Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT January-March 2011 Contents forum for the audience of senior civilian
and military officials from throughout
DOD to discuss contracting challenges
and possible solutions.
Swanson explained that the key to
achieving significant efficiencies while
providing maximum capability to the
warfighter is for government and indus-
try to work together toward that end.
He quoted, in part, a famous excerpt
from President John F. Kennedy's 1962
address on the Nation's space effort:
"We take on important challenges,
'not because they are easy, but because
they are hard; because that goal will
serve to organize and measure the best
of our energies and skills; because that
challenge is one that we are willing to
accept, one we are unwilling to post-
pone, and one which we intend to win,
and the others, too.' "
Swanson said that Raytheon runs
approximately 8,000 programs and
15,000 contracts, and that about 60
percent of its business is conducted
with DOD. He explained that busi-
ness practices such as the IPDS are
used throughout Raytheon's programs.
IPDS is a system of common processes,
reference materials, and training, deploy-
ment, and support resources integrated
into a repeatable, efficient process for
program planning and execution. The
system involves a detailed "gate" process
(see figure on Page 57) to keep programs
on track. "The IPDS process starts long
before the program wins," Swanson
explained. "As soon as we get an idea or
hear something about a new customer
requirement, we ask if we understand it
and if it's worth pursuing [Gate -1]."
The steps up to Gate 4 are aimed at
assessing opportunities, deciding on a
bid, and making sure it is correct and
is likely to be a win. Gate 5 is a start-
up gate. "The program has got to start
the right way, and the best approach is
making sure budgets and staffing are in
place," Swanson said. Gates 6--10 are
similar to DOD Milestones, at which
requirements and design are checked
to ensure readiness for production.
The final gate is Gate 11, transition
and closure, during which contractual
completion is checked and all necessary
disposal, transformation, or retiring of a
system is completed.
Swanson also gave an example of
a program quad chart including
contract background; contract status;
a red, yellow, and green comparison
grid of past, present, and projected
program performance; and program
accomplishments and issues. "One
of my first questions is, 'Does your
customer agree with this chart?' " he
said. "You'd be surprised how many
times I hear, 'no.' I would encourage
to all of you that this is important. Do
we have a joint shared understanding
between us of where we need to go for
ensured success of the program?"
Obstacles to Success
Swanson outlined ways in which pro-
grams can be hindered, as well as how
they can succeed. He explained the
obstacles to success:
• Poor process discipline—a mindset
of "checking the box" versus doing
the work, or skipping steps without
understanding the risk of doing so.
• Not heeding warning signs, such
as not reacting to strained cust-
omer relationships or not acting
on team reviews.
• Lack of change management, i.e.,
constant clarification of program
scope and requirements.
• Inability to compromise.
• Overly optimistic costs, schedules,
and technical capabilities.
Swanson described attributes of a
• A shared vision of success between
customer and contractor, with teams
working in parallel.
• A shared sense of urgency to
• Good leadership.
• Use of key data and metrics to
manage the program. "The earlier
we can identify a problem, the less
it will cost to fix," Swanson said.
• Commitments and solutions that are
• Teams with the ability to discuss
capabilities, not just requirements.
"The programs you and I work on
are about the safety and welfare and
uncompromised capability of our
warfighters," Swanson said. "Our war-
fighters deserve an unfair advantage on
the battlefield. ... We in industry have
an obligation to deliver the promised
performance on cost, on schedule, and
The foundation of a program is really in its integrity,
credibility, and realism of an integrated program. If we don't
have that at the outset, the program is not going to be successful.
The programs you and I work on are about the
safety and welfare and uncompromised capability
of our warfighters. Our warfighters deserve an
unfair advantage on the battlefield.
56 JANUARY--MARCH 2011
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