Several Department of Defense (DOD) components have software and systems process improvement (SPI) programs that are aligned closely to the best practices embodied in the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) IDEAL model and thus provide excellent examples of SPI. Elsewhere in DOD, however, such programs are lacking. Where they do exist, these programs are being credited with producing higher quality software and systems products faster and at less expense, whether managed in a centralized or decentralized fashion. The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) has an important leadership role to play in expanding SPI across the department. In particular, it can seize opportunities to build upon and leverage the existing base of SPI programs within DOD's components and help ensure that all of its components realize the strategic value (i.e., benefits that exceed costs) that both private and public-sector organizations, including some DOD components, attribute to these programs. Although OSD faces funding choices among competing leadership initiatives, such as its efforts to conduct software acquisition maturity assessments and collect software metrics, these are some of the very tasks that are embedded within an effective SPI program. Thus, by ensuring that DOD components have effective SPI programs, OSD can leverage programs to indirectly accomplish its other high-priority initiatives as well.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Defense||1. To strengthen DLA, Marine Corps, and Navy software and systems development, acquisition, and engineering processes, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Director of Defense Logistics Agency, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Secretary of the Navy to establish SPI programs where this report shows none currently exist. In so doing, these officials should consider following the best practices embodied in the SEI IDEAL model and drawing from the experiences of the Army, Air Force, Defense, and some Navy units.|
|Department of Defense||2. Further, to strengthen DOD-wide SPI, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Command, Controls, Communications, and Intelligence, in collaboration with the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, to (1) issue a policy requiring DOD components that are responsible for systems/software development, acquisition, or engineering to implement SPI programs and (2) develop and issue SPI guidance and, in doing so, consider basing this guidance on the SEI IDEAL model and the positive examples of SPI within the Army, Air Force, DFAS, and some Navy units cited in this report.|
|Department of Defense||3. The Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary for Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence to (1) annually determine the components' compliance with the SPI policy and (2) establish and promote a means for sharing SPI lessons learned and best pratices knowledge throughout DOD.|