Chapter 2A Conceptual Framework and Mathematical Foundation for Trade-Off Analysis

Gregory S. Parnell

Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR, USA

Azad M. Madni

Systems Architecting and Engineering and Astronautical Engineering, Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Robert F. Bordley

Systems Engineering and Design, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Booz Allen Hamilton, Troy, MI, USA


Truly successful decision making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.

(Malcolm Gladwell)

2.1 Introduction

Systems are developed to create value for stakeholders that include customers, end users/operators, system developers/integrators, and investors. Decisions are ubiquitous in the system life cycle beginning from systems definition to the systems concept development to design to delivery of products and services to retirement of the system (see Chapter 1). System decision-makers (DMs) are those individuals who need to make important decisions pertaining to system definition, concept, architecture, design, test, implementation, operation, maintenance, improvement, and disposal.

Enterprise decision-makers, program managers, and systems engineers stand to benefit from a collaborative decision-making process that engages all stakeholders (SHs) who have a say in system trade-off analysis (e.g., customers, operators/users, system architects and engineers, subject matter experts ...

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