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Volume 6 / Issue 3

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DOI:   10.3217/jucs-006-03-0289


Methodologies and Tools For Continuous Improvement of Systems

William D. Schindel (International Centers for Telecommunications Technology, Inc., and System Sciences, LLC)

Gloria M. Rogers (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, USA)

Abstract: Continuous improvement of hard technology (software, electronic, mechanical, chemical, biological, etc.) systems and institutional (mixed human and technology based) systems is examined from a system perspective, applying system engineering and assessment methodologies and tools. Class and containment hierarchies are used to simplify the modeling of complex systems and their dynamic processes, particularly system families with both shared standardized content and necessary diversity, resolving addressing an historical tension. The engineering concept of _embedded system_ is formalized as modeled patterns of embedding management intelligence in both hard technology systems and human institutions. Embedded intelligence models describe intelligent performance, human learning, technical system life cycle improvement, and institutional improvement of all systems. The resulting models describe situationally aware, conscious systems, whether adaptive man_made systems or continuously improving institutions. Models include system requirements, design, verification, and change management. Assessment of system performance against goals determines priority for continuing system improvement. After treating human and hard technology systems on a unified basis, their significant differences are recognized through knowledge worker educational processes, personal reflection on performance, and use of electronic portfolios exhibiting best work. Tools supporting these methodologies are Intranet infrastructure providing computer support of the collaborative work of specifying institutional and technical system requirements, design, assessment, and improvement change management. This approach originates from integrating methodologies and tools of a collegiate educational institution and a commercial engineering enterprise, applied to educational and industrial client systems, environments, technologies, and markets. The resulting approach creates a unified framework for continuous improvement of systems.

Keywords: accreditation, assessment, business reengineering, collaborative work, consciousness models, continuous improvement, education, embedded system, hierarchy theory, knowledge engineering, life cycle, management, methodology, operations support system (OSS), portfolio, productivity, reverse engineering, software engineering, system engineering, tools, use case

Categories: A.1, H.1, I.2.4, K.3.1, K.6.4