A systems engineering hackathon - A methodology involving multiple stakeholders to progress conceptual design of a complex engineered product

This paper describes a novel hackathon-style system engineering process and its value as an agile approach to the rapid generation and development of early design concepts of complex engineered products – in this case a future aircraft. Complex product design typically requires a diverse range of stakeholders to arrive at a consensus of key decision criteria and design factors, which requires effective articulation and communication of information across traditional engineering and operational disciplines. The application of the methodology is highlighted by means of a case study inspired by Airbus where stakeholder involvement and internal collaboration among team members was essential to achieve a set of agreed goals. The paper shows that a hackathon grounded on systems engineering approaches and structured around the technical functions within an engineering company, has the capability and capacity to communicate a coherent vision and rationale for the conceptual design of a complex engineered product. The hackathon method offers significant benefits to these stakeholders to better manage, prioritize, and decrease excessive complexities in the overall design process. A significant benefit of this agile process is that it can achieve useful results in a very short timeframe (i.e. 80% reduction) where it could take up to a year to accomplish compared to using current/regular internal methods.