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Updated 29 Oct 1999

CSC SEAS Center's Experiences to Attaining Level 5
Thursday, October 7, 1999

Description
Presenter
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CSC SEAS Center's Experiences to Attaining Level 5

In November 1998 the Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) SEAS Center achieved the rating of CMM Level 5 and became only the sixth organization in the world to have ever attained that goal. The Capability Maturity Model (CMM) is a worldwide recognized benchmark of process maturity for software organizations and is used by potential clients to assess the quality of an organization's software process. The SEAS Center comprised approximately 750 to 1000 personnel supporting systems engineering, software development, and analysis for NASA. During the years of continually improving the processes toward the goal of attaining the Level 5 rating, detailed information was recorded, tracked, and analyzed so that subsequent efforts by other CSC organizations could benefit from the experiences of the SEAS Center.

The experiences recorded included: cost, time and effort required to attain varying levels of maturity; major concepts of improvement that worked and did not work; which process elements were the most difficult to address, and why; roles and responsibilities of various staff and organizations; what was the impact of improved process maturity on the software products; and, what are the top most critical lessons that any organization could leverage.

Presenter

Frank McGarry, CSC

Mr. Frank McGarry is a 'Senior Member of the Executive Staff' at CSC in Lanham, Maryland. He joined CSC in 1994 and is responsible for leading the overall software process activities for the SEAS Center staff supporting NASA/Goddard. He was instrumental in the achievement of the SEAS Center's attainment of CMM Level 5. The approach and general concepts of process improvement applied at the SEAS Center have since then been propagated to additional CSC programs.

Before joining CSC, Mr. McGarry spent his entire professional career at NASA/Goddard where he most recently had been the head of the Software Engineering Branch. In that capacity, he had been responsible for the software development and analysis of all flight dynamics systems for Goddard flight projects. He had directed the implementation of over 75 major software systems which successfully supported approximately 40 NASA flight missions.

In 1976, Mr. McGarry initiated efforts to create a software research facility within NASA/Goddard for the purpose of studying and advancing start-of-the-art techniques for software and systems development. This facility, called the Software Engineering Laboratory (SEL), grew into an internationally recognized research facility combining the talents of NASA/Goddard, the University of Maryland, and CSC. Since its inception, the SEL has carried out over 100 major software experiments which have resulted in many advances in the overall understanding and 'engineering' of the software development process. These studies resulted in the generation of specific techniques, models, and automated tools for software development and management at NASA/Goddard as well as at other software intensive organizations. In 1994, the SEL was named as the winner of the premier award for 'Software Process Achievement' offered jointly by IEEE and the SEI.

Currently, Mr. McGarry is responsible for expanding the concepts and benefits of the SEL process improvement approach to a broader spectrum within CSC and its affiliates.

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C-SPIN: Chicago Software Process Improvement Network
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