An Innovative Approach to Schedule Management on the F/A-22 Major Defense Acquisition Program (MDAP): Demonstration of Critical Chain Project Management

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Virginia Tech

This multiple-case-based dissertation contributes to the stream of literature on the organizational innovation process by examining Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) as an innovation with the potential to address an important schedule planning and execution performance gap in DOD weapon system development programs. The contextually different Integrated Product Team case studies in DOD's F/A-22 fighter aircraft weapons system acquisition program are: manufacturing assembly, manufacturing process, test operations, and supplier product development. Rich descriptions of the case studies are developed by the author, a senior Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company systems engineer in a role that merged participant, observer, change agent and champion (POCAC). Analysis distinguishes between Program and Operational levels of organizational structure and focuses on the innovation process through use of the author-designed Casey Hybrid Innovation Process (CHIP) model based on Rogers' stages heuristic.

Substantively, research demonstrates that in key areas of the F/A-22 program, proper application of the innovative Critical Chain Project Management process can generate and achieve development schedules sometimes substantially better than traditional approaches; improper application will lead to mixed results or rejection.

The research contributes to knowledge in the field of organizational innovation by demonstrating use of the CHIP model in the huge, geographically dispersed and extremely complex organization of the largest DOD weapon system acquisition program of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The research reflects Program leadership's important role in the top-down initiation and support of an innovation, even while choosing (by policy) not to force use at the Operational level. At the Operational level, details show that IPT implementations and results of the CCPM innovation vary.

Project Management, Organizational Innovation, Critical Chain Project Management Weapon System Ac, Schedule Management