In September 2010, the NDIA Systems Engineering Division and Practical Software and Systems Measurement (PSM) sponsored a working group to consider these issues and provide recommendations on a set of information needs, leading indicators, and measures for use by both acquirers and suppliers to obtain better insight into program status and risks to aid ongoing communication and to provide input to decision-making at key program milestones and decision points. This task builds upon prior measurement initiatives and consensus guidance (e.g., PSM, the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE), academia), while integrating experience and practices from adopters as a next logical step in maturing common approaches for systems engineering measurement. The task team used the measurement approach described in the PSM guidance (see PSM in Appendix B) and leveraged the content from the Systems Engineering Leading Indicators Guide (see SELI in Appendix B) as a foundation to identify and define a small set of leading indicators that are very useful on most programs during the Technology Development (TD) and the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phases. Though this product is targeted primarily at the NDIA aerospace and defense markets, the results may be broadly applicable into other domains.
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An issue often cited in studies and reports1 is the ineffective use of measures and predictive leading indicators to proactively plan and manage the successful acquisition and execution of defense programs. This is reflected as one of the top NDIA systems engineering issues needing to be addressed2:
Technical decision makers do not have the right information & insight at the right time to support informed & proactive decision making or may not act on all the technical information available to ensure effective & efficient program planning, management & execution.