Functional Analysis of Team Problem Solving

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Function Analysis for Team Problem Solving Tom Warwick, CVS Vice President NT Associates Jupiter, Florida This document was presented at the 1994 International Conference of the Society of American Value Engineers (SAVE) in New Orleans, LA. It was published in the SAVE Annual Proceedings and is copyrighted (©SAVE, 1994), Permission to upload this document to the LEAP Forum Library has been given by SAVE. Theodore C. Fowler, CVS, Fellow, SAVE Tom Warwick, author of many technical papers and recognized for several patents, has directed value studies, seminars and workshops saving hundreds of millions of dollars. He has graduate degrees in engineering from RPI and the University of Florida. Before joining NT, he served as value manager and in other senior positions at Pratt & Whitney. ABSTRACT This paper presents an early up-front demonstration of function analysis for team problem solving. It presents a problem solving exercise with three function analysis examples to show that The Way to conduct function analysis is really many ways. This paper is a sequel to a 1993 SAVE Proceedings paper, “Value Assessment of Team Problem Solving.” INTRODUCTION Function analysis is the principle means for individuals and teams to achieve extraordinary problem solving, outstanding outcomes with superior value. Function analysis provides a multi-dimensional structure to study, both separately and together, partially or completely, numerous existing and alternative value solutions at many different levels of abstraction. Most problems have many solutions, so many that they can overwhelm us. The analysis of function, top-down or bottom-up or both, is a systematic disciplined means to better address these many solutions. When function analysis is inadequately performed or is not performed at all, quite often symptoms are solved rather than root causes, real requirements and expectations. The systematic disciplined analysis of function differentiates Value Engineering (VE) from other problem solving methods. Function analysis understanding and use can be difficult for both VE practitioners and participants. Before working VE projects, function analysis training and education are essential. Early instruction during the beginning hours of a study, seminar or workshop allows VE practitioners and participants to obviate function analysis difficulties that occur while working live projects. EXERCISE A brief introduction of function analysis with a VE study job plan is presented before value program participants perform an up front “ice breaker” problem solving exercise. Because exercise problem solving is similar to live project problem solving, exercise problem solving helps value practitioners to really know and positively respond to individual and team weaknesses and strengths. For example, not infrequently the exercise approach taken to problem solving by value program participants lacks a needed and thorough function analysis. Problem solving performed under real world conditions sometimes skips VE study job plan steps needed to first analyze, brainstorm and evaluate project functions. The result invariably is a less than satisfactory low value outcome. Exercise problem solving excites and motivates value program participants. As will be shown, it also can and should be applied to improve individual and team knowledge and use of function analysis. "Lost at Sea" With your private yacht slowly sinking after a fire of unknown origin, you are adrift in the South Pacific, “Lost at Sea,” approximately 1000 miles south-southwest from the nearest land. You have a serviceable rubber life raft with oars large enough for yourself and crew. You and crew together have 1 package of cigarettes, several books of matches and 5 one dollar bills. You all also have 15 additional items. The exercise problem to be solved is to rank these 15 additional items by considering their survival value.

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