Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name



Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

First Advisor

Ratna Babu Chinnam


In recent years there has been a renewed interest in product complexity due its negative impact on launch performance. Research indicates that underestimating complexity is one of the most common errors repeated by new product development (NPD) teams. It was concluded that companies that successfully manage complexity can maintain a competitive advantage. This is particularly true of CoPS projects (Complex Products and Systems) which are defined as large-scale, high value, engineering intensive products and systems. Investment in CoPS projects continues to grow worldwide, with recent estimates placed at over $500B annually.

In this research we present methods to improve the planning and coordination of complexity and risk in CoPS projects to support launch success. The methods are designed to be consistent with systems engineering practices which are commonly used in their development. The research proposes novel methods for the assessment, quantification, and management of development complexity and risk. The models are initiated from preliminary customer requirements so they may be implemented at the earliest point in the development process and yield the most significant cost savings and impact.

The models presented are validated on a large-scale defense industry project and experimental case study example. The research demonstrates that development complexity and risk can be effectively quantified in the early development stages and used to align and tailor organizational resources to improve PD performance. The methods also provide the benefit of being implementable with little disruption to existing processes as they align closely with current industry practices.

Included in

Engineering Commons