FCS: Double the Code; Double the Success?
I neglected to mention in yesterday's post on Future Combat Systems that the Washington Post story also noted that the, "Boeing's program manager on Future Combat Systems, said, 'The scope and scale of the software job was well understood from the start.' "
From this statement, one would have to assume that the 55 million lines of code in 5.5 years was known at contract let time; the development of that much code in that much time was deemed suitable, acceptable, and feasible, and the Army kept it under wraps because it wasn't (and isn't) believable.
This might go a long way towards explaining another FCS program history anomaly. According to former chief of staff of the Army General Peter Schoomaker, when the contract was let in 2003, the FCS program had only a 28 percent chance of success.
After the FCS program was restructured with phased deliveries and a longer schedule, the probability of success of the program climbed to 70%, according to Schoomaker.
Now, if the estimated software code was really only 34 million in 2003, and the program had a 28% probability of success, it hardly seems likely that nearly doubling the lines of code to 64 million would raise the probability of program success to 70%, even if the program was stretched out a few more years and bits and pieces of it spun off.
Therefore, the evidence points to the Army to have known that it would need 55 million or more lines of software code, but did not want to tell anyone for reasons I outlined yesterday.
On the other hand, if the Army honestly estimated that FCS would need 34 million lines of code in 2003 and the program had a 28% probability of success, how did going to 64 million lines of code increase the program's probability of success by 41%?