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

Get All the Military Aerospace Electronics News Delivered to Your Inbox or Your Mailbox

Subscribe to Military Aerospace Electronics Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest information on:

  • C4ISR
  • Cyber Security
  • Embedded Computing
  • Unmanned Vehicles

Military & Aerospace Photos

Most Popular Articles

Related Products

XPand6020 | Small Form Factor (SFF) System Featuring XPedite5205 Running Cisco IOS® and XPedite7450

The XPand6020 is a Small Form Factor (SFF) system that features an XPedite5205, which runs Cisco ...

XPand1400 Series | Development Platform For XPand6000 Series, X-ES COM Express® Modules, and PMC/XMC Modules

The XPand1400 Series COM Express Development Platform targets the X-ES Small Form Factor (SFF) XP...

XPedite5205 | Embedded Services Router (ESR) with Cisco IOS® on an XMC/PMC Module

The XPedite5205 XMC/PMC-based Embedded Services Router (ESR) router runs Cisco IOS® Software with...

XPedite7530 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U CompactPCI Module

The XPedite7530 is a high-performance 3U CompactPCI single board computer that is ideal for rugge...

XChange3013 | 3U VPX Gigabit Ethernet Switch with Optional Layer 2 Switching and Layer 3 Routing Management Support

The XChange3013 is a conduction- or air-cooled, 3U VPX Ethernet switch module. The XChange3013 pr...

XPand3200 Series | Sub-½ ATR, Conduction-Cooled Systems Supporting Conduction-Cooled Modules

The XPand3200 Series redefines the limits of power, performance, and functionality in a sub-½ ATR...

XPedite5401 | Freescale Eight-Core P4080 Conduction-Cooled PrPMC/XMC Module with Two GbE Ports

The XPedite5401 is a high-performance PrPMC/XMC, single board computer supporting Freescale QorIQ...

XPedite7570 | 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 Broadwell-H Processor-Based Conduction- or Air-Cooled 3U VPX-REDI Module

The XPedite7570 is a high-performance, 3U VPX-REDI, single board computer based on the 5th genera...

XChange3018 | 3U VPX 10 Gigabit Ethernet Switch with Optional Layer 2 Switching and Layer 3 Routing Management Support

The XChange3018 is a conduction- or air-cooled, 3U VPX, 10 Gigabit Ethernet switch module. The XC...

XPand4200 Series | ½ ATR Lightweight Forced-Air-Cooled Chassis for Conduction-Cooled Modules

The XPand4200 Series redefines the limits of power, performance, and functionality in a sub-½ ATR...

Related Companies

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc

GA-ASI is a leading manufacturer of proven, reliable Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-opt...

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions

About Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions (CWDS) is a long established techno...


Offers complete solutions for embedded software developers with a focus on mission- and safety-critical applications....

DiCon Fiberoptics Inc

Offers fiber optic switches, tunable filters, and VOAs. Founded in 1986, the company is a US based, AS9100 certified,...

Harris Corporation

Harris provides advanced, technology-based solutions that solve government and commercial customers' mission critical...

United Electronic Industries Inc

UEI is a leader in the PC/Ethernet data acquisition and control, Data Logger/Recorder and Programmable Automation Con...

Crane Aerospace & Electronics

When failure is NOT an option...rely on Crane Aerospace & Electronics. We supply high-density, high-reliability c...


Signal integrity leaders and preferred vertically integrated manufacturer of high-performance electrical and electron...

AcQ Inducom

Develops and produces non-certified and certified high-tech modular hardware- and software solutions for on-board and...

Advanced Conversion Technology Inc

ACT designs and manufactures, since 1981, an extensive range of AC-DC and DC-DC power supplies (switching, linear, ra...
Wire News provided by   

Press Releases


Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has received a contract from Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to supply its small form factor ...

Innovative Integration Announces the FMC-Servo

Camarillo, CA June 19, 2015, Innovative Integration, a trusted supplier of signal processing and data acquisition hardware and software solutions, today announced the FMC-S...


Curtiss-Wright Corporation today announced that its Defense Solutions division has further enhanced its innovative VRD1 high definition (HD) video management system (VMS) w...


Harsh Environment Protection for Advanced Electronics and Components

This webinar will offer an opportunity to learn more about ultra-thin Parylene conformal coatings – how they are applied, applications they protect today, and the properties and benefits they offer, includin...

New Design Tools That Help You Develop Radar That Sees the Un-seeable and Detects the Undetectable

Xilinx EW/ISR System Architect, Luke Miller, has new tricks and he’s going to tell you all about them in a new Xilinx Webinar—for free. His Webinar will cover new ways to implement Radar functions including ...
Sponsored by:

All Access Sponsors

Mil & Aero Magazine

June 2015
Volume 26, Issue 6

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