Software engineers complete 100 sprints; continue racing > Hill Air Force Base > Article Display
HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – A team of Hill software engineers, working in command and control of personnel recovery, is producing computer code that helps the fighter and they are doing it at a record speed, in a two-week window called sprint.
The code they produce is compatible with a joint surveillance electronic monitoring system that helps the Department of Defense and other government agencies retrieve people who have been isolated within reach or in an area of responsibility.
Scott Vigil, 517th Software Engineering Squadron, PRC2 Flight Director, said what they do is personal because the result of their efforts helps bring people home.
“We want to give those who protect us the best tools available to make sure they come home,” he said. “The person who comes home is what matters and motivates us to do what we do.”
In an effort to reduce the 18-month timeframe required to employ major code changes, the local software program office recommends a change to the industry’s agile software development standard.
The concept is to divide the development into small pieces and present it to the customer, who prioritizes what is most important.
The team then accelerates code development on these smaller pieces over a two-week window, called sprints.
“We have our user requirements and we refine them to make sure we deliver the value we want,” said Kristen Keyes 517 Software Engineering Squadron, PRC2 Project Director. “At the end of the two-week sprint, we have a deliverable product that has gone through testing, security scans and our pipeline to make sure we are delivering the best product to our customers.”
This team recently delivered its code number 100 package, helping the fighter return to safety.
“It’s significant that we’ve done this 100 times because it used to take about 414 days to make a big software change,” said Brian Zwerdling, PRC2’s section chief. “In addition to the obvious inconvenience of taking more than a year to deliver a product to the end user, their requirements will change and change. Now, when something happens in the war zone that requires rapid changes through of our software, we can adapt to this and always present the latest information to the personnel recovery company “.
Zwerdling said a lot of innovation has been done to streamline the process, including people thinking faster and using tools better.
The team has adopted automated software and testing tools in a cloud-based system that reduced the previous test time from 6-9 weeks to less than 30 minutes.
“What we’ve tried to do is stay at the forefront of all the modern technology tools used throughout the industry,” Vigil said. “We are using the same tools as Google, Facebook and Amazon and we are using their development process.”
Staying ahead of aggressive cyberattacks, to keep personal information secure, is another important part of the job.
“Every day is a challenge to make sure we don’t hack and we’re protecting our networks,” Zwerdling said. “It simply came to our notice then. We are also protecting the personnel records of anyone in the system, and there are 2.3 million records. We don’t just check it once and we’re done. We check everything constantly. “
This team is proud of all that they have accomplished by working and reaching the 100 sprint mark, because they are helping people have the best chance of coming home.
“It’s all about getting these people back home,” Zwerdling said. “We all take it very seriously. That’s what’s important to them and what’s important to us. We’re not just focusing on those last 100 sprints, we’re focusing on the next 100 sprints, for them.”