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"Hal Hart (Hal Hart)" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Fri, 16 May 1997 11:59:19 -0700
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  PANEL PROPOSAL:  "SEPRs  --  Better for Ada Than the Mandate??"

        PANEL MODERATOR:  Hal Hart (TRW; Past Chair of SIGAda)
                Maretta Holden  (Boeing; NRC Ada Study Committee member)
                Others TBD (hh will recruit &/or PC give me recommendations)

PANEL OVERVIEW: The 1996 "Ada and Beyond: Software Policies for the
DoD" study by the National Research Council (NRC) recommended the
implementation of a new major DoD-enforced milestone called the
"Software Engineering Plan Review" (SEPG) for all system acquisitions
and establishment of a SEPR Boards to conduct these reviews in
complete and consistent manners.  An SEPR will simultaneously review
several inter-related software lifecycle and cost decisions that have
a greater overall influence on software capability than does choice of
a particular programming language alone.  Factors to be considered
include system/software architecture, design methods, reuse (including
legacy code impacts), development process, development environment,
programming language, etc.  The SEPR process is intended to help
Government program managers (and possibly contractors) achieve a
best-practices level of decision making for the software engineering
associated with major systems, as well as to assure consideration of
organizational and lifecycle factors.  The NRC committee noted that
analogous holistic software engineering decision processes, sometimes
called "architecture reviews" but encompassing wider scope than that
name literally says, are already standard practice in several
commercial organizations recognized as best-practice leaders.

Although DoD policy makers rejected a separate NRC recommendation that
Ada be retained as a requirement for DoD warfighting systems, the SEPR
recommendation has not only been embraced but has become the single
highlighted point made in new DoD policy being implemented in 1997.
In initiating this policy to totally drop DoD's Ada requirement,
Assistant Secretary of Defense Emmett Paige, Jr., has continually
voiced his intent that the DoD is not giving up on Ada, and his beliefs
that the new policy will help Ada and that correctly done SEPRs will
come to decisions to use Ada more than its "share" of the time.

The objectives of this panel are to:
 (1) present some glimpses and assessments of SEPR-like processes from a couple
     organizations that have already instituted architecture reviews or
     other similar multi-factor software engineering decision processes;
 (2) gather and present evidence reflecting on Ada's prospects of
     thriving in an SEPR-based acquisition climate;
 (3) debate the proposition that SEPRs will eventually be better for
     Ada's fate than the previous policy.

PANELISTS:  generically, a mix will be sought including at least
the following perspectives, presuming that some panelists can
represent more than one of these perspectives:
  o NRC Ada study committee (Maretta Holden has committed to be on the
  o representative(s) from organizations with a history of SEPR-like
    activities (whether or not Ada has actually been a serious candidate
    on the table);
  o a Gov't spokesman who can give an update on SEPR implementation;
  o a proponent of the position that dropping the Ada requirement is
    not in the DoD's and Ada's best interests, considering both Gov't
    contracted and commercial software activities;
  o a proponent of the position that the new policy is in the DoD's
    and Ada's best interests, considering both Gov't contracted and
    commercial software activities, and that SEPRs are part of the reason
    for this optimistic viewpoint.

- - - - - - -

PS:  Those on cc of this message are encouraged to submit to me names
of candidate panelists fitting any of the above quals  --  particularly
I am seeking industry contacts for "Archtecture Review Boards" or other
SEPR-like activities in those companies that have a history of doing
them.  Better yet, companies that also choose to use Ada (at least
sometimes.  :-)