Change Management Is Critical for Future Proofing Your Test Program Set

For those depending on a Test Program Set (TPS) software as part of their Automated Test System (ATS), preventing premature obsolescence is critical for mitigating risk and keeping the system running. While interrogating technical choices is critical, don’t underestimate the power of personnel management as a tool for future proofing. Personnel obsolescence can be just as detrimental as technical obsolescence.

For many companies, the TPS software development team is small; the “team” might be one person—maybe even a software hero. They may save the day by resolving a critical production issue with a short-term solution, but they’re not always concerned about the long-term implications of a quick fix. A software hero is more likely to treat the symptoms of the problem without addressing the root cause.

These individuals are at risk of becoming information gatekeepers; gatekeepers don’t have a habit of sharing knowledge freely, and this structure inflates their perceived value. To avoid this scenario, organizations need to apply strategies for information management that build a collaborative work environment, employ TPS Style guides and TPS Coding standards, and avoid one person keeping critical knowledge.

Establishing a management plan that defines all TPS software development tasks (i.e., configuration management, test methods, verifying fault detection and isolation requirements, etc.) is equally important. To mitigate risk, the team should commit to tracking revisions for all documentation. This practice is useful for the whole team and minimizes data loss amidst staff reassignments and departures.  

Finally, leverage peer review. Everyone benefits from team feedback, regardless of their experience and expertise. It provides a platform for the team to learn from each other and encourages accountability when it comes to standard operating procedure. How does this future proof TPS software? Peer review ensures that all developers are working towards the same goal and supporting each other.  

For more information about future proofing the entire lifecycle of TPS software, read our latest white paper, Future Proofing DoD Test Program Set Software.

David R. Carey Ph.D., Principal Engineer at Hiller Measurements, is an internationally recognized expert and contributor in the Automatic Test Equipment community. Prior to Dr. Carey’s position at Hiller Measurements, he held the position of Chief of the Automated Test Equipment Development and Support Branch at Tobyhanna Army Depot and Department Chair of Electrical Engineering and Physics at Wilkes University. Dr. Carey has published numerous articles and papers on Automated Test Systems and Test Program Set development. In addition, he instructs graduate and undergraduate courses that specifically address Automatic Test and related disciplines. Dr. Carey received his PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY.