Case Study: From Beta to Better.

21.06.2011 0


The US Coast Guard’s training program was obsolete.  The organization was about to upgrade 26 systems with new hardware technology and custom software.  User instructions on their computer-based training system had to change to reflect new ways to perform critical mission tasks, and new procedures for system maintenance had to be taught to fleet maintainers located all over the United States.

Their training school required advanced releases of software and hardware to prepare course curriculum and have the physical systems for hands-on training.  All components of the system had to be installed and integrated to existing simulators.



I was brought in midstream and given the responsibility to manage the project.  I was asked by our product management department to see if I could align the project schedule and deliverables with the company’s road map for the system software.   I saw this as an opportunity to improve customer satisfaction and also build capability for our software product  – the Coast Guard could help define key software functions.

I proposed a Beta program to the Coast Guard, with regular release dates.  Feedback mechanisms were provided and internal and external champions were identified who would work together to create and signoff on the user interface for software functions.



The approach provided advanced releases of system software that incorporated many new Coast Guard feature sets.  However, even with improved functionality the delivery schedule was shortened as was the time frame for developing new curriculum.  This also resulted in a more sophisticated product for my organization making it more attractive to other customers.

With an improved schedule for course material, the client was able to free up resources to evaluate the hardware deliverable.  Signoff on system documentation, and MTBF and MTTR calculations was easily achieved.


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