Original Date: 08/07/1995
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Flight Control Systems Teaming
Teaming had been evaluated by Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems (LMTAS) because of the complex flight control systems development processes occurring in 1980 on the AFTI/F-16.
The goal of the AFTI/F-16 flight control design was to make state-of-the-art advancements. The design was not progressing satisfactorily; therefore, major changes in development philosophy were required to solve the problems and meet the challenges of the new program. The major difficulty was communication. Problem areas were rooted in poor communications within and between the various flight control technical disciplines. A mechanization team was formed with lead engineers from all the technical disciplines involved in the integrated systems design. The team compelled all “changes” to be well documented, forcing all accountability to the team for the technical accuracy and efficiency. Teams work best when they can focus their energy on the primary objectives and not processes or personnel problems.
Two primary organizational structure variations have been explored over the last 15 years a team as an organizational unit, and a team supported by a matrix organization. The LMTAS flight control systems organization determined that in this complex systems area , a team supported by the matrix organization works best. Since the 1980 inception of the first flight controls integration team effort:
The organizational structure that supports a team can be a major contributor to its success. Effective teaming is a mind set.
Each team member accepts the idea that the team can do a better job as a group than as individuals.
Each team member willingly shares his or her expertise.
Team members trust other members to watch after the team interests.
Team members work toward a consensus; they are willing to support the consensus even if they are not strong supporters of the decision.
Environmental factors can be overestimated.
Collocation and special communication databases can significantly aid but are not necessary to establish an effective team.
Not all teams can afford or require full-time members in all disciplines.
Documentation must be integral to the team processes.
Keep detailed process flow charts in perspective.
If it must change rapidly or frequently, develop it in house.
Get the end user (pilot) involved in the process as early as possible.
Teaming comes in many styles and there is no single best way to team. According to LMTAS, good teams seem to have the following attributes: achievement of a team mind set, true empowerment to accomplish the team objectives, a support organization that lets the team focus on its objectives, and the flexibility to adapt to change.
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