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Integrating Program Management and Systems Engineering by Eric Rebentisch

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4THE CASE FOR INTEGRATING PROGRAM MANAGEMENT AND TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT

4.1 The Roots of Nonintegration

The systems engineering, project management, and program management disciplines evolved from similar roots during World War II (Levitt, 2011; Cooke‐Davies, 2012). Technologies for aircraft, submarines, navy ships, and weapons systems were evolving at an increasingly rapid pace as the Allied and Axis powers struggled to gain dominance on the battlefield. Mission management focused on bringing “order and discipline to large teams of specialists” facing time‐pressured delivery of solutions (Levitt, 2011). Technical management needed to oversee development of systems with complex interfaces across many technologies. Those systems were then expected to perform consistently during human interactions. Because the war had to be won, cost was not the driving consideration at the time. Mission managers and technical managers often struggled over whose considerations were primary, but urgency required the leaders in both disciplines to negotiate a middle ground or cede the larger goal. There were cracks in the interdisciplinary relationship, but the cracks were generally contained.

The rebuilding of Europe and Asia, the Cold War, and the Space Race that followed contributed to a “win at all costs” mentality for engineering program management. So speed and innovation remained critical factors while cost was less important. A crisis point came in the 1970s when the accumulated costs of war ...

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