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Managing megaprojects: a focused approach

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1 Author(s)
Gillette, W. ; Boeing Commercial Airplane Group, Seattle, WA, USA

In mid 1990, we began work on software for the Boeing 777 aircraft, a project that would involve 30 suppliers and require 9 million person hours to complete. The various systems in the 777, most of which are digitally controlled, required that we develop, test, and certify about 2.5 million lines of new software, mostly as Ada code, and incorporate about 1.6 million lines of commercial off the shelf software to deliver the 777 for commercial use. The entire process had to be sufficiently mature to support the first flight of this fly by wire aircraft by June 1994 and to ensure its certification for passenger flights by June 1995. Delivering the Boeing 777 on schedule-with 95 percent of the initially promised functionality-was simply a matter of specifying the requirements early, creating a plan and resource allocation supported by experience, then monitoring and enforcing performance to schedule. To do this, we used around 70 people to monitor the project, along with hundreds of software engineers drawn from both Boeing and the suppliers, who were sharing their progress monitoring and reporting with Boeing. The 777 software development met the majority of its goals, with only about 120,000 lines of nonessential functionality deferred at initial delivery. To achieve this success, we relied upon four key tactics which are outlined

Published in:

Software, IEEE  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 4 )

Date of Publication:

Jul 1996

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