INCOSE-LA Speaker Meeting: Bo Oppenheim, Premature Allocation of Requirements to Contractors

El Segundo , USA
200 N. Aviation Blvd

Premature Allocation of Requirements to Contractors
Dr. Bohdan “Bo” Oppenheim, Professor of Systems Engineering, Loyola Marymount University
Host site: Room D8/1010, The Aerospace Corporation, 200 N. Aviation Blvd, El Segundo, California
Cost: Free to INCOSE members with RSVP, $10 for non-members

Meeting Schedule:
5:30 - 6:20 pm Sign-In, Networking, Refreshments
6:20 - 6:30 pm Welcome & Announcements
6:30 - 8:00 pm Presentation and Questions


Registration is required to attend the event. Register here. Host site reservations close October 5.

Attendance is also available online and at remote sites throughout the region. For remote sites and virtual attendance, please RSVP by October 12.


Systems engineering is unfairly blamed for massive problems in programs, while the blame should be attributed to the wrong incentives in the acquisition system. This presentation will focus on the difficulties of formulating stable requirements early in complex engineering programs, and the severe consequences on program execution. The problems are caused by the need to seek political and funding support for the program. Formal classical Systems Engineering (SE) and Program Management (CSEPM) methodology is based on the assumption that the knowledge to anticipate all interfaces and create good requirements exists early in the program, and it is only a matter of working out the details to build extremely complex devices such as satellites, aircraft, refineries, nuclear power plants and high speed rail.

The presenter argues that this works well only for well-understood systems but it breaks down when the knowledge of what needs to be done still needs to be discovered, which is the case with most complex systems. In programs that develop new complex systems, the reality leads to the following Faustian Bargain: "Either develop and anticipate all interactions and requirements early, and allocate them to suppliers when the knowledge is not yet available, then conduct massive, painful, and cost-and schedule-busting requirements changes throughout the program; or delay the subcontracting until the system design is mature, complete and stable, and only then allocate requirements to subcontractors, but then risk the program termination because of the lack of political support and funding." The paper argues that in order to radically change this major deficiency of classical Systems Engineering and Program Management a radical change of the program business model would be needed, and it will be presented as an imminently realistic approach. The presentation will also argue for more rational new program acquisition policy, more focused on creation of innovative ideas then on bureaucracy of artifacts.

Speaker Biography

Bohdan "Bo" W. Oppenheim is a Professor of Systems Engineering at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and founder and co-chair of INCOSE Lean Systems Engineering Working Group, one of the largest Groups of INCOSE. He is regarded as a leading expert in the application of Lean in systems engineering, project, and program management. He co-led the large international project developing Lean Enablers for Systems Engineering (LEfSE), and served as an expert in the joint INCOSE-PMI-MIT project developing Lean Enablers for Managing Engineering Programs, integrating Lean Systems Engineering with Lean Project Management. Dr. Oppenheim authored the book Lean for Systems Engineering with Lean Enablers for Systems Engineering (Wiley, 2011), co-authored the book The Guide to Lean Enablers for Systems Engineering (PMI, INCOSE, MIT-LAI, 2012), and co-authored the book Lean for Banks (Productivity Press, Oct. 2014). He wrote three other books, four book chapters, and 30 journal publications. He was awarded two Shingo Awards, INCOSE Fellowship, INCOSE Best Product Award, INCOSE Service Award, and other recognitions. His engineering degrees include Ph.D. from Southampton, U.K.; Graduate Engineer's Degree from MIT; MS from Stevens Institute of Technology; and B.S. (equiv.) from Warsaw University of Technology in Aeronautics. His industrial experience spans offshore, space, software, transportation and mechanical engineering, including several major aerospace programs. His consulting customers include most major aerospace companies in the U.S. and Europe, High Speed Rail, Caltrans, and 150 smaller companies across the globe. He presented over 50 invited lectures, seminars and workshops on Lean in 17 countries on three continents. His credits include $2.5 million in externally funded grants.

Attend Online

For remote sites and virtual attendance, please RSVP by October 12.

Online host information:
Client ID or email: 2101307 (Only ID is required)
Password: lb0093
USA /Canada (toll free): 1-866-546-3377
Access Number: 1-719-234-7872
Host Passcode: 445 039 4822

Remote Site Attendance

Status Site Coordinator Coordinator contact information Access Refreshments Reservation Deadline
? Antelope Valley/Palmdale Mike Wallace Open to all    
Confirmed Azusa: Northrop Grumman Corporation Louise Fluegeman      
? Goleta: Control Point Corp, 110 Castilian, Suite 200, Goleta CA Don Adams or Paul Stowell, or Open to all    
Confirmed Pasadena: JPL, 4800 Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena Michela Munoz-Fernandez     Register minimum one (1) week prior to meeting
? Huntington Beach: Boeing
B/28 conference room (map)
Phyllis Marbach, US Citizens, Resident Aliens only   One week
? San Fernando Valley: Capstone Turbine Corp, 21211 Nordhoff St, Chatsworth Susim Gedam, 818-734-5113   Check with site coordinator.  
Host El Segundo: Aerospace D8/1010, 200 N Aviation Blvd Susan Ruth Open to all, but with special requirements for foreign nationals Yes One week before mtg; foreign nat’ls, 10 days

Directions to Aerospace Corporation

Location: between Imperial and El Segundo Blvd (north to south), between the 405 Freeway and Sepulveda (east to west)

From the San Diego (405) Freeway heading SOUTH:

  1. Take the exit towards El Segundo Blvd.
  2. Turn Left onto S La Cienega Blvd.
  3. Take the 1st Right onto W El Segundo Blvd.
  4. Take the 2nd Right onto N Aviation Blvd.
  5. Bldg D8 will be on the third building on the Right, just past the discount bakery.

From the San Diego (405) Freeway traveling NORTH:

  1. Take the El Segundo Blvd exit, Exit 44.
  2. Turn Left onto W El Segundo Blvd.
  3. Turn Right (North) on N Aviation Blvd.
  4. Bldg D8 will be on the third building on the Right, just past the discount bakery.

From the 105 Freeway traveling WEST:

  1. Take the exit towards 405 South
  2. Before getting onto the 405 Freeway, take the El Segundo Blvd exit
  3. At the bottom of the ramp, turn left (west)
  4. Turn right on Aviation Blvd.
  5. Bldg D8 will be on the third building on the Right, just past the discount bakery.

The facility: It is the third building from the corner of Aviation and El Segundo, just north of the discount bakery outlet. The facility has 4 gates, but ONLY the southern-most gate is open. There is staff security where you will identify yourself as attending the INCOSE meeting. You can park where security directs you to park, we will badge in through the lobby at the center of the building where the flag poles are. Knock on the first of the double doors and someone will open the door for you. The handicap ramp is on the north side and can be reached by driving all the way around the back of the building. Tell security that you need to use that ramp.