Self-Evaluating Agile Large-Scale Systems: SEALS

Barry Horowitz, fmr. president and CEO of MITRE, Department of Systems and Information Engineering, University of Virginia

This paper suggests a new systems engineering architecture and methodology for creating flexible, agile systems with assured performance capabilities. We refer to this approach as Self-Evaluating Agile Large-Scale Systems (SEALS). The Internet has provided a clear example of an agile system, but without assured performance. Infrastructure systems, national security systems, and air traffic control systems are examples of assured, mission critical systems, but they have proven to be very difficult and slow to change. The suggested approach combines forecasting, agile technologies and agile human organizations to create an answer to providing both assurance and agility. Three historical examples are provided as indication of the possible benefits that can result from the application of SEALS. It is recognized that transitioning from current practiced systems engineering methods to SEALS would not be straight forward, and accordingly, the paper suggests possible transition concepts.