Guest viewpoint: Contractors need to adopt next-generation requirements-management technology

By Philip C. Deck

WATERLOO, Ontario, 1 March 2008.According to the National Defense Industrial Association, a new imperative emerging from the global war on terrorism is the increased demand for rapid response to changing threats. The good news is that efficiencies made possible by proven advances in requirements technology now put military and aerospace electronics contractors in a better position to help customers meet this imperative. Contractors can benefit today from adopting the next generation of requirements-management technology.

The first-generation requirements management technology presents a challenge: it is not designed to provide the increased level of visibility and traceability that contractors require to be in lockstep with the new thresholds of efficiency, speed, and flexibility that customers demand.

These tools were designed to serve business analysts. They are integrated with distinct silo lifecycle management tools and they are disconnected from the development process. As a result, data does not flow smoothly between the analysts who generate the requirements, the software developers who build the end product, the project managers who must review the whole effort, senior management who need certain key metrics to make decisions, and customers who must approve the work in progress.

This prevents analysts, developers, projects leaders, executives, and customers from accurately knowing the impact requirements changes have on other development areas and from determining whether dynamically changing requirements have been fully met. Costly gaps in communications may occur between these different roles and may leave customers worrying about the contractor's ability to deliver more against the new response time imperative. The consequences of mishaps can be significant in the war against terrorism.

Relief in sight

In contrast, the next generation of requirements-management technology solves this challenge head on. It is suited for military and aerospace electronics organizations. Its aim is to provide one unified response for managing requirements in direct relationship to all downstream development, quality assurance, and deployment phases of the lifecycle. So, it is a win-win for military and aerospace contractors and their customers as new efficiencies can percolate enabling these players to enhance their rapid response time.

The question is: how do military and aerospace electronics organizations know whether they need this type of technology? The answer is simple. They notice that they have outgrown their existing requirements-management technology. It no longer accommodates their expanding needs to deal with mammoth complexity in managing a huge number of dynamically changing requirements at the enterprise-level in tandem with other development efforts. This situation is an invitation to potential gaps and problems in delivering smoothly against the customer's vision.

The next generation requirements-management technology counters these obstacles and works this way: it sits in an advanced unified platform designed to remove the problem of silos and associated risks in implementing requirements management, change management, software configuration management, test management, and release management. In this platform, all these capabilities are engineered in concert by design so that each role in the lifecycle can be made more efficient and productive as silos are knocked down and communications gaps are eliminated across the lifecycle.

The advantage the next generation of requirements-management technology provides over the less advanced tools is that it fosters a flexible and secure data model for system development, forging data level connections, and improving collaboration, traceability and visibility across the lifecycle.

In environments that put the next generation of requirements-management technology to work for them, analysts, developers, testers, and release managers can collaborate more effectively via one holistic platform characterized by a unified interface and a common process.

For example, analyst, development, quality, and operations teams can collaborate using one lifecycle-management platform for requirements capture, traceability, change management, and management of development, testing, and deployment tasks.

Specifically, analysts can determine the impact of a proposed change by reviewing the status of all work in progress to implement the requirement. Development teams are automatically notified of any requirements change and update. And, project managers can assess the impact of change, as it occurs, within reused assets.

With advanced requirements change management, program managers can assess the ripple effect of changing requirements specifications and the impact of change on schedules and costs, development tasks, and testing efforts thanks to accurate metrics provided by platform.

In addition, senior management gain a connected view into all phases of development projects via powerful querying, charting, reporting, and dash boarding capabilities.

Customer relationships are enhanced this way because the technology fosters a seamless, real-time flow of requirements data between requirements producers and consumers, and allows traceability through every stage of the development process.

As a result of more effective collaboration and communication, new efficiencies can be gained across the board: in saving time and in lowering costs as well as in predicting more accurately costs and project schedules. All these advantages can help customers better meet their response time goals.

There is yet another area where the next-generation requirements-management technology can make a difference to military and aerospace contractors and their customers. These platforms allow contractors to more dynamically reuse requirements and sets of requirements and this portability from project to project is done via the application of change and configuration management principles to the requirements management discipline. This enables teams to easily keep track of the different versions of requirements and all the changes made to them, to link them to all the tests that must be completed across the lifecycle, and to go back to previous versions for re-use as appropriate.

With requirements configuration management, military and aerospace electronics contractors can save valuable time and money because they do not need to reinvent the wheel on contract bidding and software development processes. Instead, they can leverage pre-existing individual requirements, or sets of requirements, to streamline the bidding process, to quick start programs, and to deliver programs with greater efficiency and effectiveness.

This puts contractors in a better position to achieve new levels of competitiveness in bidding and in developing software for a wide variety of defense aircraft and systems, in real-time, absorbing and remaining in lock step with the many variances in specifications, U.S. national defense rules, and regulations in today's aerospace and defense sector.

Philip C. Deck is chairman and chief executive officer MKS Inc. in Waterloo, Ontario, an application lifecycle management (ALM) provider. Contact the company online at

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

SBC-K7 Embedded PC for Instrumentation and Control

The SBC-K7 is an ideal platform for embedded instrumentation that combines an Atom PC running Win...

Rugged Mobile Communications Server

Advanced communications server designed to be deployed in environments where it needs to meet cer...

RR2P Removable Canister RAID System

Transportable data storage for mobile field use aboard planes, ships and ground transport. 2U, du...

M4U20xx 4U Rackmount Military-Grade Computer

A 4U rugged military-grade computer offering the latest long-availability high-performance mother...

TFX-19 Trifold Rackmount LCD

The TFX1-19 is a rugged military grade high performance 2U rackmount LCD panel display offering t...

CCXR-17 Slideways Side Access Rackmount LCD Keyboard

The CCXR-17 is a unique Side Access space-efficient military-grade high-performance 1U rackmount ...

P317xx Portable Computer System w/ Three 17" LCDs

The P317xx portable " lunchbox" system is unique in offering three 17" 1280x1024 resolution LCD d...

Sensors Unlimited GA1280JSX High Resolution, Mil-Rugged, Extended High Sensitivity InGaAs SWIR Camera

Manufactures a high resolution, mil-rugged, extended high-sensitivity 0.9 Mpixel InGaAs SWIR came...

M1U20xx 1U Military-Grade Computer System

The M1U20xx Military-Grade Rack Mount System is a reliable high-performance mil-spec 1U solution ...

Large Fiber Collimators

Diffraction Limited Large Fiber Collimators are designed for long distance beam propagation with ...

Related Companies

Innovative Integration

  Since 1988, Innovative Integration has grown to become one of the world's leading suppliers of DSP and data ac...

Elma Electronic Inc

Who we are...   About Elma Electronic Systems   The Systems division of Elma Electronic Inc. supplies the

Winchester Systems Inc

At its founding in 1981, Winchester Systems introduced its first 5 MB disk system for Intel development system users....

Extreme Engineering Solutions Inc (X-ES)

 Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc. (X-ES) is a leader in the design, manufacture, and support of standard and ...

American Infrared Solutions (AIRS)

American Infrared Solutions

GE Intelligent Platforms

GE Intelligent Platforms is a leading global provider of embedded computing systems and modules for a wide range of a...

Raycom Electronics

Raycom Electronics, Inc., a subsidiary of Electro Technik Industries (ETI), was incorporated in 1965.  The compa...

Trenton Systems Inc

Designs and manufactures rugged rackmount computers and MIL-STD-810 systems using both standard COTS as well as custo...

Intersil Corp

Intersil is leveraging a deep portfolio of intellectual property, a history of design and process innovation and a sy...
Wire News provided by   

Press Releases

One Component, Snap Cure Epoxy Features High Strength Properties

Suitable for a variety of applications in the electronic, aerospace and OEM industries, Master Bond EP3SP5F...

One Part Epoxy Resists up to 500°F and Meets NASA Low Outgassing Specifications

Master Bond Supreme 12AOHT-LO is a one component epoxy for a variety of bonding and sealing applications in...

Low Viscosity, One Part Cyanoacrylate Is Non-Toxic and Meets ISO 10993-5 Specifications

Master Bond MB250NT is widely used for a variety of applications ranging from repair to high speed producti...

Thermally Conductive, Two Component Epoxy Passes USP Class VI Tests and ISO 10993-5 Specifications

With biocompatibility and cytotoxicity certifications, Master Bond EP21AOLV-2Med is often selected for bond...


Curtiss-Wright Corporation’s Defense Solutions division applauds Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) o...

Curtiss-Wright’s New Rugged Mobile IP Router Subsystem Features an Integrated Cisco® 5915 ESR Router

Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division, a Cisco® Systems Solution T...

VICTORY Shared Processing, Fire Control Computer, and Switch for Ground Vehicles Introduced by Curtiss-Wright

Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has introduced a new fully i...

GE Announces First Sub-Credit Card-Sized Multi-Function High Definition (HD) Video Tracker

HUNTSVILLE, AL.— OCTOBER 13, 2014—GE’s Intelligent Platforms business today announced at AUSA (October 13-...


Meeting the Gen3 backplane challenge with OpenVPX and COTS

Tight Pentagon budgets mean military systems must stay in the field for longer than ever before. This doesn't mean obsolete technology, however. Today's military electronics are being upgraded constantly, an...
Sponsored by:

Design Strategy Considerations for DO-178C Certified Multi-core Systems

Join Wind River to learn how system architecture and design choices can minimize your DO-178C certification challenges.

Sponsored by:

Flying, Sailing or Driving - The Rugged, Embedded Intel-based Server that goes where you need it!Flying Sailing or Driving

Leveraging the power of server-class processors is no longer relegated to the confines of data centers. Through several innovations, Mercury Systems has ruggedized Intel’s server-class chips for deployment. ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors

Mil & Aero Magazine

May 2015
Volume 26, Issue 5

Download Our Apps




Follow Us On...


Military & Aerospace Electronics

Weekly newsletter covering technical content, breaking news and product information

Cyber Security

Monthly newsletter covering cyber warfare, cyber security, information warfare, and information security technologies, products, contracts, and procurement opportunities

Defense Executive

Monthly newsletter covering business news and strategic insights for executive managers

Electronic Warfare

Quarterly newsletter covering technologies and applications in electronic warfare, cyber warfare, optical warfare, and spectrum warfare.

Embedded Computing Report

Monthly newsletter covering news on embedded computing in aerospace, defense and industrial-rugged applications

Unmanned Vehicles

Monthly newsletter covering news updates for designers of unmanned vehicles

Our Tweets from AUVSI 2015