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Adaptation of Commercial and Defense Systems Requirements Engineering Processes for Streamlined Acquisition Programs. INCOSE Spring 09. L. Keith Robinett L-3 Communications William D. Miller Stevens Institute of Technology. April 4, 2009. Topics. Role and Value of Requirements

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Adaptation of Commercial and Defense Systems Requirements Engineering Processes for Streamlined Acquisition Programs

INCOSE Spring 09

L. Keith Robinett

L-3 Communications

William D. Miller

Stevens Institute of Technology

April 4, 2009

INCOSE Proprietary Information

Limited Distribution



  • Role and Value of Requirements
  • Requirements Engineering Methods
  • and Best Practices
  • Requirements Engineering Process
  • for Streamlined Acquisition Programs

NDIA Top Five Systems Engineering Issues

Lack of awareness of the importance, value, timing, accountability, and organizational structure of Systems Engineering (SE) on programs

Adequate, qualified resources are generally not available within Government and industry for allocation on major programs

Insufficient SE tools and environments to effectively execute SE on programs

Requirements definition, development and management is not applied consistently and effectively

Poor initial program formulation.

NDIA, 2003


NDIA Program Recommendations

Increase awareness of SE importance in early acquisition phases. Realize that systems engineering is not a “tailor able” option for programs.

Establish program to incentivize SE positions within the Government

Research, identify and encourage use of SE tools for architecture design and development

Synchronize directives for consistent requirements development and development approaches in the acquisition and requirements communities

Emphasize use of SE practice in initial program formulation phases.

NDIA, 2003


US DOD and NDIA Top Five Systems Engineering Issues

Key systems engineering practices known to be effective are not consistently applied across all phases of the program life cycle

Insufficient systems engineering is applied early in the program life cycle, compromising the foundation for initial requirements and architecture development

Requirements are not always well-managed, including the effective translation from capabilities statements into executable requirements to achieve successful acquisition programs

The quantity and quality of systems engineering expertise is insufficient to meet the demands of the government and the defense industry

Collaborative environments, including SE tools, are inadequate to effectively execute SE at the joint capability, system of systems (SoS), and system levels.

NDIA, 2006


US DOD and NDIA Systems Engineering Recommendations

Ensure effective SE practices are institutionalized into program planning/execution

Ensure SE efforts are allocated schedule and effort in early program life cycle phases

Ensure systems engineering practices and resources are applied to define capabilities required to satisfy the needs of the warfighters.

NDIA, 2006


Operational Requirements

Where will the system be used?

How will the system accomplish its mission objective?

What are the critical system parameters to accomplish the mission?

How are the various system components to be used?

How effective or efficient must the system be in performing its mission?

How long will the system be in use by the user?

What environments will the system be expected to operate in an effective manner?

DAU, 2001


Systems Engineering Process

Standards in Common Use for Commercial & Defense Systems

ISO/IEC 15288 Systems engineering – system life cycle processes (ISO, 2002)

EIA-632 Processes for Engineering a System (EIA, 1999)

IEEE 1220-2005 IEEE Standard for Applications and Management of the Systems Engineering Process (IEEE, 2005).


Streamlined Acquisition Programs

Refers to defense programs for sustainment and/or upgrade of a previously delivered (legacy) system

Baseline system performance is typically known and well-understood for most legacy systems

In many cases, requirements for legacy systems are not available

Extensively modified legacy systems bear little resemblance to the original system

Streamlined acquisition programs often add functionality to legacy systems via relatively short program schedule, referred to as a Quick Reaction Capability (QRC).


Streamlined Acquisition Program Activities

Evolutionary acquisition achieved via incremental requirements determined from continual communication with customers and stakeholders

Activities required to upgrade a system (DAU, 2001):

Benchmark the modified requirements for the upgrade and the entire system

Perform functional analysis and allocation on the requirements

Assess the system capability and performance before the upgrade

Identify and manage cost and risk factors

Develop and evaluate alternatives for the modified system

Prototype the chosen alternative

Verify the improved performance and new functionality.


Streamlined Acquisition Program Approach

  • Start with traditional SE Vee model (Mooz and Forsberg, 2006)
  • Apply agile methodology to make SE processes as lean as possible to meet QRC timelines
  • Requirements principles for streamlined acquisition programs (Wiegers, 2001):
    • Don’t dig your hole any deeper
    • Practice new requirements engineering techniques
    • Reconstruct requirements selectively
    • Couple requirements development and testing
    • Follow your change process
    • Inspect down the traceability chain
    • Start now.
  • Use agile methods within the Vee mode for new functionality, followed by traditional systems engineering methods for full system functionality

Agile Systems Engineering

Agile systems engineering is defined as “rapid user and stakeholder requirements management, including concept selection, architecture development, system integration, verification, and validation in a development environment characterized by swift adaptation to changes, non-hierarchical baseline management, and a notable absence of low-value bureaucracy.”


Streamlined Acquisition Program Process Flow

Proposed process flow for airborne ISR streamlined acquisition program


Streamlined Acquisition Process Flow Description

Stakeholder or user needs for new system functionality are documented via Capability Requirements (CRs) that capture top-level needs and are used as basis for the derived product bid notes used to provide cost/scope estimates and product requirements used as input to the product development phase

Functional test verifications provide a means to verify performance to requirements for individual Configuration Items (CIs)

Product integration verifies the subsystem products meet the product requirements while capability integration verifies the new functionality at the system level meets the capability requirements

New functionality is then integrated with the legacy functionality during mission systems integration

System verification continues during ground test and validation is performed during flight test

Agile processes are utilized for the new development efforts thru capability integration efforts, while a traditional systems engineering process is used for mission system integration, ground test and flight test

The preference is for completion of capability integration for all new functionality before mission system integration begins, but that is not always feasible because some capabilities are completed before others.

The risk is the system will not be mature enough for ground test, resulting in cost and schedule impact

The rule of thumb is to perform as much integration testing in the lab as possible because it becomes more difficult (and costly) to “integrate on the aircraft”.


Streamlined Acquisition Requirements Metrics

Requirements trends

System definition change backlog trends

Requirements validation trends

Requirements verification trends


Streamlined Acquisition Program Requirements Process Flow

Customer/stakeholder involvement at each successive requirements phase


Streamlined Acquisition Requirements Flow Description

Requirements engineering begins with the concept and user requirements captured at a very high level in the Statement of Work (SOW), followed by generation of the capability requirements and the product requirements

The interaction between each successive phase is bi-directional indicating the recursive activities performed as the system requirements are defined at each lower level and potential refinement of requirements at the preceding higher level

There is customer involvement at each successive requirements phase

The proposed systems engineering process satisfies the key characteristics of agile


Hybrid Systems Engineering Vee Model

For requirements allocation side of the Vee, the new capability requirements are assimilated into the legacy system task list and the capability requirements are decomposed into product requirements, followed by the product design and implementation phase

The integration side of the Vee begins with Functional Test Verification (FTVs) to verify the implementation satisfies the product requirements where the FTVs are formal “selloff” events from developers to systems engineers and customers

Agile methodology is utilized for the development/implementation/validation of the new functionality; multiple FTVs can be held for each Configuration Item (CI) as new functionality is added; multiple agile “loops” can be followed for each CI until the full functionality is implemented

Product integration is accomplished when the suite of CIs required for each specific capability are ready for product integration; following successful product verification, the full capability is integrated during capability integration; the process is repeated until the capability is completed integrated

Once all the new capabilities are integrated, the agile process is completed and is followed by an overall traditional systems engineering process to verify and validate the new capability with the existing legacy system functionality

The mission system integration and ground test verify the full system capability against the system task list

System performance is validated against the system task list during flight tests



Systems engineering processes for commercial and defense programs are similar as both are governed by standards in common use, i.e., ISO/IEC 15288, EIA-632 and IEEE 1220

Detailed processes for requirements engineering include elicitation of customer/stakeholder requirements and metrics to assess quality of the requirements engineering process

Hybrid systems engineering process incorporating both agile and traditional systems engineering processes is used for streamlined acquisition programs.



L. Keith Robinett

L-3 Communications

William D. Miller

Stevens Institute of Technology