Three SEI Members Honored for Contributions to Software and Systems Engineering

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Three SEI Members Honored for Contributions to Software and Systems EngineeringMarch 31, 2011—Michele Moss, a lead associate at Booz Allen Hamilton co-chairs a software assurance working group for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that provides subject matter expertise in the area of software assurance and supply chain risk management.

M. Lynn Penn, director of strategic process engineering at Lockheed Martin Corporation, Information Systems and Global Solutions, served as the industry lead for the recent release of Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Version 1.3, and the team leader for the High Maturity Working Group.

Dale Childs, founder and CEO of Double Play Process Diagnostics Inc. previously worked for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) as a software quality manager, SEPG lead, certified Lead Appraiser, and certified High Maturity Lead Appraiser.

 All three are the recipients of the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute (SEI) Member Awards for leadership in software and systems engineering. The awards were presented Tuesday, March 22, at the SEPG North America 2011 conference in Portland, Oregon.

“It is such an honor to recognize these individuals who have made such a difference in the software and systems engineering communities as well as in cybersecurity,” said Deen Blash, SEI Membership program team lead.

Moss, winner of the 2011 SEI Member Advocate Award, is also a longtime collaborator on SEI research projects and currently works closely with the CERT Resilient Enterprise Management team. An SEI Member since 2007 and dynamic presenter at SEPG who has twice been voted a “Top 10” presenter, Moss also served on the program committee for SEPG North America 2011 handling the security track. Her efforts resulted in a one-and-a-half day tutorial on process improvement and security.

Debbie McCoy, who also works at Booz Allen Hamilton, stated in her nomination letter that Moss “exhibited tremendous leadership and intellectual courage” in her groundbreaking work integrating assurance into CMMI while minimizing additional burdens on organizations. Debbie added that in Moss’s work with the DHS, she led a group that worked to create an “Assurance Thread” for CMMI that helps ensure that system and software development efforts consider critical cybersecurity requirements early and often in the lifecycle.

Penn, winner of the SEI Member Contributor Award, has worked tirelessly to both promote CMMI and contribute to the quality of the models. 

Dorna Witkowski, a senior process engineer in Lockheed Martin’s Strategic Process Engineering group, nominated Penn for the award, citing her willingness to take on the task of leading the High Maturity Working Group, which handled more than 400 of the 1,000 V1.2 change requests that were submitted. 

“Lynn faced both technical and political challenges in completing the task. Several of the key participants found they had to significantly reduce their involvement, but Lynn always found the time to do her own work on the model as well as filling in for the others at times. After a few months of her leadership, the team became well-integrated and productive. As a result, the CMMI V1.3 high maturity content is much clearer and more consistent than in previous versions,” Witkowski wrote.

Penn is also the co-author of the book CMMI and Six Sigma, Partners in Process Improvement. She was one of the 27 leaders in industry and academia on the International Process Research Consortium.

During his time at DFAS, Childs, recipient of the SEI Member Representative Award, led process improvement and software quality assurance (SQA) efforts for all DFAS projects. As one of his first assignments, Childs was asked to come up with a standard software estimation process for the Defense Civilian Pay System (DCPS). What began as a 90-day assignment became the focus of his career. After producing an estimation draft, Childs then led DCPS from Capability Maturity Model (CMM) level 2 to DFAS’s first CMM maturity level 4 rating and the Top System in Government award.

“It isn’t just about getting checkmarks, nor is it about preconceived notions,” Childs explained. “CMMI is about a framework of sound engineering principles. I like to think of it as the codification of common sense.”

In his new role at the company he founded and leads, Childs has consulted in or led numerous appraisals. He has the following certifications: SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, SCAMPI High Maturity Lead Appraiser, CMMI Instructor, and a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. Childs is also a trained Malcolm Baldrige Examiner and served as the Technology Services Organization representative in preparation of the Department of Defense’s first Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award package.

 For more about the SEI Membership program and the SEI Member Awards, visit


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