Inconsistency impairs our efforts to use TAAF effectively today. It's an emotional issue Some in the acquisition community remain unconvinced of TAAF's value and violently oppose it. There is a lack of direction in applying it--little real technical guidance is available at the present time. Programs that do use TAAF are as likely as not to do it wrong, and this doesn't help convince others. A lack of discipline has led to almost any test activity being called TAAF.
After reviewing a number of military acquisition programs it became apparent that the same problems were being repeated from one program to the next. The following is a list of some of these problem areas:
Program office understanding and support of the need for and purpose of TAAF have been lacking.
To levy contractual MTBF requirements at certain points in TAAF testing is counter productive since it will not encourage finding failures.
Contractor performance must be tracked without providing a negative TAAF incentive. Techniques such as defining an acceptable growth range for reporting purposes should be used.
Use of early hardware has drawbacks such as:
- Hardware with tolerance or performance problems may be switched with TAAF hardware to allow performance tests to proceed.
- Early hardware will contain early software; TAAF hardware may not be completely representative as software changes may be made which are not functionally compatible and easily installed in the older hardware. Test set and spare parts compatibility may also cause delays.
Holding onto assets is difficult and should be a major consideration in planning any TAAF Program.
Accumulation of TAAF hours may prove difficult due to factors such as:
- Repair turnaround times--a lack of availability of spare parts, repair resources or failure analysis capabilities will greatly lengthen the repair cycle.
- Test facility problems--if a new test facility will be used, chamber availability will probably be less than anticipated while chamber bugs are being worked.
TAAF progress is not briefed at weekly Program Managers meetings to keep management informed.