V-22 Osprey Metrics

Metrics seem to be yet another way in which Angry Bear noticed that the V-22 Osprey program has hidden from its failure to deliver on its promises:

Generally, mission capability runs 20% higher than availability, but availability is hidden on new stuff, while shouted about on older stuff, because there would be severe embarrassment if you considered that 40% of the brand new V-22 were not available (okay 60% available sounds much better, buy a car which is broke 40% of the time, how good does the warranty service need to be?).
The Navy and GAO are not sure which metrics to use. One of the reasons that US quality fell in the 70’s was avoiding measuring the hard things [that] gets you in trouble; a weakness of the DoD acquisition process. But the spending is more important than meaningful results.
Missing mission capable suggests that basic reliability and maintenance performance are not part of V-22 repertoire. Quality may not have been affordable during the long development cycle, and the savings are now costing in added support and lost use of the V-22

And as one commenter notes, the problem is even more fundamental than poor quality–the Osprey “cannot do a lot of what it is replacing:  HH 53 and HH 46.”  I would pretty much guarantee that no one is measuring the number of missions that are not performed by the Osprey but which could have been by the helicopters it replaced.

Metrics are powerful tools, but they can be as much a force for evil as a force for good.  Choosing the easy-to-gather metrics or the metrics that make the thing being measured look better may play well in Slide-Deck-Land, but it doesn’t change the fact that there is still a reality lurking underneath there which isn’t going away just because someone refuses to measure it.

What people choose to measure can tell you a lot about both their competence and their motivations.  Ignore it at your peril.

2 Replies to “V-22 Osprey Metrics”

  1. What people choose to measure can tell you a lot about both their competence and their motivations. Ignore it at your peril.

    Unfortunately, it can also tell you a lot about their ability to report on it. That is to say what access they have to the relevant data, the tools to measure it or their authority to report on it.

  2. @David

    An excellent point, and I should have been more clear.

    I’m talking here about what people choose to do with the available data–whether they will admit that they can’t (for whatever raason) measure what they really need to, or just report whatever makes them look good.

    Either way, I believe that what people do with metrics or lack thereof provides a good window into their real motivations.