Kevin MacGregor Adams

Kevin MacGregor Adams
University of Maryland Global Campus | UMUC · Department of Information Technology School of Cybersecurity and Information Technology

Ph.D.

About

81
Publications
103,797
Reads
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589
Citations
Introduction
Dr. Kevin Adams is a much sought-after speaker and lecturer who specializes in providing systems-based approaches for the design of complex real-world engineering systems. He has authored three books on systemic thinking and non-functional requirements and has published over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings. His presentations merge both philosophical and theoretical concepts from academia with the everyday design problems being faced by businesses operating in the
Additional affiliations
December 2008 - July 2013
Old Dominion University
Position
  • Group Leader
Description
  • Conducted scholarly research in systems engineering, complex systems, and software engineering.
July 2007 - December 2008
Old Dominion University
Position
  • Research Assistant
Description
  • Taught and evaluated graduate students taking courses in Integrated Systems Engineering (ENMA 640) and Software Project Management (ENMA 695).
September 1999 - present
University of Maryland Global Campus
Position
  • Professor (Full)
Description
  • Teaches systems engineering courses in the systems engineering specialization of the Master's in Information Technology program in the graduate school.
Education
June 2003 - May 2007
Old Dominion University
Field of study
  • Systems Engineering
May 1984 - May 1986
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Field of study
  • Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (Course XIIIA)
May 1984 - May 1986
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Field of study
  • Materials Engineering (Course III)

Publications

Publications (81)
Article
Full-text available
Complex systems problems require the use of a formal philosophical construct and dictate the use of a rigorous systems approach. A systems approach may utilize one of a variety of proven methods, but in each case it involves the imposition of order that ranges from the philosophical to the procedural. Independent of the construct or rigor used to a...
Book
Full-text available
Whether you’re an academic or a practitioner, a sociologist, a manager, or an engineer, one can benefit from learning to think systemically. Problems (and messes) are everywhere and they’re getting more complicated every day. How we think about these problems determines whether or not we’ll be successful in understanding and addressing them. This b...
Article
As currently used, systems theory is lacking a universally agreed upon definition. The purpose of this paper is to offer a resolution by articulating a formal definition of systems theory. This definition is presented as a unified group of specific propositions which are brought together by way of an axiom set to form a system construct: systems th...
Chapter
The main focus of the what question of systemic thinking is on the articulation and organization of the objectives of the problem that we are trying to gain increased understanding of. Given that a mess is a system of problems as we described it in Chap. 2, we take the occasion in this chapter to dissect a given problem into its basic elements in o...
Chapter
Modeling is a necessary mechanism for understanding complex phenomena such as the messes this book is designed to help with. This chapter compares methods available for complex systems modeling. A method is then recommended for use in addressing messes. A framework for the development and use of such a model and an accompanying simulation is then p...
Chapter
The previous chapters in this section have addressed: (1) the who question through a discussion of problem stakeholders, their analysis , and management; and (2) the what question by decomposing our mess and constituent problems into its objectives and organizing them. In this chapter, we will address the why question through an analysis of motivat...
Chapter
As problems have grown more complex , the methods we use to address them must evolve as well. Machine age problems, consisting of simple systems , have traditionally been addressed using a primarily technical perspective . Despite their increased complexity , in systems age problems, a predominantly technical perspective continues to be used at the...
Chapter
Well, we have finished a long journey through a wide variety of topics we felt would be useful to you in understanding the landscape associated with complex decision making. Our take on decision making utilizes systemic thinking as the prime motivation for the decision making methods and techniques we have described in the previous 17 chapters. How...
Chapter
The previous chapters in this section have addressed: (1) the who question through a discussion of problem stakeholders , their analysis and management; (2) the what question by deconstructing a mess and its constituent problems into relevant elements such as fundamental and means objectives ; and (3) the why question through an analysis of motivat...
Chapter
As machine age problems have given way to systems age messes, the underlying complexity associated with understanding these situations has increased exponentially. Accordingly, the methods we use to address these situations must evolve as well. Unfortunately, however, many antiquated methods for dealing with situations remain prominent. The underly...
Chapter
The main focus of the who question of systemic thinking is on the stakeholders associated with our mess . This chapter discusses our approach for the analysis and management of stakeholders . This introduction provides a brief background of stakeholder analysis and an introduction to our approach to stakeholder analysis and management , which is th...
Chapter
This text has discussed a real estate-focused case study throughout in disparate pieces. The aim of this chapter is to provide a cradle-to-grave case study which illustrate the entire multimethodology developed in the text. The case study focuses on the Ford Pinto and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
Chapter
We have come a long way together. The assumption at this point is that the reader has read through the first eleven chapters of this book and understands how to analyze a singular problem from each of the six perspectives presented in Chaps. 6–11. Now we are ready to take action. To this end, this chapter addresses putting the pieces back together...
Chapter
If you have followed this book from the beginning, you will note that we have provided you with a systemic frame of reference (Part I), exposed you to the Who, What, Why, When, How, and Where of systemic thinking (Part II), and have discussed the course of action selection and implementation (Chaps. 12–14 in Part III). This chapter will address lea...
Chapter
By now we all know that our mess is composed of multiple problems which all interact in some capacity. This mess can be thought of in terms of its actual state and its desired state. We also know that if the desired and actual states are the same, we have no decision to make as we do not have a problem. If, however, there is a delta between the two...
Chapter
Observation is the central method by and through which human beings engage with the real-world. Observation is the source of virtually all empirical evidence for science. In this chapter, we will be underscoring the inevitable impact of the observer’s role in the process of observation. The central point we wish to emphasize is that the human obser...
Chapter
The previous chapters in this section have addressed the who, the what, the why, and the where questions associated with messes and their constituent problems. This chapter will address the how question. When we refer to how, we are interested in the specific means used in the attainment of specific, purposeful goals. The means are the mechanisms u...
Chapter
Once we’ve decided on a course of action, we must implement it. This requires human intervention in some capacity, even if it’s initializing a computer algorithm or turning on a machine. In inserting a human into our process, we create an opportunity for human error . This chapter discusses the classification, management, and prevention of these er...
Chapter
The when question of systemic thinking attempts to determine the appropriate time for interacting with our mess in an effort to increase our understanding about it. Recalling the TAO of systemic thinking , we must think before we act on (and observe) our mess. The understanding gained from our thinking informs when (and if) we decide to intervene i...
Chapter
In the last chapter, you were introduced to a systemic thinking methodology, one that is very different from the traditional, systematic methods for dealing with problems. The construct for systemic thinking is holistic, using both reductionism (i.e., to deconstruct problems and messes into understandable elements) and constructivism (i.e., to rebu...
Book
Full-text available
This expanded second edition of the 2014 textbook features dedicated sections on action and observation, so that the reader can combine the use of the developed theoretical basis with practical guidelines for deployment. It also includes a focus on selection and use of a dedicated modeling paradigm – fuzzy cognitive mapping – to facilitate use of t...
Article
Full-text available
System errors, both mechanical and human in nature, can have a grave effect on aircrew judgement in flight. The effects of these errors can be massively compounded during emergency situations. Crew Resource Management (CRM) is an important process aircrews can utilize to minimize risks and enhance assessments. The employment of this technique can b...
Article
Full-text available
The goal of many organizations is to be recognized as a business leader that consistently delivers innovative products and services. Different types of life cycle models have been used to guide the systems development efforts and implementation processes within these organizations, all with various outcomes. This paper first explores the reasons wh...
Book
Full-text available
Whether you’re an experienced designer, a teacher of design, a system stakeholder, or a practicing engineer, you can benefit from an improved understanding of non-functional requirements inherent in systems design endeavors. Systems are designed to meet specific functional requirements, mutually understood by the system’s stakeholders and those tas...
Chapter
Effective sustainment of systems and components during the operation and maintenance stages of the system life cycle require specific purposeful actions during the design stages of the system life cycle. The reliability and maintainability of the system and its constituent components are established as part of the system design process. Reliability...
Chapter
The design of systems and components during the design stage of the systems life cycle requires specific purposeful actions to ensure effective designs and viable systems. Designers are faced with a number of adaptation concerns that they must embed into the design in every instance of thinking and documentation. The ability for a system to adapt i...
Chapter
The design of systems and components is a crucial element that affects both the cost and efficacy of products produced for the world economy. Design is a characteristic function of engineering. The structure of engineering education underwent a major shift after WWII. The nationwide shift toward a more science-based curricula for all levels of educ...
Chapter
The design of systems and components during the design stage of the systems life cycle requires specific purposeful actions to ensure effective designs and viable systems. Designers are faced with a number of other viability concerns that they must embed into the design to ensure the system remains viable. The ability for a system to remain viable...
Chapter
Engineering Systems, the man-made systems that provide important functions in modern societies, are designed by engineers. The design of engineering systems is a formal process which invokes both technical and human elements to provide the blueprint for systems which simultaneously provide for the needs of a system’s stakeholders while not harming...
Chapter
One of the most easily understood tasks during any systems design endeavor is to define the systems functional requirements. The functional requirements are a direct extension of the stakeholder’s purpose for the systems and the goals and objectives that satisfy them. Less easily understood are a systems non-functional requirements, or the constrai...
Chapter
The design of systems and components during the design stage of the systems life cycle requires specific purposeful actions to ensure effective designs and viable systems. Designers are faced with a number of design concerns that they must embed into the design in every instance of thinking and documentation. Four of these concerns are addressed by...
Chapter
The design of systems and components during the design stage of the systems life cycle requires specific purposeful actions to ensure effective designs and viable systems. Designers are faced with a number of design concerns that they must embed into the design in every instance of thinking and documentation. Safety is one of these concerns and is...
Chapter
The design of systems and components during the design stage of the systems life cycle requires specific purposeful actions to ensure effective designs and viable systems. Designers are faced with a number of design concerns that they must embed into the design in every instance of thinking and documentation. Three of these concerns are addressed b...
Chapter
Engineering design is a formal discipline within the field of engineering. The study of design methodologies is a sub-discipline and requires the use of unique modes of thought and the application of a number of specific features to ensure that designs are both repeatable and result in products that are useful for a specified period of service. A m...
Chapter
The design of systems and components during the design stage of the systems life cycle requires specific purposeful actions to ensure effective designs and viable systems. Designers are faced with a number of core viability concerns that they must embed into the design to ensure the system remains viable. The ability for a system to remain viable i...
Chapter
The design of systems and components during the design stage of the systems life cycle requires specific purposeful actions to ensure effective designs and viable systems. Designers are faced with a number of adaptation concerns that they must embed into the design in every instance of thinking and documentation. The ability for a systems to change...
Chapter
Effective sustainment of systems and components during the operation and maintenance stages of the system life cycle require specific purposeful actions during the design stages of the system life cycle. The availability and testability of the system and its constituent components are essential to ensure that the systems continues to provide the re...
Article
Full-text available
Governance of complex systems to achieve goals, even while experiencing change, is accomplished by metasystem functions through a set of communication channels. This paper will explore the structure of these communication channels, the content of what is communicated and the activities of the metasystem functions with respect to these communication...
Chapter
The previous Chapters in this Section have addressed the who, the what, the why, and the where questions associated with messes and their constituent problems. This Chapter will address the how question. When we refer to how we are interested in the means used in the attainment of specific, purposeful goals. The means are the mechanisms utilized in...
Chapter
The main focus of the who question of systemic thinking is on the stakeholders associated with our mess. We take the occasion in this chapter to discuss our approach for the analysis and management of stakeholders. First, the introduction provides a brief background of stakeholder analysis and an overview of our approach to stakeholder analysis, wh...
Chapter
As problems have evolved from simple systems to complex systems, so too must the methods we use to address them. However, machine age problems, consisting of simple systems, have traditionally been viewed from a largely technical perspective. In systems age complex problems, a predominantly technical perspective continues to be used at the expense...
Chapter
Systems theory is a term that has been used inconsistently in a variety of disciplines. Further, few of these disciplines provide any type of formal definition for the term. As such, it is often subject to misunderstanding when used between disciplines. We believe that systems theory provides the foundation for improved understanding when dealing w...
Chapter
The previous chapters in this section have addressed: (1) the who question through a discussion of problem stakeholders, their analysis, and management; and (2) the what question by decomposing the mess and constituent problems into relevant elements such as outputs and outcomes. In this chapter, we will address the why question through an analysis...
Chapter
We’ve come a long way together. Recall Fig. 2. 3, which presented a basic illustration of the steps underlying mess decomposition and reconstruction, presented as Fig. 11.1 with additional annotation regarding topics covered since our discussion in Chap. 2. The assumption at this point is that the reader has read through the first ten Chapters of t...
Chapter
As machine age problems have given way to systems age messes, the underlying complexity associated with understanding these situations has increased exponentially. Accordingly, the methods we use to address these situations must evolve as well. Unfortunately, however, many antiquated methods for dealing with situations remain prominent. Systems eng...
Chapter
The when question of systemic thinking attempts to determine the appropriate time for interacting with our mess in an effort to increase our understanding about it. Recalling the TAO of systemic thinking, we must think before we act on (and observe) our mess. The understanding gained from our thinking informs when (and if) we decide to intervene in...
Chapter
The previous Chapters in this Section have addressed: (1) the who question through a discussion of problem stakeholders, their analysis and management; (2) the what question by decomposing the mess and constituent problems into relevant elements such as outputs and outcomes; and (3) the why question through an analysis of motivation and how each pr...
Chapter
The main focus of the what question of systemic thinking is on attributes of the problem that we are trying to gain increased understanding of. Given that a mess is a system of problems as we describe it in Chap. 2, we take the occasion in this chapter to dissect a given problem and the structured decision analysis and associated concerns that may...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this paper is to report on a new system-theoretic based methodology and corresponding model for Enterprise Architecture development. This model captures the essence of the strategic, conceptual, doctrinal layer of the organization. Reusable Quality Technical Architectures (RQ-Tech) graphically reveals a comprehensive array of enterpr...
Article
Full-text available
Metrics are beneficial to an organization that supports a product from inception through product retirement and disposal. Quality metrics have a critical role in this type of environment because they span both the development and operations and maintenance phases of the software life cycle, and there is a relationship between the internal quality m...
Article
Full-text available
• Presented a straightforward manner to identify and evaluate stakeholders, and to develop a plan for dealing with them • This approach can be used to deal with stakeholders in complex systems problems, allowing for practitioners to prioritize scarce organizational resources.
Article
Full-text available
As machine age problems have given way to systems age messes, the underlying complexity associated with understanding these situations has increased exponentially. Accordingly, the methods we use to address these situations must evolve as well. Unfortunately, many antiquated methods for dealing with situations remain prominent. Systems engineering,...
Article
Full-text available
Stakeholders are a vital element in all complex systems problems. They are customers, users, clients, suppliers, employees, and team members. They fund the system, design it, build it, operate it, use it, maintain it, and dispose of it. While many approaches exist for classifying and determining their attitudes, these approaches stop short of evalu...
Article
Full-text available
How does the project or maintenance manager control the unknown? The unknown in this case is the negative or positive behaviors or properties that emerge from a complex software system. The application of systems theory to software is becoming increasingly important as systems become more complex. Looking at a complex software system through the le...
Article
Full-text available
Systems theory lacks a universal, formally agreed upon definition. It is a term that has been used in a variety of disciplines to support varied purposes and one which is found frequently in the systems literature. Because the term has been used in a variety of disciplines and has multiple meanings, it is often subject to misunderstanding when used...
Article
Full-text available
In the 2011 issue of this journal, we proposed that "The application of systems theory and systems thinking to the design and management of complex systems of systems and their associated life cycles can provide a valuable lens for the emerging methods in system of systems engineering (SoSE)" (Adams, 2011). Since that time we have had the opportuni...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding and treating problems in complex systems, independent of the systems construct (i.e., socio-technical systems or socio-ecological systems), dictates the use of a formal systems approach. The systems approach may be methodological, a method, or a technique, but in each case it involves the imposition of order that ranges from the philo...
Article
Full-text available
System of systems engineering (SoSE) is a relatively new field of study as compared to other engineering disciplines and is often viewed as a mere extension of systems engineering, a relatively young discipline itself. As with all new disciplines, education in the emerging field is an important element of its development, or in some cases, its fail...
Article
Full-text available
Stakeholders exist at the centre of all systems problems and are the principal contributors to the solution of these problems. We provide an approach for classifying stakeholders and determining an appropriate level of action to take with respect to these stakeholders that combines the power, legitimacy and urgency typology with a stakeholder attit...
Article
Full-text available
Although the US Navy has made great strides in integrating technology to monitor and assess the condition of sub-systems, little is understood about how to fuse this data in order to construct a higher level awareness of the ship's overall readiness or current state. Drawing upon systems theory and systems-based approaches, we identify principles o...
Chapter
Full-text available
This introductory chapter defines intelligence-based systems with focus on semantic systems, simulation systems, and intelligent agents. Semantic systems define the foundation to communicate systems engineering challenges using logic, simulation systems introduce the dynamic component, and intelligent agents can introduce alternatives roles. It the...
Article
Full-text available
There is no widely accepted approach to conducting system of systems engineering (SoSE) efforts. The SoSE methodology is a rigorous engineering analysis that invests heavily in the understanding and framing of the problem under study. By conducting a rigorous engineering analysis of the problem and its associated context, the SoSE methodology minim...
Article
Full-text available
The application of systems theory and systems thinking to the design and management of complex systems of systems and their associated life cycles can provide a valuable lens for the emerging methods in system of systems engineering (SoSE). This paper is organised to show how the valuable concepts of systems theory and systems thinking as related t...
Article
Full-text available
The command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) entities and activities supporting carrier strike group (CSG) operations constitute a system of systems (SoS), and the US Navy would benefit from an enhanced, holistic, and systemic understanding of the evaluation of such SoSs. Emerging SoS engin...
Article
Full-text available
The first perspective in the system of systems engineering (SoSE) methodology is to ensure that the engineering analysis is supported by an explicit understanding and framing of the problem under study. By explicitly framing the problem and its associated context, the SoSE methodology minimises the chance of a Type III error (i.e., correctly reject...
Article
Full-text available
A US Navy carrier strike group (CSG) is an important element of US policy projection through military assets. The CSG is a system of systems (SoS) representing both an organisation of people and a collection of ships, aircraft, and support equipment designed to support US global interests. The CSG is a metasystem composed of a number of separate su...
Article
Full-text available
Approaches for quantifying security system performance vary for different critical facilities, ranging from in-depth quantitative analyses to heuristics-based rules of thumb. Since there is no single accepted definition for what constitutes an effective security system for a critical facility and how best to design and analyse these systems, this t...
Article
The United States Navy has realigned their research, development, and acquisition workforce to a Competency Aligned Organization (CAO). In the new CAO specific disciplines are aligned in technical competencies such as finance, contracts, legal, logistics, engineering, and science and technology. Personnel from within the technical competencies are...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
One of the most perplexing issues facing the United States Department of Defense (DoD) is defining and documenting business processes as a precursor to system and software development. The reusable quality technical architectures (RQ-Tech) methodology creates a virtual business environment that empowers business process owners (users) with tools an...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Despite a solid record in both the acquisition and maintenance of complex systems in the fleet, Navy Science and Technology leaders find themselves in a perilous state. The peril lies not with the complex systems themselves, but with the work force needed to continue to acquire and maintain them. The demographic structure of the Department of the N...
Conference Paper
The literature is replete with research on managing the R&D enterprise. However, the R&D Governance paradigm has not received the same level of attention. R&D Governance is focused on providing coherent guidance and a corresponding accountability framework that produces desirable research outcomes to support the enterprise mission. A central elemen...
Article
Full-text available
Real-world decision making for complex, adaptive, non-linear systems is always performed under uncertainty. This uncertainty is present in the physical attributes of the system being analyzed, the environment in which it operates, and the individuals which operate and analyze the system. Decision makers must make decisions under these uncertain con...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The application of systems thinking and systems theory to the design and management of systems and their life cycles can provide a valuable " lens " through which the systems engineer may view systems, their surrounding environment, and the contextual frameworks within which systems exist. This paper is organized to show the evolution and current o...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Modern systems engineering continues to evolve and is faced with an emerging challenge involving the interoperability and integration of complex systems. The development of an expanded system of systems methodologies, which includes the emerging context, is warranted. This paper is organized to first show the evolution of the system of systems meth...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The rapid and unprecedented growth in software has brought with it some of the most spectacular and costly project failures in modern history. How risk management is presented in the scholarly journals may give insight into the risk management methods and techniques in use on software development projects. This paper provides a glimpse into the ris...
Article
Full-text available
Software risk management in maintenance differs in major ways from risk management in development. Risk opportunities are more frequent, risks come from more diverse sources, and projects have less freedom to act on them. The authors describe how they dealt with these differences in a large US Navy software maintenance organization
Thesis
Supervised by John F. Mandell and Frederick J. McGarry. Thesis (M.S.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Ocean Engineering and Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering, 1986. Includes bibliographical references.

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