Conference Paper: Enhancing T&E and SE Alignment Using Database Driven Documentation

Title: Enhancing T&E and SE Alignment Using Database Driven Documentation

Publication Date: 10/15/2010

Conference: NDIA 13th Annual Systems Engineering Conference, San Diego, CA, October 2010


With complex system development, creating and maintaining documentation becomes a multifaceted issue. Key Systems Engineering (SE) documents, such as the Systems Engineering Plan (SEP), Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP), Information Support Plan (ISP) and other program related documents, require significant efforts to keep current, and synchronized in an environment where change is constant. This results in the documents becoming obsolete relative to fast moving development activities. Independent development of these documents also causes inconsistencies between related information. These factors lead to document misalignment and lack the potential benefits that could be gained from synchronization between the systems engineering and testing efforts.

In this study; funded by the Department of Defense through the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC); three key artifacts: the SEP, TEMP, and ISP were examined for content commonalities in an attempt to better align planning efforts. A high level dependency structure was created to allow an understanding of the dependencies and correlations between the elements of each of these three SE artifacts. The analysis was conducted as a function of role based information access, efficiency of update and change management, readability and coherence, and information classification.

The proposed approach was to determine key topic areas for each of the documents, and then determine dependencies and correlations between the documents. The topics were classified into three categories. The categories pertain to level of detail and governance of the information to assist in defining dependencies and correlations between the documents. These topic areas were then mapped into the web-based Systems Engineering Toolkit (SET) database foundation to assess the potential for a modular database driven document structure. Database driven documentation can provide a basis for updating multiple documents simultaneously as well as allowing users greater freedom over how program information is presented, enabling programs to maintain living documents with minimal effort.