Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

David R. Jacques, PhD.


Far too often decision makers select concepts based on insufficient data, resulting in projects that are over-budget, over-schedule, and not what the customer wants. Research efforts have proposed a stage-gated concept maturity framework as a tool to assess and increase the maturity of concepts. This research uses multiple validation techniques to demonstrate the value this framework can provide. Interviews with acquisition professionals capture qualitative and quantitative data on the utility of the elements of the framework and the acquisition process. This research also applies the framework to a current acquisition program to determine if it can be broadly applied for different types of developments. Lastly, this research looks to current acquisition policy and guidance to see if there is support for the maturity elements of the framework. The results of this study led the research team to accept the framework as a useful guide and approach to assessing a concept's maturity. The majority of responses were favorable towards the activities recommended in the framework. The researchers were able to apply the framework in real-time to a concept in early development to the benefit of the sponsoring organization. The results of this study have also led to the formation of themes, best-practices, and lessons-learned concerning early concept development. The results affirm that when developing a concept people make the difference, more resources up-front are needed to fully understand a concept, and developers should avoid constraining the trade-space by pre-supposing a solution.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



Co-authored thesis.