3.1 Success factors and critical lessons learned implementing a repeatable CMMI research-to-operations systems engineering process for NESDIS/STAR

Thursday, 27 January 2011: 1:30 PM
602/603 (Washington State Convention Center)
Philip E. Ardanuy, Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems, Sterling, VA; and K. A. Jensen, W. W. Wolf, M. Goldberg, and A. Powell

Because environmental satellite data are the primary source of information for weather, environmental, and climate change monitoring and prediction, the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS) finds itself on the front line of a critical effort—to provide increasingly accurate, trusted, and numerous products and services. Success hinges on the ability to deliver advanced weather, climate, and environmental services that meet critical national needs, enabled by the information revealed through the exploitation of data and products from new and evolving satellite systems. The challenges surrounding the transition of science and satellite systems from research into operations (“R2O”) are well understood. Yet, even with this understanding, the challenges remain and create a significant impediment to the success of the national environmental remote sensing enterprise.

The R2O transition area is under stress today, challenged by increasing user needs, increasing size and complexity of satellite systems, and perpetual limitations of resources. Unless they are proactively addressed, the R2O challenges will only increase in the next decade, as even larger and more complex systems—NPP, JPSS, GOES-R, and Decadal Survey and climate change missions—come on line. Closing the gap between the vibrant research community and the sister operational systems is fundamental to the formation of a single unified enterprise.

The NOAA/NESDIS Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR) develops a diverse spectrum of complex, often interrelated, environmental algorithms and software systems, using data from a large number of orbiting operational satellites. These systems are developed through extensive research programs, and transitioned from research to operations when a sufficient level of maturity and end-user acceptance is achieved.

A successful four-year joint effort between STAR and Raytheon that targets the improvement of the STAR R2O process is now enabling NESDIS to achieve vital business objectives and increasing responsibilities during this new and challenging era of operational weather and climate products.

This talk describes the development and implementation of the repeatable systems engineering process that assures low-risk transfers of algorithms and code from research to operations, suitably tailored for the NESDIS research-to-operational environment. The solution, called the STAR Enterprise Product Lifecycle (EPL), has been developed, tested and refined on multiple polar-orbiting and geosynchronous programs. The EPL is an 11-step defined process, based on the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) model for development. The process takes a product from initial concept to a developed system ready for delivery to operations. The STAR EPL is compliant with the required goals and expected practices of a CMMI-DEV V1.2 Maturity Level 3 process. EPL v3 is currently being implemented on STAR R2O projects.

This talk reports on the program's implementation status and future plans; we identify the critical lessons learned and success factors based on four years of R2O experience.

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