AF gets top CMM rating

The Ogden Air Logistics Center’s Software Engineering Division is now among the
pantheon of software development organizations.

Last month the division at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, received the Level 5 Capability
Maturity Model designation for its software development work. It is the first government
organization to earn the top CMM rating.

Only four companies—Boeing Co., IBM Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Motorola
Inc.—have achieved Level 5. Ogden ALC is now in the ranks of the world’s premier
software engineering organizations, setting a new standard for government software
development, an ALC spokesman said.

The Software Engineering Division develops flight programs and automatic test equipment
for aircraft and weapons systems such as the F-16 Falcon, B-52 bomber, B-1 bomber and the
Minuteman missile. The division has more than 500 employees, 420 of whom are dedicated to
software development and maintenance.

“We started this process in 1991,” said David Putman, head of the software
engineering process group at Ogden. “We were assessed in 1992 at Level 2. From 1995
until now, we’ve gone from Level 3 to Level 5.”

The Air Force in 1991 set a goal for its software organizations to reach Level 3 by
this year.

“Our original strategic plan was going for Level 4,” Putman said. “But
the more we worked on Level 4 and started looking at Level 5 in the future, the more the
two levels seemed to be tied together.”

The five increasing levels of maturity defined in the Capability Maturity
Model—initial, repeatable, defined, managed and optimal—were developed by the
Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. SEI is a federally funded
R&D center sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

“As soon as we did Level 4 software quality management, it didn’t make sense
not to do defect prevention,” Putman said. “Similarly, as soon as we were doing
quantitative project management, it didn’t make sense once we found a problem not to
go into process change management.”

SEI’s assessment of the division’s software engineering processes lasted for
two grueling weeks, Putman said. The assessment team consisted of nine software experts
from SEI, Ogden and Warner Robins ALC at Robins Air Force Base, Ga.

Twice a year, SEI updates its Web site registry of organizations that have achieved CMM
Level 5 compliance. SEI will add Ogden ALC’s Software Engineering Division to the
list when it updates the site in September.

The Ogden division is also the largest software development organization to achieve
SEI’s CMM Level 5, Putman said. It has five branches: the Software Engineering
Process Group, Quality Engineering Software Team, F-16 Avionic Automated Test Equipment
Team, Operational Flight Program and Software Technology Support Center.  


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