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Tinkertoy Tower Design. Post Mortem Discussion. The point of the exercise. “It is your job to discover the system requirements.” Who is the customer? Exercise consists of 2 phases: Design (40 minutes) Implementation (15 minutes) . Design phase. Planning (problem & solution)

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Tinkertoy Tower Design

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Tinkertoy tower design l.jpg

Tinkertoy Tower Design

Post Mortem Discussion


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The point of the exercise

  • “It is your job to discover the system requirements.”

  • Who is the customer?

  • Exercise consists of 2 phases:

    • Design (40 minutes)

    • Implementation (15 minutes)


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Design phase

  • Planning (problem & solution)

  • Classes of components

  • Deliverables are a design and its inventory of technologies

  • Finding & fixing issues cheap

  • Deadline (40 min)

    • Penalty (large)

    • Bonus (smaller)

  • Ends with PDR


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Implementation phase

  • Build

  • Specific components (objects)

  • Deliverable is a prototype

    • Must pass system test

  • Resolve unplanned issues

    • but at a steep cost

  • Deadline (15 min)

    • Penalty (absolute)

    • Bonus (large)

  • Ends with CDR


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Operations phase

  • Not addressed in exercise

    • Customer will operate

  • Design must address maintenance and other life cycle issues

  • Never ends

  • The clearer the milestones between phases, the better


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Construct Figures of Merit


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All choices are trade-offs


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Schedule always matters


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Prototypes must pass tests

  • Include cost of test equip.

  • Environment is described

    • Flat hard surface

    • Free standing

  • Minimum test is stated, but

  • Additional requirements are always present


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Discovering requirements


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Design life

  • Implicit in every project

  • Should be explicitly stated

  • Y2K was a design life issue

  • Observatory systems can have an especially long life

    • STB running since 20 July 1993

  • Lifecycle planning

    • Retirement requirements

  • Evolving environments


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Analyze Risks

  • Unprecedented challenges

  • Software projects are notorious for collapsing under own weight

  • Either a project is tied to core mission of the organization

    or

  • It isn’t - which is riskier?


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Implementation Issues

  • Different technologies have different acquisition costs

  • Different recurring costs

  • Integration issues

  • Quality assurance

  • Maintenance and reliability

  • Availability of HW/SW/personnel


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All design is evolutionary

  • Improve Tinkertoy exercise?

  • Display example tower?

    • “Here is a 60’ tower. It earns minus $33K. Why?”

  • Swap designs w/ other teams?

  • Hand out requirements with less prodding from teams?

  • One shared can of Tinkertoys during design phase?


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Not applicable to software?

  • The tower exercise is only a cartoon model of real towers

  • No civil engineering, per se

    • No beams or trusses

    • No welds or rivets

    • No tension or compression


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The essence of Systems

  • System engineering is responsible for identifying and satisfying the life cycle requirements.

  • One problem

  • Many solutions


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