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The PSM’s Role in Requirements Development

Stable, well-defined requirements are a key ingredient for on-cost, on-schedule delivery of DoD systems and their product support packages. For most development programs, requirements are embodied…

The PSM’s Role in Requirements Development

The PSM’s Role in Requirements Development
Shawn Harrison

Stable, well-defined requirements are a key ingredient for on-cost, on-schedule delivery of DoD systems and their product support packages. For most development programs, requirements are embodied in the Capability Development Document (CDD). From there, they are propagated into the development Request for Proposal (and subsequent contract) and related Government-managed activities. As such, the PSM should ensure product support requirements are sufficiently captured in the CDD.

The 2021 Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System (JCIDS) Manual states, “Early and continuous engagement between the program office and the requirements sponsor during development and review of proposed requirements trades is essential to ensure requirements trades are …technically achievable, affordable, and testable” (Encl A, para 2.9.2.3). What are the key product support inputs to the CDD? At the top of the list is the Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, and Cost (RAM-C) Rationale Report, which “documents the quantitative basis for the Sustainment Key Performance Parameter (KPP).”(JCIDS Manual Encl. B-G-D-6 para 2.5.1)

When reviewing the RAM-C, test assumptions for validity and ensure inputs include a representative sample of logistics data from weapon systems that are effective analogies. Verify manual calculations. Cross-check outputs to ensure they are relevant and appropriate compared to legacy or like systems. Allowing an improperly derived or unachievable sustainment requirement (KPP, Key System Attribute, or Additional Performance Attribute) to “sail through” the coordination process unchallenged often initiates a predictable and painful journey toward failure – over-budget, behind schedule, or worst “unobtanium” (non-delivery). Conversely, a PSM should support reasonable “stretch goals” underpinned by mature technology (verified by market research) or proven process re-engineering (benchmarked against actual results in other programs). The adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies to the CDD and RAM-C. Invest in them and they will pay you and your successors back during execution.