When developing new software, it is common to pursue a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) rather than a mature and fully fleshed-out application at the initial launch. But when it comes to developing technology for websites, large-scale databases, healthcare devices and the like where software failure can have dire consequences, products need to be mature and fully tested before applying them in the real world.
Technology management teams, developers, and engineers rely on the technology maturing process phase of a project to ensure their applications are release-worthy. This type of strategic management of technology and innovation is not only useful to minimize risk but also to determine an appropriate set of technologies that can be integrated into a full system1.
Though each project’s exact technology maturation phase may differ, the key steps share the same end goals and include the same core approach of prototype iteration to validate designs and cost estimates, while ensuring project requirements are met and that the product is fully functional. These key steps include:
Get clearance for testing.
Whether your company requires a Live-Fire Test and Evaluation Waiver2 or other formalized procedure to kick off testing, get this taken care of first to ensure that your tech team is cleared for testing.
Implement a Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP).
Supporting milestone decisions during individual project phases, this critical step integrates and identifies planned Test and Evaluation requirements with acquisition strategy. TEMP also documents the Test and Evaluation program through an entire project cycle; identifies personnel, funding, and support requirements; and satisfies user requirements. Developers should test before and after the system is released and undergoes configuration management. Tests done before release include peer reviews and unit tests while tests done after range from integrations and system testing to acceptance and operational testing3.
A risk assessment should be performed to identify any potential hazards and assess the effects these hazards might have. Start this step by looking for any weaknesses or vulnerabilities. Depending on the hazard risk level, it may be a good idea to create a mitigation strategy4 next to reduce potential damage.
Create a Systems Engineering Plan.
This Systems Engineering Plan (SEP) is a living document to detail current and evolving strategy. It also details a system’s relationship with program management effort—how the systems engineering process is applied and tailored to meet objectives. Being a living document, the SEP should also detail the process and criteria for making updates5.
Create a Program Protection Plan (PPP).
The PPP is used to guide and integrate all protection efforts, which includes denying access to unauthorized personnel and preventing technology disclosures6. A technology project manager often approves this document before it is published.
Develop Technology Readiness Assessment (TRA).
If working for the military, TRA guidelines are a crucial part of the technology maturation process. These guidelines are made up of a metrics-based process and an accompanying report, which assesses the maturity level of hardware or software necessary for military systems to meet operational requirements7. Though TRA guidelines are sometimes vague, it’s important to understand how they play a role in technological development and maturation.
Validate System Support and Maintenance Objectives and Requirements.
Software maintenance enables modifications to be made to a product to correct faults or improve performance and ensure that the product meets project objectives. This step involves bug fixes as well as addressing user-submitted issues that may arise.
Learn more about the technology maturation process and what it takes to lead a team of developers to project completion by pursuing a master’s in Technology Management. Request more information about our online program, or begin the application process today.