Tag Archives: Requirements

Losing Something In Translation Turning Requirements Into Specifications


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Charles M. Court, Ph.D.

Perhaps the reader remembers the comedy routine in which a performer orates a lyrical, emotive passage in a deep, inspiring voice—except the quotation is in some unintelligible language. Another performer asks, “What does that mean in English?” The translation is something like, “The snake fell out of the tree, onto the baby and ate him.” As audience members gasp in revulsion, they hear the punchline, “It loses something in translation.”

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Time Is Money


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Author: Roy L. Wood

Program managers typically focus on controlling costs and delivering a quality product. The acquisition stool’s third leg—program schedule—appears to be a resource that can be slipped to accommodate unstable funding or technical difficulties. Despite studies linking high program cost and long schedules, few major defense acquisition programs are completed in less than a decade. Programs with longer schedules experience further schedule slips, exacerbating the problem. This article is based on research presented at the 2012 Naval Postgraduate School’s 9th Annual Research Symposium. It includes a review of the extant literature on cost and schedule relationships, presents analysis of a survey of program manager perceptions and master schedule usage, and examines why schedules may be problematic to acquisition success.

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Acquisition Program Funding Stability—A Myth


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Author: COL Robert D. Morig, USA (Ret.)

Program stability and funding stability are continuously promoted as key to successful acquisition reform. Funding stability, according to prevailing wisdom, leads to program stability. Unfortunately, the dynamic, evolving, and methodical requirements generation, technology enhancement, and resourcing processes prevalent throughout the Department of Defense (DoD) are not conducive to funding stability. This article discusses results from a survey of financial management practitioners that provide insight into factors that both enable and detract from achieving funding stability. The author presents program stability as a myth in the real world environment where the “norm” is characterized by changing program requirements, technologies, and funding. He further hypothesizes that stability cannot occur without major change in the Planning, Programming, Budgeting and Execution, and Congressional Enactment processes.

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