Objective: Research in the area of systems engineering competency has yielded significant DoD policies, guidance, and reference materials pertaining to applying systems engineering (SE) policy, standards, and best practices for higher performance on major acquisition programs. These best practices are not universally applied across the DoD and particularly to the US Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command (RDECOM). Further research is needed to enable acquisition, research, and development efforts with the ability to tailor existing documentation and augment, as needed, to better focus the breadth and depth to which policies, guidance, and extent of documentation is utilized. The objective of this research task was to assess the current state of SE maturity within the US Army RDECOM to benchmark its position relative to its practices, to establish a plan/roadmap to aid RDECOM in creating a Systems Engineering Organization Standard Process appropriate for a world class Research & Development organization.
Approach: This project was executed within three phases: – Phase 1: Discovery – Assessment of current career development practices and competency models in SE as utilized in RDECOM; and survey of current RDECOM practices and needs through Voice of the Customer with key personnel and the RDECOM SE Integrate Product Team (IPT). – Phase 2: Analysis – Analyze gaps, targets, and strategic intent based on the results of the Discovery phase to formulate a position for executing a competency development and assessment platform. – Phase 3: Synthesis – Execute the competency development and assessment platform via a spiral development approach.
Application: The results of the three phased approach was a SE competency development and assessment platform that was used to train and assess the fundamental knowledge and skills of a RDECOM SE workforce. The focus of this research task was on the Technical Processes that comprise the design processes viz. requirements definition, requirements analysis, and architecture design (“the left side of the V”). Further advancing this research task would be to develop the appropriate platforms to address the Technical Management Processes that comprise realization processes viz. implementation, integration, verification, validation, and transition (the “right side of the V”).