Planning and decision-making represent important challenges for any program or project. Whether it involves incremental improvements or significant breakthroughs, there typically are uncertainties and interrelationships that complicate the environment of competing priorities and limited funding. Focused Roadmaps are used to identify precise project objectives and requirements, create a consensus vision of project needs, focus resources, facilitate informed decision making, provide a structured, defensible, decision-based project plan, accelerate application of new technologies, expedite new systems deployment, and minimize project costs and schedules.
Building on core roadmapping principles that have guided Fortune 500 companies like Intel and Motorola, systems engineers at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) have developed a specialized planning, decision analysis, and roadmapping capability that provides the rigor and understanding needed for decision-makers to focus on critical uncertainties, make informed decisions, and drive a project to successful completion. Further, the INL’s advanced roadmapping provides a means to measure the relative merit of technologies, accelerate application of new designs, minimize project costs and schedules, and provide a defensible argument for acquisition choices.
A promising feature of the INL roadmapping capability is the development and application of a systematic Project Readiness Assessment Tool (PRAT) that can:
- Assist projects in assessing, assigning, monitoring, and managing overall project readiness
- Enable consistent application of risk management across project entities
- Provide a basis for identifying and managing appropriate project cost and schedule risks and contingencies in light of technology, design, and overall project readiness levels.
This capability is being developed using existing Technology Readiness Level (TRL), Design Readiness Level, (DRL), and Project Readiness Level (PRL) concepts, and by leveraging INL experience with an existing Readiness Level assessment tool, project risk databases, computer-based visualization tools, and decision analysis readiness and roadmapping processes.
In short, the INL roadmapping capability allows for planning and assessment of project readiness and for acquisition teams to make cost-effective technology decisions in the face of project complexities.