Original Date: 02/26/2001
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Structured Product Development Process
General Dynamics Armament Systems reinvented its Structured Product Development Process to foster successful and efficient product development and integration. By increasing the influence of systems engineering, the company has transformed how designs are developed and integrated.
Like many defense industries, General Dynamics Armament System has undergone corporate downsizing, reorganization, and several changes in ownership. The various corporate changes and consolidations created policies lacking in formal guidance/direction for planning and executing major development projects. Since the development process was defined by the Engineering Process Improvement Center under various corporate owners, the result was an immense set of documentation, requirement procedures, and manuals with no local ownership. Projects were run without formal plans or accountability, and often ended in a countless array of design loops. To resolve this situation, General Dynamics Armament Systems (GDAS) reinvented its Structured Product Development Process (SPDpro) to foster successful and efficient product development and integration.
The SPDpro established a requirements-driven development process and provides an Integrated Engineering approach to satisfy requirements. The Process is now under local control; defines program responsibilities with monthly status measurements; and requires up-front detailed planning with traceable requirements. Emphasis is on development efficiency in addition to technical excellence. Among the specific project elements defined by the SPDpro are: Systems Engineering Management Plan (SEMP) establishes project plan;
Specifications define requirements to be met;
Test Plan defines testing to be performed;
Technical Performance Measures identify performance needed for success;
Metrics provide feedback;
Compliance Matrix shows which requirements are satisfied;
Requirements Traceability allocates and derives requirements;
System/Subsystem Design Document defines architecture, functionality, specification tree, and external interfaces;
Project Self-Assessment monitors project execution; and
Risk Management tracks and mitigates project risks.
By increasing the influence of systems engineering on product development, GDAS has transformed how designs are developed and integrated. The result is successful designs that meet the customer’s expectations and requirements for ongoing programs as well as new programs such as the Joint Strike Fighter Gun Program. The systems approach also enables GDAS to plan and conduct a new venture of business in demilitarization for the Department of Defense.
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