two indicators of Team Performance - Number of Iterations and Communications Behaviors of the Design Group - were studied where correlations were found to be weak. Tree Diagrams were generated to visualize the tradespace exploration of the Design Group by mapping the iterations performed in sequence and provided details on the changes type made to the project model. A Chunking Process dovetailed the Tree Diagrams to detect the meaningful explorations of the tradespace by each Design Group. Each Meaningful Exploration was segmented into "Chunks" which were further classified into blocks with specific number of changes. This study provided further insights on the coherence in which changes were made along the path of tradespace explorations. Information from the Chunking Process is used to determine how "focused" the Design Groups were in the decision making process. Three ratios were suggested, namely, Ratio of Focus Score to Total Iterations with Changes, Ratio of Focused Iterations to Total Iterations with Changes and Ratio of Meaningful Changes Block to Total No of Chunks. The research concludes with using these ratios as an indicator of coherence and potential sensors to detect presence of strategy in teams in future experiments. The key insights from this research is that the Project Design Approach provides the same baseline project model for all Design Groups that enables a fair and quantifiable ranking of team performance. In instrumenting the experiment, collective group responses to qualitative data is preferred over individual responses for a more representative analysis of the teamwork behaviors. Another insight is that tradespace explorations by the Design Groups do not occur in unilateral fashion. Thus, it is important to have a visual image of the changes made along the tradespace exploration to identify the meaningful exploration paths. Segmenting these meaningful exploration paths provides the means for measuring coherence of the Design Groups in their decision making process. Next steps for future experiments include embedding in the Project Design software to collect the group responses required for quantitative analysis as the experiment is on-going. The measurement of team learning effects is suggested for future research by having a two-step data collection process in which the same experiment can be conducted as a first step and having the same participants to repeat another Project Design Challenge several months later in the second step to evaluate the team performance.
Thesis: S.M. in Engineering and Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, System Design and Management Program, 2018.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 112-113).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering and Management Program.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Integrated Design and Management Program.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Engineering and Management Program., Integrated Design and Management Program.