Accelerating Innovation by Transforming into a Digital Engineering Approach

Accelerating Innovation by Transforming into a Digital Engineering Approach

The November 2022 tech talk was presented by Jeff Schwalb and Will Walker

Abstract

In the past, the Department of Defense has primarily used a document-based approach for all cradle-to-grave systems development. This approach to systems engineering produces tons of artifacts (especially if shared on paper) in the form of a disjointed set of text documents, spreadsheets, diagrams, and presentations that may or may not be configuration managed in a further disjoint set of repositories. Even worse, the artifacts themselves become disjoint, unreliable, and expensive to maintain!

As the systems we design now and into the future gain complexity, the rework necessary when a change occurs will becomes more and more expensive, as engineers need to modify many documents to keep them up to date. Even worse, it becomes more confusing to know which of these document sets has the most up-to-date information. 

Digital engineering provides a method to use tagging and active interdependencies between design models to enable changes to be made in one location that will propagate throughout all other relevant design models. This means that all interconnected models will contain the most up-to-date data at any given moment in time. 

There are advantages and complexities to converting to digital engineering, which will be covered in the presentation.  Digital engineering and Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) implementation steps will be outlined, and the future goal of the transformation will be relayed.

About the Presenters

Jeff Schwalb is a computer scientist and has been supporting Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) since 1984. He has over 20 years of experience developing and acquiring real-time embedded software systems for avionics, weapons, and range instrumentation systems. He also began collaborating with the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), learning and applying CMM key practices, becoming a certified Personal Software Process℠ (PSP℠) instructor and then a certified Team Software Process℠ (TSP℠) coach. Over the last 25 years, he has taught and consulted with hundreds of scientists and engineers in various forms of personal engineering processes and has coached dozens of projects in the launch and operations of team project planning and tracking.

In 2017, Jeff connected with the SEI on the establishment of the organization we know today as the Software Excellence Alliance (SEA). Today, Jeff continues to work within the SEA to identify and establish pragmatic, value-added solutions to problems currently affecting the software community. He is currently serving as a member of the SEA Executive Team and as a supporting member of SEA working groups in areas such as Membership, Agile Community Networking, and Knowledge Transfer.

Will Walker is currently a Principal Systems Engineer at Raytheon Intelligence and Space (RI&S) who consults with many RI&S programs to help them implement a digital transformation strategy. At Raytheon, he also teaches classes including an “MBSE Bootcamp” class to Raytheon employees all over the globe. These classes focus on a mixture of architectural design principles, Cameo/MagicDraw software buttonology, SysML/UML language details, and Digital Engineering (DE) principles and objectives.

Will has worked on space, Air Force, Army, and Navy programs during his career on both the government side (NAVSEA) and the contractor side (Raytheon and L3Harris). He has worked on underwater unmanned vehicles, underwater mine warfare systems, drone boats, unmanned aerial vehicles, medium range missiles, radar, and other satellite subsystems. He has his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and graduate degree in systems engineering. Will enjoys both teaching and consulting for DE and MBSE, and is excited to see how the digital transformation continues for years to come. 

Will happily lives in Dallas TX with his wife and their dog. He goes kiteboarding in his free time and enjoys cooking something new.

Team Process Integration: Half-Day Course

Team Process Integration: Half-Day Course

Abstract:

This half-day course covers all aspects of the Team Process Integration (TPI) framework. The TPI methodology integrates disciplined project practices that can be applied by many product teams (e.g., software, systems, and test). It is a framework that provides fundamental engineering processes for the following areas: planning, tracking, quality, measurement and metrics, as well as communicating team status. The TPI method is used at the project level and is applied by individual members of a team to guide daily work.      

This course includes the following topics (each individually available on YouTube):

About the Presenters

Dr. Brad Hodgins is a computer scientist and has been supporting Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) for 36 years. He has over 20 years of experience in developing simulation and avionics software. He has spent the last 16 years as a project planning and tracking coach and instructor for the Performance Resource Team (PRT), actively coaching project teams in the development of high-quality products for on-time, on-budget delivery to the fleet.

Brad views the SEA as an incredible venue to share best practices for planning and tracking software projects and to brainstorm solutions to problems currently affecting the Software Community. He is currently serving as the SEA Membership Coordinator and a member of the SEA Executive Team; he is also a member of the Next-Gen Tooling standing committee.

Jeff Schwalb is a computer scientist and has been supporting Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) since 1984. He has over 20 years of experience developing and acquiring real-time embedded software systems for avionics, weapons, and range instrumentation systems. He also began collaborating with the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), learning and applying CMM key practices, becoming a certified Personal Software Process℠ (PSP℠) instructor and then a certified Team Software Process℠ (TSP℠) coach. Over the last 25 years, he has taught and consulted with hundreds of scientists and engineers in various forms of personal engineering processes and has coached dozens of projects in the launch and operations of team project planning and tracking.

In 2017, Jeff connected with the SEI on the establishment of the organization we know today as the Software Excellence Alliance (SEA). Today, Jeff continues to work within the SEA to identify and establish pragmatic, value-added solutions to problems currently affecting the software community. He is currently serving as a member of the SEA Executive Team and as a supporting member of SEA working groups in areas such as Membership, Agile Community Networking, and Knowledge Transfer.

David Saint-Amand is a Performance improvement coach with the Process Resource Team of the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).  His previous positions include DCS Corporation Section Manager, Naval Operations Research Analyst, Engineering Geologist, and Seismic Safety Consultant.

He holds a B.A. in Geology from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a secondary emphasis in Computer Science.  He is a Defense Acquisition University Certified Level III Life Cycle Logistician, a Software Engineering Institute (SEI) Certified Personal Software Process (PSP) Developer, an SEI-Authorized PSP Instructor, and a NAVAIR Internal Team Software Process Coach.

Kristianne Aberer has been working for the Performance Resource Team (PRT) of the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) as a Performance Improvement Coach for the past 3 years. She has helped multiple engineering project teams to plan and track their work so they could deliver high-quality products on cost and on schedule while maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Her previous positions include Electronics Design Engineer, Flight Test Engineer, and Stay-At-Home-Parent. Kristianne holds a B.S. in Mechatronic Engineering from California State University, Chico. Kristianne grew up being very involved in youth sports and had many wonderful coaches. She enjoys paying it forward by coaching youth soccer teams, teaching physical education at a small Montessori school, and coaching elementary students in track and field. 

The Digital Transformation Spiral Model

The Digital Transformation Spiral Model

The March 2022 tech talk was presented by Dr. Barry Dwolatzky

Abstract:

Digital transformation has become an imperative for organisations in the 21st Century irrespective of size, sector, or geographic location. Studies have shown that a very high percentage of digital transformation journeys have failed to deliver the desired results. In order to mitigate some of the risks associated with digital transformation and its associated organisational changes, we have proposed a lifecycle model approach. We call the lifecycle the “Digital Transformation Spiral Model”, or DTSM. It is an iterative and incremental model with both a “design and development” cycle and a “governance” cycle. The focus is on continuous innovation via continuous improvement. The DTSM draws on a number of tools and frameworks including the Business Model Canvas (BMC), CMMI, and Kent Beck’s 3X model.

About the Presenter 

PROFESSOR BARRY DWOLATZKY, BSc(Eng), PhD, FSAIEE, FIITPSA

Barry Dwolatzky is professor emeritus in the School of Electrical & Information Engineering at Wits University. He is the founder and Director of the University’s Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE). He is also the founder of Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. While he remains the Director of the JCSE, in July 2021 he was appointed as Director of Innovation Strategy in the Office of the Wits Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Innovation.

Barry’s undergraduate (BSc(Eng) ) and postgraduate degree (PhD) are in Electrical Engineering and are from Wits. In 1979, he left South Africa and worked in the UK as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), Imperial College, London, and at the GEC-Marconi Research Centre. Over this period, he worked on a number of large software research and development projects.

Barry returned to Wits from the UK as a senior lecturer in 1989. He became a full professor in 2000. In December 2017, he officially retired from Wits and was appointed a professor emeritus. His primary focus over the past 30 years has been the growth and development of the South African software engineering sector.

In 2005, Dwolatzky was the major driver in setting up the Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE) at Wits. The JCSE aims to grow skills, promote the adoption of best practices, and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in South Africa’s digital economy. In 2007, he became Director and CEO of the JCSE.

In 2013, Dwolatzky spearheaded an initiative at Wits to establish a major digital innovation hub in the Braamfontein area of inner-city Johannesburg. Called the “Tshimologong Precinct,” the project has attracted significant support from government and a range of major local and international companies. IBM Research has established their 12th international laboratory in Braamfontein as an integral part of the precinct.

In recognition of his contribution to the South African IT industry, Barry Dwolatzky was named the “South African IT Personality of the Year” in 2013, and received an award for “Distinguished Service to IT” from the Institute of IT Professionals of South Africa (IITPSA) in 2016. Also in 2016, Wits University presented him with the “Vice Chancellor’s Award for Academic Citizenship.”

Beyond the Agile Manifesto – Balancing the Features of Agile and Disciplined Methods

Beyond the Agile Manifesto – Balancing the Features of Agile and Disciplined Methods

The February 2022 tech talk was presented by Jeff Schwalb

Abstract:

The Agile Manifesto’s four tenants and 12 principles describe what the Agile trade-offs mean to a working project. They contain no direction on how to carry out and achieve the stated goals. This comes from what we all know as methods; the step-by-step “how” to make the “what” happen. Many methods already existed at the time of the Agile Manifesto’s inception, and there were passionate conversations and debates on the best method to choose.

One of the most insightful analyses appeared in the 2004 book, “Balancing Agility and Discipline: A Guide for the Perplexed,” by Barry Boehm and Richard Turner. The seemingly opposite attributes of Agility and Discipline are, in reality, complementary values; the key to success is finding the right balance between the two.

This presentation will invite discussion and sharing of stories, data, and experiences using various methods to balance the Agile values and principles. The goal is to strengthen and accelerate our community’s desire to
Balance Agility with the Discipline needed to develop and deliver products Better, Faster, Cheaper!

About the Presenter 

Jeff Schwalb is a computer scientist and has been supporting Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) since 1984. He has over 20 years of experience developing and acquiring real-time embedded software systems for avionics, weapons, and range instrumentation systems. He also began collaborating with the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), learning and applying CMM key practices, becoming a certified Personal Software Process℠ (PSP℠) instructor and then a certified Team Software Process℠ (TSP℠) coach. Over the last 25 years, he has taught and consulted with hundreds of scientists and engineers in various forms of personal engineering processes and has coached dozens of projects in the launch and operations of team project planning and tracking.

In 2017, Jeff connected with the SEI on the establishment of the organization we know today as the Software Excellence Alliance (SEA). Today, Jeff continues to work within the SEA to identify and establish pragmatic, value-added solutions to problems currently affecting the software community. He is currently serving as a member of the SEA Executive Team and as a supporting member of SEA working groups in areas such as Membership, Agile Community Networking, and Knowledge Transfer.

High-Maturity Scrum with the Process Dashboard

High-Maturity Scrum with the Process Dashboard

The October 2021 tech talk was presented by David Tuma

Abstract:

Scrum is a popular Agile development method that enables rapid customer feedback and continuous delivery of value. Earned value is a high-maturity planning technique that helps teams to create realistic plans and meet long-term commitments. This presentation will show how these techniques complement each other, and how teams can use them together to deliver exceptional value to their customers. Practical examples and best practices will be demonstrated using the Process Dashboard, an open-source project management tool.

About the Presenter 

David Tuma

After graduating from MIT in 1994, David Tuma began his software career in the United States Air Force, where he was introduced to the high-maturity Agile concepts in the Team Software Process℠. Impressed with TSP’s power and flexibility, he created (and continues to evolve) an open-source toolset called the Process Dashboard, which has been used by tens of thousands of developers worldwide.

David leads the SEA Next-Gen Tools Working Group as they seek opportunities to change the world of software engineering through broader adoption of high-maturity Agile techniques.