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Monday, August 7 • 11:30am - 12:00pm
Infusing an Agile Requirements Process in a Large DoD Program (Lymari Castro, Warren Smith) POPULAR

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Unlike commercial Agile practitioners, the Defense sector can rarely restructure their milestones for an Agile approach. The authors show how applying Agile to Systems Engineering (SE) (“Agile SE”) can overcome these constraints. Agile SE is a natural fit within today’s Defense Acquisition Lifecycle, and can therefore bring rapid benefits to one of the largest, most needy areas of development.
This Experience Report presents a case study of a successful Agile SE deployment on a major Defense system. The project used Agile SE to analyze the system requirements and develop requirement backlogs for multiple development teams, in time for the system requirements review (SRR) program milestone. This presentation will dive into the unique adaptation of SCRUM and storyboarding techniques to SE, accomplished with Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) tools, using Systems Modeling Language (SysML) Activity Diagrams and Sequence Diagrams for requirements analysis.
These techniques shook up the organization, and the bumps transforming the culture will be discussed. Ultimately, this approach was embraced and successfully accelerated the SRR milestone by 70%. Topics covered will include the importance and impact of rigid Defense Milestones like the SRR, the characteristics of “Agile SE”, assembling and wrangling the teams, eliminating the review cycle, and the specific Agile MBSE technical storyboard and allocation approaches.
The topics presented in this session are highly applicable to any project that uses a traditional waterfall approach but would like to swiftly adopt Agile in their current Systems Engineering processes. This Experience Report highlights that Agile SE can rapidly inject the benefits of Agile to existing Defense programs, whose IT and system budgets exceed 3x that of than any corporation.
Attendees of this session will learn:
• An overview of the DoD acquisition lifecycle challenges and limitations, and where it could be going
• The characteristics of Agile SE, and its work products
• A real-life case study of how Agile SE teams were assembled, organized and operated
• The MBSE approach, using SysML diagrams for storyboarding and allocation
• How the requirements backlogs were generated and allocated to each development team
The following people can benefit from attending this presentation: Scrum Facilitators or Product Owners, Systems Engineers, Project Engineers, Program Managers, Project Managers, business-capture teams, University Grant applicants, Agile champions, and organization leaders.

Lessons Learned from Your Experience:
  • In this presentation we will share the following lessons learned during the implementation of an agile requirement process in a large DoD program:
  • The specific approach used to apply Agile to Systems Engineering.
  • How developing SE work products in a team/scrum environment was highly efficient. Systems Engineering often has the reputation of being ponderous. As the time savings proves, developing SE work products in a team/scrum environment was a highly efficient approach to Systems Engineering.
  • The importance and practice of management to the effort. An effort such as this requires strong, persistent management support to ensure the various stakeholders remain engaged. This included tweaking the team based on team member’s knowledge, participation, etc.
  • The necessary skill set. The skill set of the facilitators was also key to success. These Systems Engineers needed to be part methodologist, part tool jockey, part diplomat and part politician, with an inexhaustible supply of energy during the concentrated effort.
  • Eliminating the review cycle. One major advantage anticipated at the beginning was eliminating the need to review the work products. By having all stakeholders involved in the effort: the end-users, the recipients of the requirements, the customer procuring the system, we demonstrated that this was indeed the case.


avatar for Lymari Castro

Lymari Castro

Systems Engineer, DoD
Lymari is a Systems Engineer at DoD. She is an Agile Systems Engineering subject matter expert at her organization. In her 14 years at DoD, she has been the Lead Systems Engineer of a DoD Major Systems Acquisition Program, Technical Director, Lead of the Systems Engineering Development... Read More →
avatar for Warren Smith

Warren Smith

Sr. Principal Systems Engineer, General Dynamics
My passion is vastly increasing Engineering Productivity through Agile Systems Engineering, MBSE and Engineering Re-Use Libraries.Improvements over 300% have been measured using Re-Use libraries and Agile SE using MBSE. Warren B. Smith is a Sr. Principal Systems Engineer at General... Read More →

Monday August 7, 2017 11:30am - 12:00pm EDT
Wekiwa 1&2