Parameter estimates in large-scale complex engineered systems (LaCES) affect system evolution, yet can be difficult and expensive to test. Systems engineering uses analytical methods to reduce uncertainty, but a growing body of work from other disciplines indicates that cognitive heuristics also affect decision-making. Results from interviews with expert aerospace practitioners suggest that engineers bias estimation strategies. Practitioners reaffirmed known system features and posited that engineers may bias estimation methods as a negotiation and resource conservation strategy. Specifically, participants reported that some systems engineers “game the system” by biasing requirements to counteract subsystem estimation biases. An agent-based model (ABM) simulation which recreates these characteristics is presented. Model results suggest that system-level estimate accuracy and uncertainty depend on subsystem behavior and are not significantly affected by systems engineers' “gaming” strategy.
Gaming the System: An Agent-Based Model of Estimation Strategies and their Effects on System Performance
Contributed by the Design Theory and Methodology Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received August 9, 2017; final manuscript received January 30, 2018; published online September 18, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Katja Holtta-Otto.
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Meluso, J., and Austin-Breneman, J. (September 18, 2018). "Gaming the System: An Agent-Based Model of Estimation Strategies and their Effects on System Performance." ASME. J. Mech. Des. December 2018; 140(12): 121101. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4039494
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