Tag Archive for: collaborative engineering

Benefits of Collaboration

The Benefits of Collaboration for Government and Defense Teams

Tomorrow’s defense and government systems must be built at a lower cost with shorter timelines often using new Agile acquisition strategies. Since government and defense program teams are largely comprised of civilians and contractors working in distributed locations, efficient and streamlined collaboration is crucial.

In 2018 the US Secretary of Defense encouraged everyone to adopt new practices in order to modernize delivered systems and prioritize the speed of delivery. This encouragement was backed by a Digital Engineering Strategy with aims to allow the DoD and industry partners to work more collaborative at the engineering level. They defined digital engineering “as an integrated digital approach that uses authoritative sources of system data and models as a continuum across disciplines to support lifecycle activities from concept through disposal.”

Expected benefits of digital engineering include: 

  • Better informed decision making
  • Enhanced communication
  • Increased understand of and confidence in the system design
  • A more efficient engineering process

Jama Connect’s digital mission engineering platform has been specifically designed to assist in reaping these benefits. The platform’s core functionalities – including requirements version control, change management, baseline management, traceability, verification and validation, and risk analysis – are enhanced with a streamlined collaboration capability that establishes alignment across teams working within complex government programs.

Jama Connect lets government programs leverage lean, information-driven lifecycle techniques for managing strategic objectives, requirements, Agile user stories, features, risks and more.

Two qualities that set Jama Connect apart from the competition include:

  1. Ease of use without lengthy training
  2. Ease of adoption by broader types of user roles

RELATED: How to Realign Engineering Teams for Remote Work with Minimal Disruption

Aligning Distributed Government and Defense Teams

Distributed government and defense teams must consider ease of adoption and usability when researching requirements management (RM) solutions. Our customers confirm that if engineers and stakeholders don’t find a system intuitive and accessible, acquisition and implementation can be a costly miscalculation. Jama Connect is built and maintained with high-fidelity usability as the guiding principle.

Many requirements management tools require users to achieve unrealistic levels of expertise or otherwise hire expensive experts who fit the criteria. Consequently, most teams end up working outside the system using documents and spreadsheets. The result: A requirements and traceability ordeal that slows the development cycle, introduces unnecessary amounts of risk, and defeats the purpose of having a dedicated RM tool.

RELATED: A Path to MBSE with Jama Connect

The Benefits of Collaboration in a Modern Requirements Management Platform

Requirements management in Jama Connect eliminates reliance on documents and supports rapid delivery of complex, workable systems by bridging all the teams and work in real-time. The result is the connection of a multitude of interacting subsystems with a robust digital thread.

Jama Connect provides a modern solution that transforms system development into a transparent, measurable, and controlled systems engineering discipline. With industry-leading competence in an enterprise-class platform that is rapidly adaptable to the unique needs of each organization, Jama Connect is an analyst-recognized leader in the requirements management market, delivering unmatched value in each of the following areas:

  • Requirements Engineering: Our web-based application provides the ability to intuitively author requirements, maintain versions, control change, baseline, and collaboratively review and approve.
  • End-to-End Traceability: Link and decompose program-level capability requirements and operational requirements to derived system requirements, and then down to lower-level software and hardware requirements.
  • Change Management: With fine-grain impact analysis providing instant data insights, you can make informed decisions as requirements evolve during long development cycles or shift in mission, cost, or technology.
  • Fast Reviews & Approvals: Share and gain consensus on acceptance criteria by leveraging higher levels of stakeholder collaboration among government, suppliers, and subcontractors.
  • Virtualized Control Boards: Built-in collaboration technology lets teams capture all communication in a central system alongside system data. Items linked to related conversations, questions, and reasoning can be reviewed throughout development and archived after.
  • Quicker, Clearer Decisions: Request decisions on changes within the context of the items and projects. Transparent decision-making gives you immediate clarity and saves time.
  • Risk Management: The pressure to develop systems with lower costs, shorter timelines, and agile acquisition never stops. Jama Connect provides a voice across acquisition, development, and integration teams to collaboratively define, validate, and verify risks and ensure that they are accounted for and mitigated in the earliest stages of development.
  • Verification & Validation: Seamlessly manage traceability between requirements and test cases used for verification & validation and provide evidence to comply with regulations and standards.

To learn more about how Jama Connect supports digital engineering and collaboration for Government and Defense teams, download our whitepaper.



In some ways, developing a medical device, vehicle, or cell phone is similar to writing a hit song. Competition is high, relevancy is tied to continued innovation, and there’s constant pressure to focus on fast execution and speed to market.

With the upcoming release of the movie “Yesterday” — in which a struggling singer-songwriter wakes up to find himself in an alternate reality where no one has heard of The Beatles — we wanted to take a moment to recognize the similarities between collaborative engineering and songwriting.

And what better reference point for team collaboration than one of the most famous songwriting duos of all time: The Beatles’ John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Emerging from Liverpool, England, in the early-1960s, McCartney (bass) and Lennon (guitar), alongside drummer Ringo Starr and guitarist George Harrison, formed The Beatles and changed the entire musical landscape for decades.

The Beatles’ primary songwriting team of McCartney and Lennon were also the epitome of collaborative engineering.

Collaborative engineering is about connecting cross-functional roles across an enterprise to creatively and easily work together for the purpose of faster innovation. It’s about breaking down barriers, adding agility, and organizing the right people for faster decisions.

And with a refined collaborative product design process, you can repeatedly capitalize on great ideas within your teams.

“I think someone building a car suddenly knows when the design is right or when the engine sounds good,” McCartney told Paste Magazine in 2015. “After a while, you get used to that, and you say, ‘Yeah, this is the way you go.’”

How Lennon and McCartney Used Collaborative Engineering

Much has been written about how The Beatles’ influence has stretched far beyond music and into a variety of other industries, including technology. Steve Jobs once famously described the Fab Four as nothing less than his model for business.

“They were four very talented guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check,” Jobs told “60 Minutes.” “They balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”

As the core songwriting team within The Beatles, Lennon and McCartney propelled the group to sell 1.6 billion singles in the United States alone, with worldwide album sales hovering around 600 million to date.

If we observe these musical “engineers,” we witness the power and necessity of collaborative engineering to build a process that can yield better outcomes than any single person could manage individually.

Developing complex products with partners requires a common vision. Learn how better requirements management helps better facilitate the collaboration process by watching our webinar.

Lennon and McCartney would work for hours on a song in close proximity, which fostered the creative process and leveraged each other’s strengths. Some say that McCartney brought a left brain (creative, free flowing, muse oriented) influence to the team while Lennon provided the right brain (discipline, form, execution).

“People used to ask me and John [Lennon], ‘Who does what? Who writes the words? Who writes the music? How do you do this?,’” McCartney told Paste. “And we say, ‘There’s no one way.’ Sometimes it will be me. Sometimes it will be John.”

However they did it, the two Beatles combined to work through the requirements of various songs in a way that become much greater than if each was working on the tunes alone. And in doing this, they created a process that deviated from rigid, assigned roles to one where the focus was fueled by total team collaboration.

The result was producing quality work that has withstood the test of time (“Abbey Road” still hangs out in the top ten of vinyl purchases to this day) and that others simply can’t replicate.

Listening to Outside Voices

It’s worth noting, too, that even perhaps the greatest songwriting team of all time did not work in a silo. Given how successful they were, it would be easy to see McCartney and Lennon shutting out the other two Beatles — Harrison and Starr — from all songwriting functions. Countless lesser bands make that same mistake constantly.

That wasn’t nearly the case at all for The Beatles. Harrison, especially, was an excellent songwriter in his own right, but even when there was a Lennon and McCartney composition being worked out in real time, key decisions did emerge from outside the core songwriting team. Here we see cross-collaboration without limits (aka leveraging the enterprise).

For instance, it’s been said that near the end of the songwriting session for “Eleanor Rigby,” Harrison suggested the “Ah look at all the lonely people” line as a contribution. Thanks to this idea from a band member outside of the core songwriting team, “Eleanor Rigby” really came to life and, in fact, helped add not just the first line of the song but the overall theme that ended up defining it.

Yes, Lennon and McCartney get the bulk of the credit for The Beatles’ music (and rightly so), but there are plenty more examples throughout the band’s rich history that show more than a willingness to turn over songwriting control to others. Both Harrison and Starr penned classic songs for The Beatles and, other times, all four members are credited. It’s also worth noting that The Beatles’ legendary producer, George Martin, is sometimes referred to as the fifth Beatle given his many contributions to the band’s music.

Read how Jama Connect improved collaboration for a medical device developer, saving it $150,000 per project, in this customer story.

Leveraging Collaborative Engineering 

The level of success Lennon and McCartney reached would not have been possible without both being open to others’ ideas and harnessing direct, team collaboration.

The collaborative engineering style The Beatles used to innovate around the requirements and design of their songs became one of the band’s greatest strengths. It also worked to enable the efficient, quality construction of tunes with an intended purpose/outcome.

In songwriting, construction can loosely be defined as the most efficient and appropriate application of song form and structure (e.g. the coding of the song). In today’s engineering world, construction means the software’s coding or the hardware’s design.

The brilliance of “Eleanor Rigby” is partly in its simple construction (just two chords: E minor and C major). Today, structured collaboration can simplify downstream software development and hardware design, which results in bigger gains in efficiency and maintainability.

Of course, in today’s engineering world, it’s not always as simple as getting great minds into a room for hours and hammering out incredible requirements. Teams have a lot of competing priorities and often are not even in the same location or even country.

One advantage engineering teams do have today that Lennon and McCartney didn’t is modern technology. There are many simple, intuitive, and flexible ways for all of the right people to creatively contribute to requirements definition, change, and reviews throughout collaborative product design.

“When you think about it, when you’re writing a song, you’re always trying to write something that you love and the people will love,” McCartney told Paste.

The same is true for products. The best way to build them is not in silos, but with direct input from team members across your organization… and the universe.

Learn how a modern approach to complex product development increases efficiency with the ability to foster collaboration and share knowledge by watching our Jama Connect demo.

In last week’s blog on Enterprise Collaborative Engineering we illustrated the concept of ECE using The Beatles’ Paul McCartney and John Lennon song writing team in connected collaboration.  We highlighted the exponential value of including the enterprise in George’s contribution to the song writing process and the speed and quality which dramatically improved the construction process (Eleanor Rigby was a masterpiece of brilliant lyrics yet with simple music).

For review, we define Enterprise Collaborative Engineering as the following:

  • ECE connects cross-functional roles across your Enterprise
    It’s recognizing the behavioral power of expanded collaboration. Enterprise in ECE means expanding the list of roles (Business stakeholders, product owners, SCRUM masters, software developers, hardware and electrical engineers, build manager, and operations).
  • ECE breaks down barriers, adds agility, and virtualizes reviews
    It means providing product development tools which enable expanded, connected collaboration.
  • ECE positively affects your Business
    It enables faster decision loops all through the product lifecycle. ECE has proven business results (50% faster decision time, 43% defect reduction, and > 20% reduction in design cycle time).

In this post, we will look at applying ECE to the product lifecycle. How does ECE speed innovation with high quality?

There are two building-blocks to ECE.  Core ALM and Enterprise (connected) Collaboration.  Core ALM alone brings business benefits.  But as we will see below, adding Enterprise Collaboration exponentially increases business benefits.

Core Application Lifecycle Management:

The first building-block of ECE is Core ALM (see Figure #1).  ALM is the “engineering” component of ECE.    Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) supports your Business Analysts, Developers, and Testers). ALM generates the engineering outputs.  Core ALM is implemented by Waterfall, Iterative, Agile or some hybrid work flow.  The BA’s or Product Owners write requirements, Epics, or User Stories.   The developers write software, and the testers validate and verify products and features.  ALM alone solves some business problems.  It makes the hard questions which affect delivery easy:

“What is the impact of this requirements change? “If we remove this feature, what is the impact on testing?”  “What risks have we introduced by changing this feature?”  “Will we deliver on time?”


Figure #1 – Core ALM

Enterprise (connected) Collaboration:

The second building block of ECE is Enterprise Collaboration.  It’s applying the power of connected collaboration to dramatically improve Core ALM.  The business benefits are significant and exponential over just Core ALM (metrics represent individual Jama customer results).

ECE goes way beyond Core ALM’s roles to include your customers, business stakeholders, hardware and electrical engineers, DBAs, and Operations. This inclusivity gathers critical points of view and enables connected collaboration from all of these roles. This improves quality and delivery (e.g.  33% reduction in requirements related defects).

ECE gathers connected role inputs across the lifecycle, from concept to launch. Core ALM alone considers limited front and middle lifecycle activity.  ECE adds in the Customer, Operations, DBA, others throughout the entire lifecycle. Collecting inputs from across the lifecycle positively affects decisions and improves product quality and delivery.  Companies are achieving 20% reduction in design time.

There are also exponential business benefits of adding enterprise collaboration. Connecting the expanded role set causes significantly faster decisions (e.g.  requirements get written faster).  But connecting all of those roles directly to the engineering artifacts also causes dramatically improved quality.  Organizations are achieving 33% reduction stakeholder response time.  Others are gaining 50% faster decision loops.  The proven results are speed and quality.

Figure #2 – Core ALM + Enterprise Connected Collaboration

Figure #2 – Core ALM + Enterprise Connected Collaboration

In summary, we see that Core ALM is essential and drives business value.  But adding Enterprise (connected) Collaboration significantly improves engineering speed and quality exponentially over just Core ALM.  The business benefits of ECE are measurable and proven.

Origins of Enterprise Collaborative Engineering (ECE):

Jama pioneered ECE.  We enhanced our ALM capabilities (requirements/test traceability and ReUse) with new and innovative collaboration features for the Enterprise.  The Jama Review Center for example, dramatically speeds requirements review with significant business benefits for our customers.

To learn more about how Jama’s ECE is helping large enterprises like Spaceflight achieve high efficiency, read our case study.