2014 Program Excellence Award

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2014 Program Excellence Award
The Aviation Week Program Excellence Award initiative was developed in 2004 in recognition of the need to develop future program leaders who in addition to facing challenges similar to those of the past, will also have to deal with increasing technical, organizational and business complexities. This effort has resulted in improvements in several key areas, but execution challenges remain. Concurrently, the Department of Defense and NASA have expanded focus on professional development for strategic program leaders. This award process is designed to identify best practices in areas of needed improvement and to celebrate performance accomplishments.
The goal of this initiative is to recognize and promote program excellence in terms of performance, leadership capability, and outstanding lessons that can and will be shared broadly within the aerospace and defense community. By taking part in the submission process, nominees agree to be part of this program to share information.

The criteria for this award are based on the best elements of program/project leadership excellence programs developed by the Strategic Project Leadership Program of the Technological Leadership Institute, the NIST Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards, and the NASA/USRA Center for Program/Project Management Research.

The award will examine four critical areas according to the following framework:

For 2014, the evaluation will also include focus within these four categories on utilization of earned value as a more agile/responsive tool; further risk/issue/opportunity management processes to assure teams address risk and capitalize upon opportunity; understanding of integrating export opportunity into program operation; and innovation in business models, processes, teaming approaches and overall execution. The Evaluation Team will determine finalists and winners on the basis of scores in these four categories. The winner(s) will be featured in Aviation Week & Space Technology and at www.AviationWeek.com, as well as honored at the annual Aviation Week Aerospace & Defense Programs Conference to be held November 19-20 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Entries will be evaluated on the basis of performance for the previous 36 months.
Nominations are encouraged from commercial aerospace, space (commercial and defense), defense and security sectors and should be made in one category only:

  • Sub-System R&D/SDD

  • Sub-System Production

  • Sub-System Sustainment

  • System R&D/SDD

  • System Production

  • System Sustainment

  • Special Projects

In each category and based on meeting a threshold score to be determined by the Evaluation Team, finalists will be chosen on the basis of scoring on Phase 1 and Phase 2 entries and analysis by the Evaluation Team. Aviation Week retains the final responsibility for selection.
The Evaluation Team reserves the right to choose no winners and to name an Overall Winner, if the nominations so warrant, based on the combination of scoring against the criteria, best practices, and game-changing leadership.
2014 Evaluation Team

The Evaluation Team for the 2014 Aviation Week Program Excellence Awards includes:

Michael Bruno, Deputy Managing Editor-Military, Aviation Week

Jean Chamberlin, VP Program Management, Boeing Defense, Space & Security

Ed Hoffman, Chief Knowledge Officer, NASA

Ron Morey, Sr. Director Fixed Wing Solutions, Rockwell Collins

Warren Nechtman, VP Program Management & Business Operations, Honeywell Aerospace

Detra Sarris, Corporate Director of Programs, Northrop Grumman Corp.

Aaron Shenhar, Founder, Strategic Project Leadership

Jesse Stewart, Professor of Program Management, Defense Acquisition University

Jeffrey J. Wilcox, VP Engineering, Lockheed Martin Corp.
Intellectual Property

Note: Individuals outside your company review award submissions. All information submitted should address the program’s management, leadership, and processes, and not any otherwise classified or proprietary topic. Do not include any materials marked Proprietary. All documents will be copied and distributed via the Internet to the aforementioned Evaluation Team and will be considered as public knowledge.
By submitting an entry to the Aviation Week Program Excellence Awards program, you are indicating agreement to participate in outreach efforts to share Lessons Learned/Best Practices in an effort to raise the bar on program leadership across the industry. Entries may be also used for comparative research among programs to draw conclusions and lessons learned across the industry.

Format of Submission

The Program Excellence Awards process involves two phases of evaluation.

Phase 1 – Nominees submit, in narrative format, their perspective on why the program excels and identify the teachable lessons in program execution within the past 36 months (beginning January 2011). The focus in this narrative should be how the program has successfully addressed challenging issues or met seemingly difficult requirements. Note that while the technology involved is an aspect of complexity, the technology itself is not being evaluated – the leadership and execution of the program are being evaluated.

Limit this narrative to four pages, 12 point Times Roman typeface with 1” margins.

  • Include with the narrative a one-page biography of the program leader, including what sets this individual apart as a leader.

  • Identify by name a representative of the program customer, and include phone and email information. Customers will be asked for go/no go decision regarding consideration of this program for the Aviation Week Program Excellence Award.

  • Phase 1 is due April 1, 2014 to chedden1@cox.net / carole.hedden@aviationweek.com

You must use the tabular format provided to submit your nomination form. You should use 12 pt. Times Roman font to fill in the tables. Submit your document as a PDF file.
Upon completion of Phase 1, narratives will be reviewed for “fit for excellence” and qualified nominees will then be provided with the Phase 2 submission form by no later than April 21. The Phase 2 forms will be due June 30, 2014. Finalists and best practices will be identified by no later than September 7.
Submission and Questions

Questions and submissions should be directed to

Carole Rickard Hedden

Project Leader, Aviation Week Program Excellence Initiative

chedden1@cox.net / carole.hedden@aviationweek.com


Phase I Submission

Name of Program: Counter-Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar (C-RAM) Contractor Manning (CCM)

Name of Program Leader: Christopher W. Little

Phone Number: 256-971- 4960

Email: Chris.Little@ngc.com

Postage Address: 915 Explorer Blvd NW, Huntsville, AL 35806

Name of Customer Representative: Brian H. Anderson

Phone Number: 256-876-9104 (O); 256-348-7551 (C)

Email: Brian.H.Anderson.civ@mail.mil

Bio for program leader:

Christopher Little, Program Manager for Northrop Grumman Information System’s Counter-Rocket, Artillery, and Mortar (C-RAM) Contractor Manning (CCM) Program, oversees a program that provides C-RAM Sense and Warn (SnW) system operators that are deployed in support of U.S. and Allied forces overseas. Between 2010 and 2013, CCM trained over 500 Government-certified C-RAM SnW system operators. These operators provided system sustainment (operations and maintenance) that ensured detection and early warning against thousands of indirect fire attacks at 30 U.S. military Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) in Iraq and Afghanistan, with a near perfect warning success rate. The CCM program consistently achieved exceptional ratings in all program performance areas and was regularly recognized by the customer for excellence in mission support, affordability, and innovation. The CCM program was further recognized with the 2012 Northrop Grumman Information Systems President’s Award for Customer Excellence and the 2013 Northrop Grumman Chairman’s Award for Excellence.

Mr. Little, possessing 35 years of program management experience leading a variety of fast-paced organizations in positions of increasing responsibility, is charged with the development, production, testing, and life-cycle support of command and control systems. His leadership and experience continue to strengthen Northrop Grumman’s role in the global security solutions business community. Of particular importance to CCM is his experience and clarity of vision in times of uncertainty and change that encourages and motivates the program team to focus on the key deliverables of providing highly trained operators to meet complex, evolving force protection requirements previously in Iraq and currently in Afghanistan.

Mr. Little joined Northrop Grumman in 2003 as a systems engineer and later served as the Kinetic Energy Interceptor Fire Control and Communications (KFC/C) hardware product manager responsible for the development and delivery of the KFC/C Networks, In-Flight Communications, Shelter and Support Equipment. From 2009 to 2012, he was program manager for the Integrated Base Defense System of Systems, a program to install, support, and sustain tactical automated security systems at FOBs in Iraq and at CONUS-based U.S. Army training centers. He assumed stewardship and leadership of CCM in 2012, a program that developed and used measurement and analysis processes to create value, improve organizational processes, and adapt to the complexities of providing personnel that operate and maintain a high-demand, low-supply system at the end of a 7,400-mile supply chain.

Mr. Little has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech and a Master of Science in Systems Management from the University of Southern California. He came to Northrop Grumman after 23 years of active duty with the U.S. Army. During his military career, Mr. Little served as the Product Manager, Short and Medium Range Ballistic Missile Targets where he was responsible for developing threat representative missiles used as targets for all Missile Defense Agency tests.

Phase I Program Narrative - 1

This (CCM) team is a tremendous asset to our fight here at FOB 130. With the amount of indirect fire we receive, being able to have early warning saves my troopers lives and helps us effectively and accurately target the cells so we can engage them quickly.” – taken from a June 2012 Voice of the Customer (VOC) survey written by a Commander deployed in Afghanistan.

Before Counter-Rocket, Artillery and Mortar (C-RAM), personnel at targeted Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) received no prior warning that could provide the few seconds needed to find shelter from these attacks. To mitigate the effect and terror associated with rocket, artillery, and mortar (RAM) threats, the U.S. Army with Northrop Grumman Information Systems (NGIS) as the key industry partner, designed, developed, and deployed the C-RAM system with an Integrated Logistics Life Cycle that included extensive and detailed training for military personnel designated to operate and maintain the C-RAM Sense and Warn (SnW) system. Due to limitations in the military’s ability to provide skilled soldiers at C-RAM SnW FOBs, the Army solicited competitive proposals to recruit, train, and deploy civilian personnel to operate and maintain C-RAM SnW at multiple FOBs in Afghanistan. NGIS won the $316,030,140 competitive acquisition in 2010 and performed so successfully that the Army has since exercised all option years. This contract is executed by the C-RAM Contractor Manning (CCM) Program.

The CCM program is honored to justify our selection as a candidate for the Aviation Week Program Excellence Award in System Sustainment. Given 60 days after contract start on 31 July 2010 to deploy the initial capability of trained and certified operators, CCM was ready to deploy 19 operators to Afghanistan ahead of schedule on 22 September 2010. CCM reached full-production of operators in January 2011, ahead of schedule. Since inception, the CCM program has trained, certified, and deployed over 500 personnel to operate and maintain the C-RAM SnW system. In October 2011, a contract modification required CCM to provide this same capability at FOBs in Iraq for the Departments of State and Defense during their 24-month mission. In September 2013, we ended the Iraq mission and our team transferred the equipment and duties to Department of State personnel in Iraq, while continuing operations in Afghanistan.

CCM has earned the reputation of being a flag-ship NGIS program. Military leadership describes “CCM operator teams” as “combat multipliers” because we massed teams of highly skilled C-RAM system operators at the right places and times. CCM has made a difference by ensuring nearly perfect, persistent protection at 30 installations for over 75,000 Warfighters throughout Iraq and Afghanistan. Our teams have successfully responded to over 2,500 indirect fire attacks as of 1 April 2014. Additionally, the CCM program consistently earned Exceptional and Very Good ratings for program performance including 15 consecutive Exceptional ratings in Customer Satisfaction. The combination of exceptional contract execution with the laser-like customer focus resulted in the award of a sole-source extension through November 2014, raising the total contract value to $399,439,248.

In the subsequent paragraphs, we explain why CCM is an exceptional System Sustainment Program; and, how program leadership with customer support, implemented an integrated system of Earned Value Management (EVM), risk management, and performance measurement to create value, improve organizational processes, and adapt to the complexities of combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Phase I Program Narrative – 2


Phase I Program Narrative - 3

to the Army. To meet customer requirements, the CCM program established an operator training site in Huntsville, AL capable of producing 240 certified-operators each year. CCM trainers have trained and certified up to 60 people in a single Wave at our training facility in order to meet the discrete milestones established in the Integrated Master Schedule (IMS). The data captured in the IMS ensured that we could accurately forecast the contract’s option years and reduce training execution costs significantly. Because the scope of work included training product development, we applied the cost savings to training product development and are creating value because the CCM training curriculum and tools will be used later by the Army for soldier training.

By leveraging NGIS systems engineering staff, CCM designed and developed innovative training devices and simulations that are excellent examples of value creation. We developed and are implementing innovative computer-based-training products and simulations that enable tailored, just-in-time training based on operator proficiency that will shorten the overall training cycle. These innovations provide a more robust training environment that increases operator confidence because what they experience in training closely replicates what they will experience in Afghanistan. Computer-based training curricula, aided by training devices that replicate actual C-RAM systems within 0.4 % of form and fit, reduces the instructor/trainer manpower requirement by at least 50%. As the training portion of the Life Cycle evolves into a just-in-time model using CCM devices and simulations, the instructor-student ratio of 1:6 could be increased to 1:12 without any decrement in operator performance during training and certification. These conclusions are supported by measurement of operator performance throughout training. Each of the five training modules consists of individual written and hands-on examinations to ensure the operator can perform the operator and maintainer tasks. These scores are maintained in the CCMODb. In order to improve CCM training processes we ask operators in every Wave to evaluate instructors and the curriculum. For example, we used operator evaluations to revise a training module where we experienced statistically significant operator performance variation. We enhanced the module curriculum and instructor ratings improved. Most importantly, student performance increased and reduced operator performance variation among modules.

Clearly, the practice of good program management techniques allowed CCM to capture training development opportunities in a good way. The opportunities were crafted into easily understood “If, Then” statements and measureable capture plans were established and implemented. Again, these opportunities surfaced only because the accurate forecasting and Estimates-at-Complete enabled timely allocation of Management Reserve early and throughout program execution.

The next phase of the CCM Operator Life Cycle is deployment readiness evaluation and deployment. Our military forces are “expeditionary forces” by definition. The contract clauses clearly define medical and administrative readiness requirements for deployment into combat theaters. We flow these requirements to the suppliers in clear and unambiguous terms regarding what must be done and when. We evaluate suppliers in their ability to manage their operators in order to meet these readiness requirements at key milestones. Our effectiveness in measuring and managing operator readiness results in early identification of deployment risks with sufficient time available to resolve them.

Phase I Program Narrative – 4


2014 Aviation Week Program Excellence Initiative

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