Original Date: 03/01/1993
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Operational Test Set Estimates and Risk Assessments
The Hardware/Software Engineering Division at Naval Aviation Depot (NADEP), Jacksonville has developed an elaborate technical assessment process for supporting cost and resource estimates for candidate avionics hardware being placed on the Consolidated Automated Support System (CASS) test equipment. The process is structured around a document that combines the corporate knowledge of all senior Operational Test Program Set (TPS) engineers. This document, known as the Technical Risk Assessment Guide (TRAG), allows a less experienced junior electrical engineer to create a detailed analysis of the unit to be tested using the statistical process data captured by the senior engineers. This analysis can then be applied in creating an accurate, consistent cost model for the project.
The document was first initiated by compiling a thorough list of those features of a unit under test (UUT) that can impact the cost of an Operational TPSs. An attempt was then made to quantify those features. Algorithms were developed to use the resulting numerical data to predict the risk associated with the UUT. The list of features, their impact on the process, and the algorithms have been updated since then as more process data is gathered.
The objectives of the TRAG are to capture an estimate of the complexity of an OPTS test program and interface device, and the integration of them with the CASS. The estimate must necessarily anticipate any incompatibilities between the CASS and UUT and must also identify the CASS configuration capable of testing the UUT.
To use the TRAG process, the engineer first completes work sheets that are contained and documented in a desk reference. The work sheets also act as a checklist to verify that no data is missing from the package being evaluated. The data is then reviewed and entered into a risk assessment database model. This ORACLE program performs the computation of the algorithms and predicts the cost range (complexity bands) for the hardware, software and integration.
The task weighing of these complexity bands may now be used to drive the cost model defined by the second NADEP, Jacksonville document called the CASS Off-load Red Team Specification. This two volume set of books lists all the deliverables, data item descriptions, and support requirements to complete an OPTS.
The dynamic nature of the TRAG, the Red Team Specification, and the cost model is a demonstration of SPC. Each system has a feedback loop to support improvement of its models and data. These are new processes, but all indications highlight that in time they produce a high level of confidence that will make even a rough order of magnitude (ROM) proposal accurate.
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