Original Date: 07/25/2005
Revision Date: 09/12/2006
Best Practice : internal Software Development Plan
To comply with the change in Department of Defense-mandated requirements for software development plans, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems developed an internal Software Development Plan, achieved Capability Maturation Model Integration Level 5, and teamed with its customers to participate in the internal Software Development Plan. The internal Software Development Plan is now the benchmark for production areas to use in establishing a hardware development plan.
During the 1980s, the Department of Defense (DoD) mandated that all customers submit a software development plan as a Contract Deliverable Requirements List (CDRL) and put the instructions on the Data Item Description (DID) under their contracts. To satisfy these mandates, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems (NGES) changed the way software was delivered to its customers to meet both CDRL and DID a change that led to the formation of the internal Software Development Plan (iSDP). The iSDP is now the benchmark for other production areas (such as hardware) to use as a model for establishing a hardware development plan.
As the iSDP was being developed at NGES, the company also achieved Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Level 5 . Level 5 programs are stable and fully optimized so that any future work will focus on process development. NGES strives for process development across all business lines using the CMMI Level 5, ISO 9001 TickIT, AS 9100, and the iSDP as benchmarks. NGES productivity and quality have increased, and the levels of risk have minimized with these programs.
NGES has identified six main areas of the iSDP that include project scope, risk management, the development approach, project resources, estimates and schedules, and the visibility approach. Project scope identifies the funding allocation; a description of the task; and a master schedule to meet the cost, schedule, and performance requirements. NGES identified risk as a major problem in software design and has emphasized initial risk assessment prior to approval of the iSDP by senior managers. The iSDP gives management a better understanding of what kind of risk has been identified and how to manage that risk to meet the project’s milestones.
NGES identified development as the largest of the six areas of the iSDP. The development approach contains the kind of software drops (or builds) the project will be required to meet, the code in which the software needs to be written, and how the software will interface with the hardware requirements to meet the project’s milestones. NGES has four life cycle modeling approaches to development that include waterfall, spiral, build, and evolutionary. It is imperative that life cycle modeling be planned in advance to ensure that all personnel understand the project’s modeling requirements. Systems engineering has input to the development approach to deliver the builds in serial, parallel, or partial to meet the master schedule.
Project resources include the security levels needed by the software, the development of training plans, how to backup data if it is lost, and the names of personnel who need access. Estimates and schedules include the standard cost, schedule, and performance requirements under the DoD’s Earned Value Management principles. NGES determined that the project’s visibility must include program metrics and evaluations as well as program reviews by both internal management and external customers.
Once a project is under configuration management and the iSDP is approved, any changes to the software must occur through official Change Control Boards (CCBs). For any software improvement or change during the software program, NGES personnel generate a Software Change Notice (SCN). The SCN is discussed at weekly Integrated Product Team (IPT) meetings and submitted to the CCB for approval or disapproval. NGES customers are included as members on both the IPTs and CCBs, providing valuable input and feedback that benefit the teams and the company.
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