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New Anteon white paper shows SPARX’ UML software

NASHVILLE – A new white paper by defense contractor Anteon Corp. documents how the right kind of UML modeling software can also be used as a tool for improving project management and IT efficiency during complex systems development projects. The paper was released simultaneously today on the web and at the 2006 North American Software Engineering Process Group (SEPG) conference in Nashville.

The paper – co-authored by an independent IT consultant – describes how Anteon started off using a UML tool called Enterprise Architect (also known as EA) simply for creating visual systems models during development.  Anteon’s IT team quickly realized EA’s greater value lay in its support for CMMI.

CMMI – an acronym for Capability Maturity Model Integration – is a set of practices for improving the software-development process.  The CMMI approach was developed at Carnegie Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute (SEI) with funding from the US Department of Defense.

CMMI sets standards for project planning, monitoring and control, managing supplier agreements, measurement and analysis, quality assurance, configuration management and the extent to which these processes are embedded in other corporate procedures.

Technology clients like the US military use CMMI for evaluating the capacity and performance of contractors.  CMMI is practiced by many of the world’s leading technology, aerospace and financial firms, including Honeywell, Boeing and the Bank of America.

In the white paper Anteon CMMI auditor Jack Hunnicutt and Florida-based software consultant Ramsay Millar review the advantages of  using software project-tools for implementing CMMI.  The paper examines the suitability of Enterprise Architect software for that purpose, describing a successful pilot project where Enterprise Architect:

•produced realistic and usable estimates of team resources needed for  the project,
•maintained visibility into project issues and concerns,
•documented, categorized and tracked risks,
•improved communications between members of the development team and promoted cross-team collaboration,
•captured and reported project status for both real-time and historical purposes.

In an apparent reference to both the capacities of Enterprise Architect and its relatively low licensing costs, the paper concludes “By employing tool-driven management, process maturity could be achieved with limited infrastructure, across multiple domains and without the need to increase the workforce or acquiring high-end development tools.”
Co-author Millar – whose consulting practice often involves training software developers and business analysts who are new to UML – said Anteon’s discovery of the “hidden treasures” in Enterprise Architect comes as no surprise to him.

“I see this almost every time I teach a week-long course,” said Millar.  “On the Monday everyone’s excited about discovering a new tool for creating visual ‘IT blueprints’ using UML… by Friday they’re talking about using EA to help make their entire team-based development process more efficient, more collaborative, more reliable and less expensive.”

The Enterprise Architect software was developed by SPARX Systems – a specialty software house that started with one person six years ago and has grown to staff of 30 with 230 VARS/resellers worldwide and an installed base expected to pass the 100,000 mark this summer.  SPARX’ user base has grown by 50 per cent annually every year since 2002, and now includes almost a quarter of the Fortune 100 list.

Last year SPARX became a Microsoft technology partner when the two companies developed links between the latest versions of Enterprise Architect and Visual Studio 2005.  That link will be enhanced this year in Microsoft’s new Visual Studio Team System.

SPARX CEO and founder Geoffrey Sparks – himself a software engineer – said his vision from the very beginning was a resource that was much more than a UML tool.  “We think of Enterprise Architect as the ‘Swiss army knife’ of software development,” said Sparks.  “Our tool supports engineers, coders, analysts and project managers throughout the development cycle – end to end.”
Anteon, headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, is a leading information technology company serving the U.S. Federal government and international customers. Anteon designs, integrates, maintains, and upgrades state-of-the-art systems for U.S. national defense, intelligence, homeland security, other American government missions and a range of small to mid-size corporate and public-sector clients.

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