By Ryan Keith, AMRDEC Public AffairsAugust 11, 2014
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (August 11, 2014) -- The Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center, in collaboration with the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Project Office, has developed a tool to assist government teams managing thousands of user requirements.
The Requirement Analysis Program Team Redstone, or RAPToR, is a Microsoft Excel-based tool that imports data from proprietary software and provides a series of analyses, metrics, traces and views for users to review and track requirements in a common, accessible interface. RAPToR itself began with user requirements.
"It is not uncommon for good ideas to form during times of necessity," Brandon Payne, the RAPToR program manager, said. "This was precisely the case for the Integrated Air and Missile Defense Program Office in 2010 following a successful Milestone B decision. As an Acquisition Category, or ACAT, 1 program, IAMD began the journey of requirements development and management that required review and analysis of more than 8,000 requirements in order to produce a high-quality baseline."
The IAMD team began by using a commercial software application for requirements management. The application, however, required significant training and resources.
"Most programs have few staff trained in these software programs, which leaves much of the team on the periphery of requirements analysis," Payne said. "Limited resources of the IAMD Project Office -- including manpower, software, time and funding -- prompted tackling the problem in a clever fashion."
The project office sponsored a Lean Six Sigma black belt effort, managed by Carla Auchterlonie, to identify opportunities for improvement. The effort culminated with the development of RAT, a requirement analysis tool designed specifically for IAMD. RAT provided a bridge between commercial software, in this case IBM's Dynamic Object Oriented Requirements System, and a broad user group utilizing Microsoft Excel.
"Given the simplicity and strength of the tool, it was shared with the prime contractor, which significantly improved the quality of products," Payne said.
Soon other organizations across Redstone Arsenal began to make inquiries and explore options for an enterprise-wide solution. In 2013, a team of AMRDEC engineers from the Engineering, Software Engineering and Technical Management Directorates, in collaboration with the IAMD Project Office, began to re-architect RAT for broader application and users. In January the team released RAPToR.
RAPToR is a Microsoft Excel-based tool that imports requirement data from a source, such as DOORS, a Microsoft Word document or another Microsoft Excel file. It provides a series of analyses, metrics, traces, and views, including custom metrics that are not standard to other requirement analysis applications. It also identifies areas needing attention or correction, such as verbiage, missing parent-child relationships, version changes and trace reviews.
"RAPToR provides time saving benefits for requirements developers, systems engineers, test engineers, safety and quality engineers, product managers, prime contractors and the user community," Payne said. "Along with being able to integrate into new programs more quickly, RAPToR has an architecture that allows new and custom functionality to be created for program offices based on particular demands. It provides a more mobile way to access requirements, since a network connection is not needed after it has completed analysis. It has proven to save time and enhance the requirement management process by providing a quick and effective way to review and track requirements."
As a Government-owned solution, RAPToR is available to requesting programs at no expense. AMRDEC's Engineering Directorate will also provide initial training and installation support free of charge. For information, email RAPToRProgram@amrdec.army.mil.
The Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.
RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.