CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

Anatomy of A Software Maintenance Training Program

Date of Award

1988

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Science

Department

Center for Computer-Based Learning

Advisor

Thomas MacFarland

Committee Member

John A. Scigliano

Committee Member

Jacques Levin

Committee Member

Mientje Levin

Committee Member

Thomas MacFarland

Abstract

The process of doing the software training portion of a large complex command and control system under government contract was traced from the initial advertisement to completion of formal training. The Royal Thai Air Defense System (RTADS) contract, as viewed from the perspective of the software training manager, was used as the vehicle for describing the development and delivering a software maintenance training program.

The early aspects of the contracting process were reviewed in general terms from the initial public announcement to the contract award. Emphasized, was the need for thorough analysis of the request for proposal (RFP), the system specification, and references included in both. Each included reference could lead to further references and failure to examine all such references could result in underestimating the amount of work needed to complete the contract. Such a failure could result in not bidding enough money to do the job within the proposed schedule.

Once the contract was awarded, the processes involved in doing the project were described. These included acquiring and training the necessary staff; analyzing the project needs; coordinating with subcontractors; developing the training and training equipment plan (TTEP); developing budgets and schedules; coordinating with governmental oversight agencies; designing the courses, lessons, and instructional materials; producing the lesson plans, student study guides, and other materials; securing approvals; scheduling students and classes; and finally delivering the planned and prepared training. The problems encountered in coordinating and implementing a program where multiple agencies have shared responsibilities were discussed. Also described were the complications of developing training materials for teaching computer programs that were simultaneously being developed and were thus changing regularly. The added complications associated with training Thai military personnel were covered, such as language and cultural problems.

The software maintenance training program was described as it grew from a few lines of general statements in the RFP to about 60 pages of the 800 page TTEP to about 3800 pages of training materials and 500 graphic slides developed specifically for the three software maintenance courses. Those three courses were presented successfully over a two year period to three different groups of people. Conclusions emphasized the need to plan in great detail, to expect problems, to coordinate with everyone concerned, to adhere to budgets and schedules, and to expect to expend much time and energy on student personal matters because of cultural and language difficulties.

The RTADS software maintenance training program was evaluated as successful by all concerned, all students completed their training, and all students safely returned home to Thailand.

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