Boeing Engineering Organizations Earn Top Software Ratings

Two engineering organizations at Boeing Military Aircraft and Missile Systems have earned the highest rating possible from the Software Engineering Institute, or SEI, of Carnegie Mellon University.

The Boeing Software Engineering group in Seattle and the Airlift and Tankers organization in Long Beach, Calif., recently earned SEI Level 5 ratings.

Based on independent authorized assessments conducted in December 2001, the ratings underscore the Boeing commitment to continuously improve processes and reduce cost and cycle time. Only 3 percent of all defense industry software development organizations have earned Level 5 status.

"The real benefit is lower cost and higher quality products for our customers," said Gherry Bender, Boeing Seattle Software Engineering director. "Our goal wasn't just to reach Level 5, but to gain real business value from our process improvement efforts in terms of software quality, cycle-time reduction and increased functionality. With this rating, Boeing customers can be assured they are working with the leading provider of quality avionics solutions."

Q-Labs conducted the assessment of Boeing F-22 fighter aircraft work in Seattle, and The Process Company evaluated C-17 military transport activities in Long Beach. Assessors evaluated management, organizational and technical processes against the SEI Capability Maturity Model.

The processes and the company's history of developing software on cost, on schedule and per specifications earned the Boeing organizations a maturity rating of Level 5. Consistent program performance and development metrics also played key roles.

"We already are incorporating many of the metrics into other company programs such as Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles," Bender added.

Ron Lear, Q-Labs vice president for U.S. operations, said, "Boeing clearly demonstrated Level 5 capability and exhibited outstanding discipline in applying quantitative quality management practices to the software development process."

Engineering groups throughout Boeing Military Aircraft and Missile Systems are making a concerted effort to continuously improve their software development processes, said Gary Motchan, general manager of Software Engineering. Although the U.S. Department of Defense has encouraged defense contractors to achieve a Level 3 rating, "our intention is to go way beyond that," Motchan said.

The Boeing Phantom Works organization in Seal Beach, Calif., achieved a Level 5 rating in 1997. The Boeing Mission Systems group in St. Louis achieved a Level 4 rating in December 2001 for work on the F-15, F/A-18, Harpoon, SLAM-ER and Mission Planning programs.

The SEI is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Department of Defense through the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology.



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