Purchase Request Process System (PRPS) Shares Success of Using Agile

  • Published
  • By Business and Enterprise Systems Directorate
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The Purchase Request Process System (PRPS) started the transition from waterfall to agile software development in November 2020, and over the last 20 months, has completed 24 releases!  
PRPS supports 2,800 Air Force Sustainment Center (AFSC) personnel and provides an automated singular approach to Purchase Request (PR) preparation.
PRPS provides a system for paperless PRs for the procurement of spares, data services, and contract repair in support of Air Force managed items and Department of Defense requirements. PRPS runs 24/7, enabling maintenance and repair personnel to order $2.74 billion in spares, enabling the ability to buy and repair line items to sustain the weapon system supply chain.  In other words, PRPS enables users to order parts and contracted services required to complete depot-level maintenance repairs on aircraft and other equipment scheduled for depot maintenance at Tinker, Hill, and Warner Robins Air Logistics Complexes (ALCs). 
The team hit the ground running in November 2020 when Sandra VanEtten, Logistics Purchasing and Contracting (LPC) Product Line Manager (PLM), set up the Defense Acquisition University Agile for DoD Acquisition Team Members training for the entire team, to include the Product Owner, Robbin Lucas, from AFSC Supply Requirements Branch, and our shared services Contracting and Engineering team members. 
During this transition, PRPS reached out to the Business and Enterprise System (BES) Agile team for coaching support. The agile team provided guidance for completing our Agile Strategy, reviewed our Contracts Data Requirement Lists (CDRLs), and made recommendations to the Performance Work Statement (PWS). These changes increased the contractor’s productivity by using agile collaboration tools and reduced time spent on repetitive documentation, allowing for more time to develop capability for the user community.
In a year and a half, PRPS has deployed 24 releases resulting in over 50 fixes, 20 features, and 2 technical upgrades.  The flexibility of the backlog prioritization has enabled PRPS to bring an urgent need for a new Supply Planner role in months, instead of years.   
“As the PRPS Product Owner, I’m very pleased with the agile sustainment process,” said Lucas.  “After agile concepts were implemented, we had just finished delivering the much-anticipated new Auto flow PR process for our customers.  The release was 2.5 times the normal size, and as expected with large releases, the customer uncovered a few issues that weren’t discovered during testing.  Instead of waiting the normal six months for the next release, in a few weeks we were able to start delivering significant updates to PRPS users correcting all the problems.  This was exciting when compared to what waterfall would have delivered.  The increased pace is more challenging to the functional user group for system support, e.g., testing, training materials prep, etc., but the increased flexibility of software productivity is allowing us to meet customer needs and expectations in a much more timely manner.” 
For the PRPS Program Management Office, it’s been an exciting time to work in PRPS!  From listening to PRPS users discuss the requirement from inception, to the developer taking that requirement to create the user story in Jira and the ability of the PMO to document the release in Confluence—it’s extremely rewarding to see the entire team work together to create a better system for the end user. 
“We love hearing the excitement from our Functional and users as we progress into modern technology.  The communication amongst the teams has drastically increased.  Personnel work as a team in clearly defining the requirements in less time,” said VanEtten. 
In terms of a new initiative, PRPS is working with DLA on an eProcurement modernization to provide support for the nearly $35 billion in annual sales to include DLA buys and weapons system repair parts for the military services and other customers worldwide.
The speed of change and technology has never been faster but with agile tools and technology, PRPS is looking forward to what the next year will bring in its desire to “Delight the User!”