26 July 2016 Revisiting software specification and design for large astronomy projects
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Abstract
The separation of science and engineering in the delivery of software systems overlooks the true nature of the problem being solved and the organization that will solve it. Use of a systems engineering approach to managing the requirements flow between these two groups as between a customer and contractor has been used with varying degrees of success by well-known entities such as the U.S. Department of Defense. However, treating science as the customer and engineering as the contractor fosters unfavorable consequences that can be avoided and opportunities that are missed. For example, the “problem” being solved is only partially specified through the requirements generation process since it focuses on detailed specification guiding the parties to a technical solution. Equally important is the portion of the problem that will be solved through the definition of processes and staff interacting through them. This interchange between people and processes is often underrepresented and under appreciated. By concentrating on the full problem and collaborating on a strategy for its solution a science-implementing organization can realize the benefits of driving towards common goals (not just requirements) and a cohesive solution to the entire problem. The initial phase of any project when well executed is often the most difficult yet most critical and thus it is essential to employ a methodology that reinforces collaboration and leverages the full suite of capabilities within the team. This paper describes an integrated approach to specifying the needs induced by a problem and the design of its solution.
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Scott Wiant, Scott Wiant, Steven Berukoff, Steven Berukoff, } "Revisiting software specification and design for large astronomy projects", Proc. SPIE 9913, Software and Cyberinfrastructure for Astronomy IV, 99131P (26 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2233544; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2233544
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