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Raytheon adopts tech-startup processes for OCX

Raytheon plans to deliver the final phase of the GPS Ground Control System (OCX) upgrade to the United States Air Force by June 2021, despite past delays to the program.

A report by the General Accountability Office (GAO), issued in May, said the Air Force has yet to develop full cost estimates for the new ground system, as well as the user equipment needed to access the expanded capabilities of GPS III.

In the report, the GAO recommended that the Department of Defense (D0D) conduct an independent schedule assessment of the full program schedule at the end of 2019. DOD did not agree with the recommendation.

“OCX delivery, acceptance, and the ready to transition to operations decision will likely be delayed, potentially exceeding the April 2023 threshold date for completing the program,” the GAO report said.

However, Raytheon said Oct. 1 that it had completed software and hardware development and has started testing and integrating the system, keeping it on track to meet its contractual deadline.

In an Oct. 1 Denver Post article, David Wajsgras, president of Raytheon’s Intelligence, Information and Services business, said Raytheon has changed its process for the OCX upgrade by adopting less-traditional tech startup development processes.

The new process —now in action at Raytheon’s Aurora, Colorado, campus — emphasizes collaboration across teams and has a less linear structure.

“I’d call it almost a 180 from the way we had developed software in the past, from the traditional way for the Department of Defense,” Wajsgras told the Post.

“A few years ago the GPS OCX program was considered the No.1 problem program in the entire Department of Defense,” Wajsgras acknowledged. “Our team truly stepped up to the challenge of what needed to be done in order to get one of the most important programs for U.S. government back on track.”

DOD’s Defense Digital Service helped the company apply an “agile” approach to “DevOps” (development and operations) that stresses collaboration across teams as well as flexibility.

The new process includes “dojos,” centers for focused, quick training, and “hives,” open workspaces without cubicle walls.

Read more here.

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