NEWS AT SEI
This article was originally published in News at SEI on: September 1, 1998
In this article CMMI Steering Group members Philip S. Babel (Aeronautical Systems Center, Air Force Material Command), Joan Weszka (Lockheed Martin Corporation), Hal Wilson ('Net Solutions, Litton PRC),and Michael G. Zsak, Jr. (Office of the Secretary ofDefense, Acquisition & Technology) engage in awide-ranging discussion about the CMMI Project. Theviews expressed in this article are those of theparticipants only and do not represent directly or implyany official position or view of the Software EngineeringInstitute or Carnegie Mellon University. This article isintended to stimulate further discussion about thesetopics.
Bill Pollak (moderator): A strong emphasis of the CMMI work is the need to consider software engineering in a systems engineering context. Why do you think this is so important?
Phil Babel: In the services and the OSD, we are involved in the development of defense systems, which involve concurrent hardware, software, and other implementation technologies. Since all of these have to be done in parallel, some people call it concurrent engineering. The systems engineering process is really the bigger process that oversees the rest of the subprocesses, so software engineering could be thought of as a piece that has to fit inside systems engineering. That’s especially important because the front end of the software engineering process is initiated by the systems engineering delivery of a good, solid set of requirements and top-level designs. And on the back end of the development process, the testing and integration phase is really a systems engineering process. So software engineering kind of fits in the middle and runs in parallel with hardware engineering. And I think that’s why it’s so important that we have an integrated process improvement strategy.
Joan Weszka: I think what we’re all trying to achieve is enterprise-level process improvement. And to do that, we need to take advantage of synergies across all the disciplines, including software and systems engineering, in order to maximize the benefits of process improvement. Rather than taking a stovepiped, single-discipline approach, taking an integrated, enterprise-level approach to process improvement should yield much greater efficiency as well as benefit. A first logical step for those involved in software systems development is to adopt an integrated process and improvement strategy for systems and software engineering.
BP: I assume that these conclusions are based on experience with trying to apply the CMM in organizations.
JW: At Lockheed Martin, we have used the individual, discipline-specific models, so we understand the cost and benefits gained. We also have considerable experience in applying integrated product development (IPD), where we deploy integrated product teams having representation from all disciplines across the life cycle, and we have some tremendous success stories in that arena. We expect to see analogous advantages accrue as a result of using the integrated CMMI models since we'll be exploiting commonality and leveraging across the disciplines just as we do with IPD.
MIKE ZSAK: I think if you look at the major change we made with our DoD policy documents back in ’96, we brought all of what used to be the stand-alone stovepipes, like software engineering and reliability and maintainability (R&M), under the umbrella of systems engineering. So actually, our policy architecture is now structured so that software engineering is one of the engineering disciplines considered as part of systems engineering. It fits in with configuration management, and R&M, and all of the other disciplines. There are a number of reasons we did this, the first of which is efficiency—we had some experience where folks would work their particular discipline, like R&M or others, and they would optimize their discipline, but the system would be suboptimized. Also, when you look at what goes on in software engineering and many other functional disciplines, you find that they have a lot in common with what is done at the system level—the general thrust and the objectives are very similar. For example, the approach used for risk management in software engineering is very similar to the approach used in systems engineering. You may get into unique implementation methodology, but the basic approach and concepts of risk management are the same in both cases.
BP: So there’s an opportunity to exploit those commonalities.
Hal Wilson: Let me shift the perspective to a more general view at the process level. At Litton PRC, we measured our results and we started to look at what went well and what didn’t. And we found that for many of the problems that were occurring in very complex implementations, although the problems were primarily software driven, they really stemmed from our having stopped short of a complete, system-wide view. And, from a software perspective, as we went across the boundaries and embraced more of the system-wide considerations—when we brought the systems engineering environment together with our software engineering environment—it became obvious that we needed to have that wider perspective. Mature organizations that measure and verify what’s going on and how to improve things find that the stovepiped view of a pure software or pure systems engineering context is limiting. We found that we needed to bring the two together. And that’s why we’re so supportive of this whole CMMI activity.
PB: The key is that we are primarily in the systems development business, and thus we need integrated systems engineering tools, including process improvement support tools.
Adapting the CMMI framework to an organization’s needs
BP: The A-Spec lists eight deliverables from the CMMI framework that include various combinations of staged and continuous capability models (CMs), with and without integrated product and process development (IPPD). How would an organization determine which of these combinations would best meet its needs?
JW: First and foremost, an organization needs to understand what its business is. When we talk about process improvement, we have to consider an organization’s goals and business objectives. So for example, if an organization is involved only in software engineering, then the software stand-alone model might suffice. However, if an organization is involved in systems development, then it makes sense to adopt one of the integrated models.
HW: I think that most of our organizations are large and very diverse. There are elements within individual corporations that are going to have different needs. In fact, depending on the type of project your organization executes, you may need to tailor almost on a project basis. You may not have a large enough project to do a full IPPD environment; or you may have a software-only development project and you may want to tailor down your processes from your full corporate set. The CMMI would allow an element of a large organization to select a CMMI product that matches the organization’s need. The product-selection technique would allow you to choose and get a product that will allow you to make sure that you’re tailoring correctly—especially to make sure that what you chose as a project-specific single-discipline environment is compatible with a multi-discipline version that another part of the organization might have selected. The CMMI product suite would give you a verification of that. As Joan said, you need to know what you’re doing, and what your business is, but at the same time, you might have variations within your business that are facilitated by the ability to select products within the CMMI.
BP: What about the choice between the staged and continuous representations?
JW: I think that there will be guidance offered to the community on how they might decide which representation to use. For example, if an organization is using a staged model, such as the SW-CMM, then it might consider using one of the integrated models that is a staged representation. From a cultural perspective, it might be easier to transition to an integrated model having a familiar architecture. The fact is that, as in all technology transition, we have to deal with the cultural issues, which as we all know are the most difficult ones. If an organization has not yet adopted any of the legacy discipline-specific models for process improvement, and is just beginninga process improvement program, then the continuous model may be a logical choice. In the longer term, I think the continuous model has a lot more adaptability, flexibility, and room for growth, and facilitates extending the scope of a process improvement program.
BP: What is behind the decision to preserve both the staged and continuous representations of process development? Wouldn’t it be simpler to choose one or the other?
HW: I think there’s a characteristic of staged and continuous that has a lot to do with knowing what you’re getting into. The continuous model presumes that you know what would be the logical choices for your organization. One of the values of an early adoption of a staged model is the fact that it basically tells you how to get there, and shows you what steps to take. It’s very hard for organizations that are just starting to see their way clear to make decisions on “Which of these practices should we do first, how do we approach these, and what level should we be at in each one?” It does require a mature knowledge of what your business practices are, and what you need for your business. And I think it’s very comforting for an inexperienced organization to judge risk, particularly for its management when they are making an investment without a lot of experience. As organizations mature, build a process-based culture, and learn howprocesses get adopted and adapted within their organizations, the tendency will be to move from a staged view to a more continuous one. Once the mechanisms become embedded in the organization, they are part of the organization’s culture. So I think that although the tendency has been that organizations new to the game are more comforted by a staged model, those of us who have been at it a while would say that the continuous model has more validity in the long term.
PB: I believe many engineering professional representatives of the medium and large systems development companies, who are familiar with multi-level staged models, see the advantages of continuous representation models. These engineers fully understand the implications of sequenced process improvement and have the experience and knowledge to make the appropriate choices as to what to improve and in what order, consistent with their business objectives. I think another part of the answer to this question is that although it might have been simpler to choose one or the other representation for the CMMI framework, it wouldn’t necessarily have been the better or more effective choice. And I think that’s where we’ve had a lot of discussion, a lot of different points of view, to suggest that we should implement and support both. And even though it’s more difficult, we would have a lot more to offer in the long run. I think it’s the right thing to do.
HW: I think you’re right, Phil. And while it would be simpler to choose one or the other, we risk disenfranchising a portion of the industry if we do. That would have a much greater impact than to take the effort to do both.
PB: I think the other point, in case it’s not obvious, is that we’re bringing together two models, systems engineering and software engineering, which exist in the two different representations, continuous (systems engineering) and staged (software engineering).
BP: A major concern of users is likely to be the protection of legacy investments in implementing previous CMMs. How is the CMMI effort responding to these concerns?
HW: I’m not even sure that’s the right question in the sense of legacy. I know everybody’s concerned with preserving their legacy, but I don’t think that means restricting change. At Litton PRC we’ve been bringing together all of our software and systems engineering into a single integrated set over the last two and a half or so years. We predated the activity of the CMMI, and naturally made some missteps along the way. But the issue, I think, is not so much impacting or protecting the legacy, but rather improving the legacy. And when you begin to look at the process of continuous improvement, you know that some adjustments will be made to gain improvement. Starting as we did with the SW-CMM, which was a staged model, and integrating with it the continuous aspects of the systems engineering model, we had to make choices individually on the various practices. We had to decide how to make that come together just as the product development team (PDT) is now doing on the CMMI effort. Unfortunately, we had to do that without the help of the rest of the industry. So the CMMI effort is really trying to bring that together for organizationsto keep the impact of having to make those decisions to a minimum—so when the PDT does make those decisions, companies won’t be at odds with the rest of the industry. Companies will have a way to validate that they are indeed doing the correct things. The reason it takes so long, when you’re doing it from your own perspective, is that you’re really trying to determine where this will be in the future. When no one else is giving you input, it’s very difficult to do it by yourself. That’s the value of a technical legacy, because if you’re going to improve your environment and your current disciplines, you’re going to have to make some choices. If you’re not confident that the choices you’re making are in the general direction that the industry is going, you may be in a backwater before you know it. So the CMMI is actually the way to protect your legacy and make sure that your organization will proceed the way that the industry is going.
MZ: We’ve heard this question a lot, and I still struggle with it. You have to be careful about your definition of ”protecting legacy.” If your definition is that what you’ve done in the past is going to be just as applicable in the future, that there’s not going to be any change, then the answer is, we’re not protecting the legacy, because there is going to be change. Now what we’ve tried to do is to take into consideration what changes are going to occur, and make sure that the changes are worthwhile. We’ve been very clear in saying that when we come out with the software version of the CMM, it will not be identical to Version 2.0 that was in the draft stage. We are taking steps to provide the audit trail we’ve taken from the old Version 2.0 to the version where we eventually wind up. But, if protecting legacy means not making any changes, then we’re not going to protect legacy. If you’re going to improve, you’re going to make changes.
JW: I think one of the key enablers to protecting legacy investments is the decision that we made to provide both the continuous and staged model representations. I certainly agree with the point that, if an organization is currently using the SW-CMM or one of the systems engineering models, there will likely be changes involved when a CMMI model is adopted. The changes may be due to additional or expanded practices in the CMMI model. The community has come to expect that there will be evolutionary changes and model improvements, and expects explanations and mappings to trace what has changed over the previous versions. You will find the same representations or architectures used in the CMMI models that were used in the CMMI source models (the SW-CMM, SECM, and IPD-CMM). Thus, organizations will be able to adopt the CMMI models in the representation (staged or continuous) they’re using. This will allow legacy investment to be preserved. Over time, when an organization is ready to transition from whatever representation it's using to another, benchmarking can be used to facilitate the transition. We’ve said that the CMMI assessment method will provide consistent results across the two representations. So, if you’re currently using a staged representation, and you conduct an appraisal, you could conduct another appraisal using a continuous model and compare the results. So, as you transition from one representation to another, the impact, if any, will be very clear. An important point to note is that the input models to the CMMI effort are the existing legacy models contained in the source documents of the A-Spec. Had the CMMI project started with a clean sheet of paper, there would have been no notion of preserving legacy investment in process improvement. I think our A-Spec approach requiring use of legacy models is another indication of what we’re trying to do to preserve legacy investment.
HW: I think that’s an excellent point. It’s the assumption that we’ve made through all of this. When we speak to the legacy, my concept of legacy is really the organization’s processes and practices that they have built their organization and their maturity upon. That’s the legacy that you consistently and constantly improve. So, in that sense, you expect to change and migrate as you go forward. But you don’t want to throw everything away. I think that’s been the underlying issue in protection—we start with things that people are already doing, that have been well established and that they’re comfortable with, and that the industry itself has formed a consensus about. And that’s the protection. The improvement is natural, and that’s where I think the distinction has been made between what you start with as a legacy and what you would like to retain in terms of concept, procedure, and discipline—your organizational heritage—and then move forward with that. The big concern that everyone had was whether the CMMI would diverge completely from where they were, and I think the answer to that is “no”—it’s going to start with where they were and move forward.
BP: What about legacy investments in training and tools?
HW: I think if you look at the way organizations incorporate practice and extend maturity … as they move from levels of maturity forward, they modify their internal training materials. They don’t necessarily use a standard set; they improve. And when you look at what the CMMI is doing, particularly in the core areas, they’re really bringing together separate training elements that might have to be trained from a different perspective into one cohesive set. As you move forward, you pick a consolidated systems and software engineering approach. If you pull one of those products from the CMMI, whether it be staged or continuous, you will have a consolidation of the essential elements of both, rather than having two totally separate training activities, as you would today. And I think if anything, it should minimize the impact. If you are truly going forward and incorporating the two disciplines, you should see the benefit immediately. If you’re going to stay within just one discipline, then you should not see a significant difference. But, in either case, you will get the essential elements. And I think if there is an impact on training, it will be on the organizations themselves. They will have to decide how they take and improve their internal training processes to bring the software-specific elements and move them slightly into the background, and to move the core elements forward within the total view. That, I think, is a tremendous value improvement, rather than a detriment. But the fact is, you still have to go through it. There is going to be some cost to move forward, even in going from one level to the next in the current model.
JW: I think we have to keep our eye on the return on investment from a longer term perspective. So, yes, there may be some impacts near term, to consolidate training, to integrate tools, and possibly to make some changes to tools if in fact they don’t integrate. But the real objective is to realize long-term savings. To achieve the return on investment, which we expect will be achieved, we may need to invest in the near term. However, we’d expect to see tremendous payoff in the longer term.
BP: What are some other disciplines not currently incorporated into the CMMI framework that you anticipate being incorporated in the future?
PB: As you know, what we’re trying to do is develop a framework and an architecture that allows us to add additional development-related and enterprise-related disciplines. A couple have been mentioned in some of our forums. The ones that we’re actually going to add will come from the real development users and the technology and operational needs, as they advance and grow. But I think potentially, some of them might be artificial intelligence or the expert systems engineering area, complex hardware development activities, security engineering/trusted systems engineering, safety-critical systems, where extra processes have to be overlaid on the baseline processes… All of those relate to technical engineering activities. But if you go to a broader development perspective, we could even think about broader coverage of the basic program management activities. It’s too early to say now how this is all going to come together. It’s going to depend on what the industry and what the actual developers believe as they begin the process.
JW: Another area for future CMMI model expansion that has been suggested by the user community is systems acquisition.
PB: And in that sense, if you look at the full life cycle of engineering systems, you might say thatmaintenance and supportability, for example, might be appropriate disciplines.
Relationship with international standards
BP: I note that the A-Spec includes a requirement that the CMMI product suite be compatible with ISO 15504. How is the relationship with international standards evolving?
MZ: There’s certainly a sensitivity to make sure that what we do here takes into consideration what’s happening in the international arena. We don’t want to develop something that isolates the companies in the U.S. from the international marketplace. A number of folks on the team—on the Steering Group or the product development teams or stakeholder reviewers—are involved at the international level with ISO/IEC documents. I haven’t counted them, but I know there’s a fair number involved with the U.S. TAG (Technical Advisory Group), to JTC1/SC7 which is the international group under ISO/IEC that’s responsible for 15504, 12207, 15288 and other related documents. So I think that the folks who are working in both arenas are involved, which gives the CMMI effort first-hand knowledge of what’s happening and a view of what the draft documents are like. That, I think, is one of the main reasons for having it in the spec—so that we make sure we don’t ignore what’s happening on the international arena. We want to make sure that we don’t put our industry in a position of being unable to compete in a world marketplace.
HW: I think that sums up the whole issue. One of the things we want to make sure of is that the term “evolving” is really the key term. Even with a statement of compatibility, we have to recognize that over time, even in a relatively short time, each of these activities—on the international level, the national level, and the CMMI level—will be operating somewhat independently, and probably out of sync. You can expect that something will occur in one element that will affect the other, and they will adapt. And what you eventually would like to do—and what the intent of the A-Spec is—is to make sure that international standards are considered. What we don’t want is that, once the stake is driven into the ground, it isn’t allowed to move simply because we placed it there. It should move to the logical place that industry consensus will take it. It’s more important to recognize how to remain competitive, how to make sure you accommodate the things in our organizations that drive how we implement and develop. This is especially important because most of our organizations are international.
MZ: Hal brought up a very important point. Most of the things we’re talking about are evolving. 15504 is not an international standard; it’s a technical report that has not yet gotten to the status of an international standard. The systems-level life-cycle model, 15288, is still at the working draft level. That document hasn’t been circulated outside of the working group yet for review and comment. So the only document we have to look at in terms of a full standard in the international arena is 12207. And there’s inconsistency between the international documents. So the challenge is not only to make sure we’re aligned with the international standards, but also to resolve the conflicts that exist within 12207 and 15504, for example. It’s not a very easy thing to deal with.
BP: What efforts are you making to keep the user community informed of the continuing evolution of the work? How are you gathering stakeholder review comments and adjustments?
PB: What we’ve done is gone out in a number of forums and explained, at the time, what the project was all about and given our status. We’ve put a number of those briefings and a set offrequently asked questions (FAQs) on the SEI Web site to inform the community about what is going on with the CMMI effort. We’ve established a stakeholder review group, which is a group of folks who are going to review as we go through the development effort. Members of the stakeholder review group represent and spread the word to their very large organizations. So we’re anticipating a lot of input, and that’s another way of informing the community of what’s going on with the project.
BP: How about commercial industry? Any special efforts going on to involve commercial industry?
PB: The commercial industry raised this concern in Chicago a while back, and we took names of those who were really interested. Our lead industry person, Bob Rassa, then went through some effort to reach out to these folks and invite them to participate, and we did get some participation in the stakeholder review group.
HW: Bob Rassa also asked the commercial arm of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA) to go forward and see if there was any interest in commercial industry to participate. And I think the initial reaction was that those organizations that were heavily involved and felt that it was in their best interest have chosen to do so. In fact, there have been several offers for individuals to participate on the product development teams.
JW: I think that one of the things we did to ensure that we did reach out to the commercial community was take a hard look at the distribution channels we were using to disseminate information on CMMI. Specifically, we talked with the SEI about the distribution lists they had used in the past for their various correspondence groups and advisory boards, and we included those people in the distribution for CMMI information. In particular, we included them in the invitation to participate in the CMMI effort by providing product development team members. We realized that we needed to expand our communication channels and our distribution list. Hopefully, with the additional outreach, everyone who has been involved with capability models in the past is now aware of the CMMI Project. And, we would like to think that everyone is tuned in to the CMMI page on the SEI Web site, so they can keep up to date in the future on what’s happening with the project.
BP: What role does the Steering Group play in guiding this effort?
PB: The Steering Group has an important role in this development effort. For example, we decided to take a systems engineering approach in developing the CMMI product suite. As a result, we have written the functional/performance requirements in the form of a formal specification (A-Spec). The Steering Group is also responsible for configuration control of the A-Spec and the top-level design products as they evolve. We have a role between the sponsor and the users, and we’re representing the users in tracking progress and approving products, so we’re providing an insight/oversight kind of steering function to the product development teams. We’re resolving issues that come up, and right now, we’re in the midst of planning transition—how we are going to sustain, maintain, and support these product-suite-based products once they’re developed. And we’re making efforts to disseminate information about these developments as they occur.
MZ: From the very beginning, this was defined as a collaborative effort between government, industry, and the SEI. The Steering Group exists as a forum for having that collaborative effort to make sure that the voices of the services, DoD, and industry are heard and help drive and direct this effort.
HW: If you look at the way that development organizations are set up, you find that most of those organizations have separate elements that are concerned with each of the disciplines, and these separate elements have perspectives that are self sustaining. The organizations that acquire and implement systems or utilize systems within the DoD and within industry have a lot of the same characteristics. So it’s pretty obvious when you bring a complex set of environments and put them all together that there has to be some coordinating and even controlling element that keeps the industry and government needs and constraints in perspective. You could create tremendous impacts if you just went willy-nilly. As Mike said, the Steering Group provides a forum and a mechanism for not only bringing that discussion together, but also bringing a consensus on what is really necessary to meet the needs of all the constituents. We haven’t really had a means to do that in the past, and part of the reason there were so many CMMs was that there wasn’t a means to consider the needs of all the constituents in the past. So if we had not brought the Steering Group into existence, the result would be far different.
PB: We have both industry and government representation on the Steering Group, along with systems engineering and software engineering perspectives. So in this sense, we have brought together these backgrounds and representations, which I feel is very important. And from all of the members of both industry and government, we reach into a number of standards bodies and associations within the industry that are oriented toward particular activities, and if we weren’t able to draw on this diversity, we wouldn’t be able to bring together a consensus model.
BP: In what ways might the CMMI be beneficial in terms of how if will affect assessments?
HW: Industry and government organizations have performed assessments, either internally or externally, to benchmark where they are. Generally, you want to go out and get someone other than yourself to let you know if your self-assessment is valid. Our management certainly does—they don’t believe that an organization claiming a particular level should be the one making that assessment. For a third-party assessment, the issue is what mechanism do you use? And I think that the way the CMMI is going is to bring together a unified assessment approach.
JW: That’s an excellent point. I think the key is that the mechanism and underlying model an organization is using to assess itself internally, doing self-assessments, is consistent with the mechanism and model used for external benchmarking.
HW: Today it would be impossible for an organization to bring together software engineering, systems engineering, and IPD in a single assessment approach on their own. They would have no way of arbitrating the differences in the models to gain any result that industry could validate. What the CMMI is going to provide is a single, unified, consensus approach. And that’s valuable. That’s a major cost savings. The difficulty in bringing together the different CMMs in an organization ahead of time is you’re always forced to go back and look to see if you can still pass any one of these divergent CMMs or Software Capability Evaluations (SCEs) from a different perspective. The CMMI will eliminate that. That’s one of the problems of being an early adopter—having to make sure that you’re not jeopardizing your evaluation in any independent SCE against one CMM versus another. Because the characteristics are slightly different—in this case, they’re somewhat divergent—one element gets more credence in one SCE than in another. The training of the individual and which SCE is being used, for which CMM, can greatly affect a good basic practice. The CMMI will eliminate a lot of that. This is one of the greatest advantages of a unified model.
JW: If the same model and the same appraisal method are used in both internal and external appraisals, then you can achieve comparable results. If you use different appraisal methods or different models, then comparison of results may be difficult. As long as everyone is aligned from a model and method perspective, then the outcomes of internal and external appraisals can synergistically support an organization’s process improvement program.
HW: One of the inherent and underlying concerns about legacy has been in the rating area. Many people have expressed the concern of “How do we know if we’ll keep the rating we have?” If you’re only dealing with one of the CMMs now, particularly software, you’ll have a rating based on a current model. If you continue to operate within a staged model, while there will be an improvement within the content of the software CM product of the CMMI, there would be some stability in that process, but there would be the same impact on your rating as if you were going to the next level of a release. Companies that are already moving to bring together software and systems engineering realize that the costs involved in trying to accommodate both models today are enormous. And that’s really the issue. Most companies that are doing complex operations realize that they are doing systems engineering as well as software engineering, and they need to address both in order to be mature; so the movement toward a common assessment model is critical. Today you can’t have a combined rating for software and systems engineering maturity. The CMMI is the only thing that’s going to give you that.
BP: What are the plans for maintenance of the CMMI products? What guarantee is there that this will not be a one-time product?
HW: It’s an issue that is being addressed by the Steering Group. We recognize that it’s a Steering Group responsibility to define a process for maintenance and improvement of the CMMI. And that will be one of the things coming out of this in the future.
Bill Pollak is a senior writer/editor, member of the technical staff, and team leader of the Technical Communication team at the SEI. He is the editor and co-author of A Practitioner's Handbook for Real-Time Analysis: Guide to Rate Monotonic Analysis for Real-Time Systems (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993) and has written articles for the Journal of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group for Computer Documentation (SIGDOC), CROSSTALK, and IEEE Computer.
Philip S Babel is Technical Advisor for Embedded Computer Systems Software, Aeronautical Systems Center (ASC), Air Force Material Command (AFMC), Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Ohio. His responsibilities include technical leadership for the application of computer systems and software technology to aeronautical systems acquisition and development. He defines and establishes policies, processes, practices, and methods for the engineering of embedded computer systems software. He has a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Detroit and an MS in computer and information systems from the Ohio State University.
Joan Weszka has over 25 years of experience in software and systems engineering, and program management of computer systems. At IBM, she held management and technical positions in systems development of commercial and government large-scale, real-time, systems, and was Process Program Manager at IBM Federal Systems Company Headquarters. She is currently Manager of Process and Program Performance at the Lockheed Martin Enterprise Information Systems' Software & Systems Resource Center, a service organization and source of expert resources to Lockheed Martin companies in areas of consultation, process improvement, training, and technology transition. Weszka is Chairperson of the Enterprise Process Improvement Collaboration Steering Group. She previously served as Chairperson of the SEI's SW-CMM Advisory Board and was a member of the SEI's Software Acquisition CMM Steering Group, the SCE Advisory Board and the CMM-Based Appraisal Advisory Board.
Hal Wilson has been designing and implementing computer information and computer-assisted communications systems for over 30 years. He holds the position of vice president and general manager, 'Net Solutions, the focal point for Internet/Intranet-related customer support activities within Litton PRC. Since joining PRC in 1984, Wilson has directed the design and implementation of two major systems integration programs and has directed the design, competitive selection, and development of two large system programs. He also created and led the Systems and Process Engineering organization that developed process and engineering policy and procedures for systems and software engineering within Litton PRC. Wilson is currently the chairman of the Systems Engineering Committee (G47) of the Electronic Industries Alliance, which is responsible for the creation of two new systems engineering standards, ANSI/EIA 632, Processes for Engineering a System, and EIA IS 731, Systems Engineering Capability Model. He also serves as the vice chair of the National Defense Industrial Association Systems Engineering Committee, chartered by the Systems Engineering Directorate of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology. Wilson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from St. John's University in New York. He also is a graduate of the Western Electric Graduate Engineering Education program. Wilson was awarded Federal 100 award by Federal Computer Week Magazine in 1993. He co-holds a patent for an Alarm Scanning Mechanism designed for the Washington Metro Communications Control System. The views expressed in this article are the author’s only and do not represent directly or imply any official position or view of the Software Engineering Institute or Carnegie Mellon University. This article is intended to stimulate further discussion about this topic.
Michael G. Zsak, Jr. is a Systems Engineer for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Acquisition & Technology). He is responsible for providing technical support to the Deputy Director, Systems Engineering and the Director, Test, Systems Engineering, and Evaluation. In addition to his normal duties, he serves as the DoD advisor to the International Symposium on Product Quality & Integrity (RAMS), the DoD representative to the U.S. Technical Advisory Group for ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC7, Chairman of the Reliability Analysis Center Steering Committee, and Vice Chair of the Society of Automotive Engineers International Division on Reliability, Maintainability, Logistics, and Supportability. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Maryland and the Defense Systems Management College.
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