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The Journey to Level 4. Presented by: Ms. Jackie Langhout, Lead of the Software Engineering Process Group U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command Software Engineering Directorate at the Huntsville SPIN meeting 12 April 2001. AMCOM SED. Army Materiel Command. Research, Development,

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The journey to level 4

The Journey to Level 4

Presented by:

Ms. Jackie Langhout,

Lead of the Software Engineering Process Group

U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command

Software Engineering Directorate

at the

Huntsville SPIN meeting

12 April 2001

Amcom sed

Army Materiel


Research, Development,

and Engineering Center

Mission - Provide Mission Critical Computer Resource (MCCR) expertise to support AMCOM weapon systems over their life cycle.

- AMCOM focal point for MCCR

- Acquisition and Technology

- Post Production Software Support

- Interoperability Engineering &


AMCOM Life Cycle

Software Engineering Center

Dept. of

the Army

Aviation &

Missile Command

Software Engineering

Directorate (SED)

AMCOM Software Engineering Directorate

Sed characteristics
SED Characteristics

  • 150 Government and 450 contractor personnel~ 300,000 sq. ft. facility with laboratories and space for tactical equipmentCustomers include Missile and Aviation PEOs, AMCOM Project Offices and Foreign Military Sales 15 – 20 software development or sustainment projects (~ 230 personnel)

Artist rendering of SED Annex, Bldg. 6263

AMCOM Software Engineering Directorate

Sed project characteristics
SED Project Characteristics

  • Type:

    • New Development - 40%

    • Sustainment – 60%

  • Applications:

    • Trainer/Simulator

    • Test Device/Tool

    • Command, Control & Communication

    • Tactical

  • Size of team: 4 – 25 people

  • Duration: 3 – 24 months

  • Product size: 400 – 160,000 LOC

  • Languages: 11 including Ada, C, Fortran.









AMCOM Software Engineering Directorate

Sed process improvement program
SED Process Improvement Program

  • Based on the SEI’s Capability Maturity Model for Software.Monitored by the Quality Management Board (SED senior management).Facilitated by the Software Engineering Process Group (Government and contractor).Supported by the training program.

Dir. &

Dep. Dir.









SEPG = 9 people, 4 FTE MYs

TAC = 5 people, 1.5 FTE MYs

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4






AMCOM Software Engineering Directorate

Challenges to reaching level 4
Challenges to Reaching Level 4

  • Understanding the CMM terminology.

  • Improving the metrics program.

  • Documenting the processes and procedures.

  • Training the personnel.

  • Maintaining focus during implementation.

AMCOM Software Engineering Directorate

Challenge 1
Challenge #1

  • Challenge: Understanding the terminology in the CMM/SW Level 4 Key Process Areas.

  • Responses:

    • Researched and studied available material (i.e. Crosstalk, SEI web site)

    • Participated in conferences and symposiums (i.e. SEPG, STC, SEI)

    • Communicated with the SEI (i.e. Paulk, Carleton, Florac).

    • Interfaced with high maturity organizations (Air Force).

AMCOM Software Engineering Directorate

Cmm sw level 4
CMM/SW Level 4

  • Managing with facts and data.

  • Understanding how processes perform.Understanding the quality of the developed products.Using organizational business goals and projects’ issues to determine the quantitative analysis applications.

AMCOM Software Engineering Directorate

Challenge 2
Challenge #2

  • Challenge: Improving the metrics program.

  • Responses:

    • Employed a full-time metrics analyst with a background in statistical process control.

    • Established organizational goals with senior management.

    • Aligned the metrics with the organizational goals and process (SEPH).

    • Automated the collection and reporting of metrics.

AMCOM Software Engineering Directorate

Metrics program
Metrics Program

  • Metrics: effort, size, duration and defects.

  • Metrics Database contains:

    > 265 builds

    > 300 Peer Reviews

    > 250,000 effort hours

    > 455,000 lines of delivered code (11 languages)

  • Statistical Process Control (SPC)

  • applied to:

    • Productivity

    • Review (Scan) Rate for peer reviews

    • Defect Density for peer reviews

AMCOM Software Engineering Directorate

Challenge 3
Challenge # 3

  • Challenge: Documenting the processes and procedures.

  • Responses:

    • Utilized an approach appropriate for SED.

    • Updated the SEPH, the SEPG Operations Handbook and other documents to include the Level 4 activities.

    • Incorporated the quantitative process management plans into the project plans.

    • Modified peer review procedures and forms to include the application of SPC.

AMCOM Software Engineering Directorate

Standard software process
Standard Software Process

  • The SEPH (SED Engineering Process Handbook)

    • Contains processes, procedures and standards for new development, transition and sustainment projects.

    • Includes guidance for the collection of project metrics.

  • Tailoring of the SEPH is performed by the Project Team, reviewed by the SEPG mentor and approved by management.

AMCOM Software Engineering Directorate

Challenge 4
Challenge #4

  • Challenge: Training the Level 4 process and procedures.

  • Responses:

    • Modified previously developed courses.

    • Developed and taught an SPC application course.

    • Minimized class durations and maximized course offerings.

    • Supplemented with mentoring from SEPG members.

AMCOM Software Engineering Directorate

Training program
Training Program

  • Required training based on role performed. Training Database maintains records.Training schedule, data, charts available on-line.Management provided semi-annual progress reports.



Training Program




Training Totals

AMCOM Software Engineering Directorate

Challenge 5
Challenge #5

  • Challenge: Maintaining focus during implementation.

  • Responses:

    • Conducted regular SQA audits and an internal mini-assessment.

    • Reported readiness to senior management on a regular basis.

    • Utilized the email, newsletter and intranet as communication sources.

    • Held assessment preparation meetings with all projects.

AMCOM Software Engineering Directorate

Assessment details
Assessment Details

  • 2 week CMM Based Appraisal for Internal Process Improvement

  • Certified Lead Assessor – Dave Zubrow of SEI

  • Assessment Team members represented 6 different organizations/companies

  • 54 Assessment participants

  • 18 projects

    • completed CMM Compliance Checklists

    • compiled Artifact Notebooks

    • participated in interview sessions

  • 4 Project Leads from diverse projects

AMCOM Software Engineering Directorate

Maturity profile
Maturity Profile

Apr 2000

Level 4

SED Assessments

Nov 1996

Level 3

May 1994

Level 2

Major Determinants in a Process Capability Rating

Sept 1991

Level 1

  • The Process is Documented

  • The Process is Taught

  • The Process is Used

  • The Process is Measured

*From March 2001 SEI report, based on most recent assessment of 1012 organizations.

AMCOM Software Engineering Directorate


  • Increased productivity

    • Since 1995, productivity has doubled.

    • Peer reviews are 9 times more cost effective than testing.

  • High quality products

    • Post delivery defects are below 1 per KSLOC.

    • In past two years, a 10% decrease in the defect density of peer reviewed products.

  • Organizational growth

    • The number of software development/sustainment projects has increased by a factor of 4 since 1992.

AMCOM Software Engineering Directorate

Keys to success
Keys to Success

  • Long term, consistent commitment by senior management.

  • Total staff (Government and contractor) involvement.

  • Establishment of organizational goals provided guidance for the metrics program.

  • Automation used to disseminate information and collect data.

  • Dialogue with SEI and high maturity organizations.

AMCOM Software Engineering Directorate

Next steps
Next Steps

  • Continue to improve our software engineering processes (tools/technology evaluation and insertion, defect analysis).Transition to the CMMI for System and Software Engineering.Implement Personal Software Process/Team Software Process (PSP/TSP) on selected project(s).

AMCOM Software Engineering Directorate