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  1. 1. Function Analysis for Team Problem SolvingTom Warwick, CVSVice President NT AssociatesJupiter, FloridaThis document was presented at the 1994 International Conference of the Societyof American Value Engineers (SAVE) in New Orleans, LA. It was published in theSAVE Annual Proceedings and is copyrighted (©SAVE, 1994), Permission to uploadthis document to the LEAP Forum Library has been given by SAVE.Theodore C. Fowler, CVS, Fellow, SAVETom Warwick, author of many technical papers and recognized for severalpatents, has directed value studies, seminars and workshops saving hundreds ofmillions of dollars. He has graduate degrees in engineering from RPI and theUniversity of Florida. Before joining NT, he served as value manager and in othersenior positions at Pratt & Whitney.ABSTRACTThis paper presents an early up-front demonstration offunction analysis for team problem solving. It presents aproblem solving exercise with three function analysisexamples to show that The Way to conduct functionanalysis is really many ways. This paper is a sequel to a1993 SAVE Proceedings paper, “Value Assessment ofTeam Problem Solving.”INTRODUCTIONFunction analysis is the principle means forindividuals and teams to achieve extraordinary problemsolving, outstanding outcomes with superior value.Function analysis provides a multi-dimensionalstructure to study, both separately and together, partially orcompletely, numerous existing and alternative valuesolutions at many different levels of abstraction.Most problems have many solutions, so many thatthey can overwhelm us. The analysis of function, top-downor bottom-up or both, is a systematic disciplined means tobetter address these many solutions. When functionanalysis is inadequately performed or is not performed atall, quite often symptoms are solved rather than root causes,real requirements and expectations.The systematic disciplined analysis of functiondifferentiates Value Engineering (VE) from other problemsolving methods. Function analysis understanding and usecan be difficult for both VE practitioners and participants.Before working VE projects, function analysistraining and education are essential. Early instructionduring the beginning hours of a study, seminar or workshopallows VE practitioners and participants to obviate functionanalysis difficulties that occur while working live projects.EXERCISEA brief introduction of function analysis with a VEstudy job plan is presented before value programparticipants perform an up front “ice breaker” problemsolving exercise. Because exercise problem solving issimilar to live project problem solving, exercise problemsolving helps value practitioners to really know andpositively respond to individual and team weaknesses andstrengths.For example, not infrequently the exerciseapproach taken to problem solving by value programparticipants lacks a needed and thorough function analysis.Problem solving performed under real world conditionssometimes skips VE study job plan steps needed to firstanalyze, brainstorm and evaluate project functions. Theresult invariably is a less than satisfactory low valueoutcome.Exercise problem solving excites and motivatesvalue program participants. As will be shown, it also canand should be applied to improve individual and teamknowledge and use of function analysis."Lost at Sea"With your private yacht slowly sinking after afire of unknown origin, you are adrift in the South Pacific,“Lost at Sea,” approximately 1000 miles south-southwestfrom the nearest land. You have a serviceable rubber liferaft with oars large enough for yourself and crew.You and crew together have 1 package ofcigarettes, several books of matches and 5 one dollar bills.You all also have 15 additional items. The exerciseproblem to be solved is to rank these 15 additional items byconsidering their survival value.
  2. 2. Similar ExercisesOther similar problem solving exercises nearlyidentical to the “Lost at Sea” exercise are available but onlythe “Lost at Sea” problem solving exercise is presentedhere.The other similar problem solving survivalexercises, such as “Lost on the Moon,” are interchangeablewith the “Lost at Sea” exercise. They all require correctranking of the 15 survival items, performed first by teammembers as individuals, and then again by team membersworking together to reach a consensus, a genuine accord byall team members.Early Up-Front Instruction EssentialAs previously mentioned, not infrequently theapproach taken by problem solving participants lacks aneeded and thorough function analysis. The “Lost at Sea”exercise demonstrates this difficulty early up-front beforelive projects are worked.Rather than first determining function and value,VE participants invariably rank the 15 survival itemsimmediately, not withstanding that an instruction review offunction analysis and the VE study job plan are given justbefore starting the “Lost at Sea” exercise. That is,participants skip both function analysis and job plan steps,when problem solving as individuals as well as whenproblem solving together as team members.Many new and some veteran value programparticipants simply do not perform problem solvingexercises in a systematic disciplined manner and do notconduct a thorough function analysis. The result is thatparticipants frequently disagree with each other and withthe Officers of the United States Merchant Marine whodetermined the “correct” ranking list for the 15 survivalitems of the “Lost at Sea” problem.It is within this real setting of value programparticipant frustration, following less than satisfactory “Lostat Sea” problem solving exercise results, that valuepractitioners have an excellent JIT (Just-In-Time)opportunity. It is the time for value practitioners to provideadditional “learn by doing” training and education beforestarting live projects.At this early stage of a value study, seminar orworkshop, function analysis training and retraining is theright thing at the right time to do. The following three“Lost at Sea” function analysis examples are representativeof this JIT “learn by doing” approach.FUNCTION ANALYSIS EXAMPLESOf the three function analysis examplespresented, the first is relatively easy. The next two are moredifficult but are more informative. These three functionanalysis examples analyze, brainstorm and evaluate “Lostat Sea” survival items to reveal their ranked survival value.The three examples demonstrate to individuals and teamsalike cardinal requirements and benefits of function analysisfor team problem solving.“Butcher Paper” DocumentationValue program participants are reminded tothink before acting. In this case, before value ranking eachof the 15 survival items, they are requested to considermany functions required for survival and to document theseneeded survival functions in a format of active verbs withmeasurable descriptive nouns.Judgment is required for ranking. Becausesuspended judgment improves creativity and freeunconstrained associative thinking, immediately rankingfunctions as they are documented on “butcher paper” is notrecommended.
  3. 3. No additional instructions are given other thanto request teams organize their own team functions. Thatis, each value team must assign positions of responsibility toits members such as chairperson, scribe, gatekeeper andpresenter. Each team also must review and tailor its ownoperating norms.Even though its function analysis frequently isincomplete, “butcher paper” documentation is a “starter”toward more disciplined function analysis problem solvingby both individuals and teams. A typical example of thisrelatively simple function analysis is shown.FAST DIAGRAMOver the years the Function Analysis SystemTechnique has been expanded and improved with manyvariants making it increasingly complex. However, FASTfundamentals remain deceptively easy:“How” reads to right“Why” reads to leftBasic function of a project or product is highestorder primary function within scope linesHaving functions documented on “butcherpaper” allows both individuals and teams to more rapidlyand easily create a FAST diagram. Instructions for FASTdiagram creation are simple and concise:Identify primary functionsIdentify secondary functionsConstruct FAST diagramThe FAST diagram is an important step forthorough and effective function analysis problem solving byboth individuals and teams. It systematically connects andillustrates “How” and “Why” bi-directionalinterrelationships of many functions. The FAST diagramshown is a typical example.
  4. 4. Function Structure ChartThe functions listed by a function structure chartfully meet the primary overall objective of a project orproduct. Unlike some “butcher paper” documentations andFAST diagrams, a completed function structure chart ateach of its function levels captures all the functions requiredto meet objectives 100%.A function structure chart offers a “middle-of-the-road” approach to function analysis. That is,constructing a function chart is more difficult than “butcherpaper” documentation but frequently is less difficult than aFAST diagram.Similar to FAST diagram creation, havingfunctions documented on “butcher paper” allows bothindividuals and teams to more rapidly and easily constructa function structure chart. Instructions for functionstructure chart preparation also are simple and concise:Determine overall function objectiveIdentify top-down all level 1 and subsequentfunctionsIdentify bottom-up all level N and subsequentfunctionsFunction structure chart levels are all equal. Nofunction level is subordinate to another, they are just ofdifferent order to each other. Functions listed at each levelmust add up -- no holes. That is, each function level mustbe 100% complete as determined by the functions of thelevels next to it. While not required by some valuepractitioners, ranking functions listed at each function leveloften helps make needed analyses and evaluations better.A function structure chart frequently has manylevels each with a relatively large listing of functions. Thatis, its structure by design is very open, both broad and deep,to assure a thorough function analysis. Because of thiscompleteness, a function structure chart improvesbaselining, benchmarking and best composite developmentand often serves as a template for brainstorming an entireclass of projects or products.A completed function structure chart is an entrypoint to Value Control. The function structure chart shownis a typical example. (See Table 1)
  5. 5. DISCUSSIONWhen facilitating value activity, we somehowfind lacking sufficient means for achieving and sustainingfull utilization of function analysis by independentindividuals and by team members problem solving together.The “new” and the “different” can surface a fearof personal embarrassment that is an ever present VEchallenge and function analysis difficulty.Function analysis is a “new” and “different”technique to many people. Problem solving a benignsurvival exercise such as “Lost at Sea” offers a relativelysafe way to expose, explore and resolve function analysistechnical and emotional difficulties that otherwise wouldnot be revealed before live projects are worked.The three examples presented by the previoussection are only typical function analysis examples thatmight be performed together or separately or in a differentsequence. The Way is really many ways. The presentedexamples and function analysis itself are no exception, theycan and may be performed many, many ways.For example, for brevity and ease ofunderstanding, the presented FAST diagram is incomplete.It lacks scope lines and, unlike the function structure chart,it does not include the 15 survival items, function level N.Both the FAST diagram and the function structure chartincompletely identify the “Lost at Sea” primary overallfunction objective as “Be Rescued” rather than “Save Life.”Also, additional function levels (such as level 4, level 5, ...)are not shown by either the FAST diagram or the functionstructure chart, Figure 4 and Table 1.Function analysis sometimes is performed byparticipants with little or no direct involvement with thevalue practitioner. That is, the practitioner, “us,” outlineshow it is to be done and then stands back as participants,“they,” do function analysis starting with a clean sheet“zero baseline.”An alternative and frequently more effective“jump start” approach is the value practitioner prepares“stake in the ground” baseline function analyses (“butcherpaper” documentations, FAST diagrams, function structurecharts, etc.). Then, participants with the practitioner, “we,”work in a close direct partnership. Together, we review thebaseline and then benchmark and conduct best compositedevelopment followed by brainstorming for world classinnovation and excellence.Doing function analysis only one way or another is adisservice to all. Creativity can be stifled by too much ortoo little mandated procedure; just enough systematicdiscipline is a needed delicate balance. Function analysisshould be taught and done the common sense way or waysthat best fit real needs of the particular situation at hand.CONCLUSIONS and RECOMMENDATIONSFunction analysis with a disciplined VE study job planis a principle means for individuals and teams to achieveoutstanding results with superior value.A function structure chart might be a “middle-of-the-road” approach to function analysis for many people. It is agood motivator because it directly demonstrates theusefulness of function analysis for completelyunderstanding and solving a problem systematically, frontto back, back to front, top-down and bottom-up.“Butcher paper documentation” is a useful functionanalysis “starter.” It can assist conducting and preparingmore difficult function analyses such as the FAST diagramand the function structure chart.Value practitioners are encouraged to use “icebreaker” problem solving exercises such as “Lost at Sea”since these exercises are a means for JIT “learn by doing.”Early up-front problem solving exercises assist valuepractitioners and participants by providing an opportunitywindow relatively risk free from personal embarrassment.Requirements and benefits of function analysis forteam problem solving are many and require demonstrationand additional training, preferably before starting liveprojects.ACKNOWLEDGMENTSThe assistance and encouragement of BobBartlett, PE, Consulting Engineer, were most helpful. Theinterest and comments of Dan Sedam, PE, CVS, FloridaDepartment of Transportation, and Steve Foster, PE, FosterEngineering, are appreciated. The support of Joe Lambert,CVS, Martin-Marietta, also was helpful and is appreciated.BIBLIOGRAPHY1. Chaplin, Charlie, Modern Times, Magnetic Video,Twentieth Century - Fox., 1936.2. Korzybski, Alfred, Science and Sanity, FourthEdition, The Colonial Press Inc., 19583. Morison, Elting E., Men, Machines, and ModernTimes, The M.I.T. Press, 1969.4. Miles, Lawrence D., Techniques of Value Analysisand Engineering, McGraw Hill Book Company, 1972.5. Nemiroff, Paul M., and Pasmore, William A., Lost atSea: A Consensus Seeking Task, Annual Handbookfor Facilitators, 1975.6. Minsky, Marvin, The Society of Mind, A TouchstoneBook, Simon & Schuster, 1986.7. Bartlett, Robert L., “Function Value Deployment andSynthesis,” 1989 SAVE Proceedings.8. Ellegant, Howard, “Back to Basics -- Only CompleteClient Centered Function Analysis Makes LegitimateValue Engineering in Construction,” 1989 SAVEProceedings.9. Fowler, Theodore, C., Value Analysis in Design, VanNostrand Reinhold, 1990.10. Lambert, CVS, Joseph V., and Megani, CVS, Peter S.,and Michaels, Ph.D., PE, CVS, Jack V. and Wood,CVS, William P., Value Institute Incorporated “ValueEngineering Workshop,” certified by SAVE andaccredited by the University of Central Florida, 8-12January 1990.11. Barker, Joel Arthur, Future Edge, William Morrowand Company, 1992.12. Bryant, John W., and Daucher, Dale E., and Hannan,Donald, “Managing Value - An Approved Module IISeminar,” International Joint Venture by ValueManagement Associates, East Sandwich,Massachusetts, USA and D.&A.E. Hannan &Associates, Canberra, ACT, Australia, 5-7 May 1993.13. Lambert, Joseph V., “Why Team Dynamics is aMUST in Value Engineering,” 1993 SAVEProceedings.14. Sperling, Roger B., “The PDQ’s of FAST: SimplifyingFunction Analysis for Construction Value Studies,”1993 SAVE Proceedings.15. Warwick, Tom, “Value Assessment of Team ProblemSolving,” 1993 SAVE Proceedings.16. Bragaw, Louis K., Jr., and Warwick, Tom, “ValueAssessment of Changing Technological Innovation,”
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